John Paul Jones is one of the world's most admired rock musicians. As a founding member of Led Zeppelin, his musical contributions to their sound were unique and he helped to create a style that thousands of musicians have since copied. While Robert Plant and Jimmy Page remain very recognizable characters to their audience, the rhythm section of John Paul Jones and John Bonham has achieved a status of mythic proportions. Bonham is still rated as rock's greatest drummer, and Jones is classified as hard rock's greatest all-purpose musician.
John Paul Jones is obviously recognized as a bass player, since much of Led Zeppelin's music displays his brilliant bass work. However, he is a versatile multi-instrumentalist whose keyboard work added incredible depth and mood to Led Zeppelin's records and shows. His talents allowed Led Zeppelin the freedom that George Martin gave the Beatles -- to expand beyond the traditional rock format of guitar/bass/drums. In doing so, some of Led Zeppelin's most interesting work was created: "Kashmir," "Stairway To Heaven," "No Quarter," "Trampled Underfoot," and many more.
Before joining Led Zeppelin, Jones had already established himself as a topnotch session musician. He was fluent on guitar, bass, and other stringed instruments; and he could also arrange for orchestral ensembles. Some of the most prominent examples of his work from this period are the Donovan single "Mellow Yellow" (which Jones produced) and his piano track on The Kink's "You Really Got Me." Fellow session guitarist, Jimmy Page, asked him to join his new group, the "New" Yardbirds. Originally, Page had put together a new version of this classic group to fulfill some live dates in Europe and Scandinavia. However, during the tour, they had decided to change the name to Led Zeppelin and present themselves as a new entity. With John Paul Jones' essential contributions, this quartet would go on to become one of the most successful bands of all time.
Throughout Zeppelin's career, Jones' keyboard work became increasingly important to their sound. On the earliest tours, there were no keyboards at all. Ten years later, on the final tours, Jones was playing almost HALF the set from his keyboards. This article explores his keyboard work from the Zeppelin catalog; the instruments he played both live and in the studio.
NOTE: This site will be much more interesting if you will listen to the songs as they are discussed!
So, get your records, tapes, or CDs out and enjoy...