Jimmy Page made a surprise appearance at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in New York on November 3, performing “Rumble” to honour Link Wray’s induction.
The appearance, which wasn’t announced in advance, was Page’s first performance since joining a jam session at the Founders Award ceremony on November 19, 2015.
Page initially appeared in a pre-recorded video explaining the legacy of Wray, a guitarist and songwriter who influenced artists including Led Zeppelin and The Stooges.
Jimmy Page’s induction speech for Link Wray
“I’m really proud and honoured to induct Link Wray into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” Page said in the video. “If ever there was a guitarist who deserves this, if ever there was a guitarist who changed people’s attitude to what they heard, it’s Link Wray.”
“I first heard Link Wray’s music via the ‘Rumble’ and it was when I was 14 years old. It wasn’t necessarily the sort of music that was being played on BBC radio but I heard it through a jukebox,” Page continued. “The first time I heard it, I remember listening to it with such awe because I thought ‘What is this?'”
“In those days, there were many guitar instrumentals, but as a 14-year-old kid who could barely play the guitar, it really had an effect on me. The vigour and the strength and the power in it. And you know something else, it was fearless. It was just phenomenal. It’s the essence of cool, it’s a masterpiece that melted its way into the fibres of my body and my consciousness as far as the drama that you can set up with six strings.”
“It’s the sort of stuff that can’t be taught,” Page said, “it’s the sort of stuff that you can feel and you can take on board if you’re lucky. I’m really thrilled and honoured to be the one to be able to induct Link Wray, my hero, into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.”
Jimmy Page gave a rare performance
After the video ended, Page took to the stage in New York dressed all in black and wielding a red Gibson EDS-1275 doubleneck guitar.
Page performed “Rumble”, echoing a moment in the 2008 documentary film “It Might Get Loud” when he played air guitar to the song while listening to it at home.
After performing the song, Page greeted the crowd, bowed, placed his hand on his heart and gave the crowd a thumbs up before waving to Elton John who took to the stage to give a speech inducting Bernie Taupin.
In a post on social media on November 4, Page wrote: “Link Wray and Rumble stand alone at the pinnacle in the world of instrumentals and I was thrilled to stand on stage in New York with drummer Anton Fig and bassist Tim Givens at the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame last night to induct one of my heroes.”
Page’s performance at the event had been rumoured for days
Page wasn’t announced in advance as one of the performers at the event, but his inclusion had been rumoured.
A Led Zeppelin email discussion group was the source of the rumour, which LedZepNews reported on in our weekly email sent on October 29.
At the time, it was unclear whether Page might perform or simply speak at the event and which inductee he would be there to honour. LedZepNews analysed the honourees and concluded that Page had the strongest link to Wray.