Jimmy Page was asked by neighbor and film director Michael Winner if he would be interested in scoring his 1982’s Death Wish II and Page accepted the project, being as Led Zeppelin was now history following the death of drummer John Bonham. 1974’s original, and pretty good,  Death Wish was scored by jazz keyboardist Herbie Hancock. Page does not try to top the versatile Hancock and instead does a  Zeppeliesque rock/blues solo album with a few tracks of incidental music. The album was recorded in his SOL studios and features a collection of musician friends. The album is a strange piece of music overall but not in a negative way. Page uses ample Roland guitar synthesizers as well as actual synths. Reputedly some of the score was revisions of Page’s Lucifer Rising soundtrack which was never used for the Kenneth Anger film due to personal conflicts. I have that soundtrack and there are similarities in pieces like Hotel Rats and Photostats and A Shadow in the City, but I would say not really all that much. The incidental music is droning and eerie while the rock parts are straight ahead jams and classic Page riffing. The album went nowhere as far as the charts are concerned and only Page aficionados seem to even know the album was ever made. Too bad.

I once had the album back when I owned vinyl and after that I could never find it on CD though it was released in 1999, but soon went out of print. I found this copy someone made on a BT from their vinyl and you can hear a few pops though really it is a clean sound. Page would shortly form The Firm with Paul Rodgers and go through a long period of doing pretty good rock albums but nothing near the power of his Led Zeppelin material. Death Wish II was his first solo outing and an album sadly forgotten really by one of the great guitar players and composers in rock history. If you are a Page fan you want this. I am and I think it is a good album with some things Page had never done before in Zeppelin. For example, check out Carol’s Theme, a nice acoustic guitar with lush strings (synthed I am sure). You should be able to download the tracks if you want. I found the movie to be a little forgettable – but there were some good scenes of punks getting wasted by a more seasoned Paul Kersey (Charels Bronson) – as well as the subsequent sequels. I still enjoy the first movie. Zeppelin bassist/keyboardist John Paul Johns scored a Michael Winner film called  after Page decided not to do another soundtrack and was joined by Jimmy and Yes vocalist Jon Anderson for a couple good tracks. I have never seen the film but would like to and that soundtrack will be available here shortly.

Here are two choice samples from the album with a few seconds trimmed off the end so they qualify as samples as my hosting service (though I am working on figuring out out some sort of workaround so that I can host full length songs there with less fear of them being removed). Jam Sandwich is a Zeppelin style riff oriented rocker while Hotel Rats and Photostats is more of an incidental music style piece featuring Page on synthesizers. If you like what you hear then follow the Rapidshare link and download the entire album and enjoy. So mote be it.





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