Jimmy Page: The Yardbirds do their last date — I think it’s the beginning of July, and during August I managed to find — yeah, like, the first of July or something — during August, I’ve managed to work — I find Robert Plant, and I work with Robert Plant. I get him to my house, and I play him various ideas of things that I want to do on this album because I had a very clear idea of what would work at that point of time with the FM radio in America. They were just about getting to the point where they were playing whole sides of albums. I realized that if you had an album that had each track almost setting up — as you would listen to one track it would set up the second track because it — there would be such a diversity upon the album of different styles and different moods that it would capture people’s imagination when they listened to it. And now we had the vehicle, with the FM radio, to be able to do that.
So, yeah, I had very clear ideas of the material that I wanted to do, and I’d written Communication Breakdown. I had the whole chart, really, for Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You. And yes, I worked with him, and it was just he and I, and I played him some material that I’d done with The Yardbirds, like Dazed and Confused, and he recommended a drummer. That was John Bonham, and then I’d seen John Bonham play, and I felt him play, actually. It was quite an experience. And he was playing with a musician called Tim Rose, who wrote — he wrote Morning Dew. I think he might have written Hey, Joe, as well, that Jimi Hendrix did. So there were now sort of a possible three, and John Paul Jones heard I was getting a band together and called me out and said, “I hear you’re putting a band together. Would you consider me on bass?” And I said, “Okay, marvelous,” because I had played with him in the studios in various sessions. Robert had had a short time when he played with John Bonham, but John Bonham was off and, you know, playing around and starting to make a name for himself outside of Birmingham. And we just — we had this one rehearsal in a small rehearsal room, not as large as this room even, and we all knew instinctively from that point that we’d never felt anything like that before because it was four musical equals with this sort of communion.
And from that point I got everybody to come to my house and we started rehearsing and recording. And as I say, it’s a very fast route because it’s — Yardbirds break up in July, August rehearsals. We’re actually recording by the end of September, and we’ve done some dates in Scandinavia, which were a handful of dates, but it was good as a team, to be able to play the material live. And we had a set together of other material, as well as our own material so that we could do that in front of an audience before we went in to record. So we could keep the thing really fresh, but any alterations we needed to make we could do, rather than waste lots of time in the studio. And so the first album was done in collectively 30 hours from the time that we went in there and mixed it. So that’s pretty extraordinary!