Before Jimmy Page became the legendary guitarist in Led Zeppelin, he cut his teeth as a prominent, but altogether anonymous session musician working on dozens of pop and rock records behind the scenes in studios around London. While still only 17-years old, he kicked off his career in production by helping put together a 12-track album for a group named Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds. The resulting album The Beginning… is a rumble of howling rockabilly and blues takes, perfectly exemplified by their cover of Barrett Strong’s Motown classic “Money.”
Check out the previously unreleased recording, which Page calls “shamanic” up top.
The recording of “Money” is just the first taste of The Beginning, which is due out on April 30. It’s finally being released over 50 years after Page helped work on it. Though the album has gathered dust over the last half-century, frontman Farlowe says he’s still proud of the recordings he made.
“When I first heard ‘Money’ by Barrett Strong I just flipped out, for to me it’s one of the greatest records ever recorded and has been recorded by many of the great artists, including the Beatles,” Farlowe told Rolling Stone. “With the great help and vision of Jimmy Page, I was the first English artist to record it. I am very proud of it as well of all the others on my new 1961 album, The Beginning.”
Page, who approached The Thunderbirds at a show and asked to record them, also thinks that Farlowe holds up.
“Chris Farlowe took his talent through his musical career with sheer class and a unique persona to continue to build his reputation as an outstanding talent lauded by his contemporaries, so now pay heed to the beginning of a legend,” he said.
The Beginning… is available for pre-order now. For more R&B classics, check out our rundown of the best Motown tracks of all-time.