Jimmy Savile: If only he’d swung his axe like Jimmy Page at Lori Maddox
THE media is great, isn’t it. The very people who say ‘how dare the tabloids not go after a breathing Jimmy Savile’ are the ones who say the tabloids should not publish half truths and be subject to strict guidelines and even stricter libel laws. ‘Jimmy Savile must never happen again,’ they say. ‘Journalists should be licensed,’ they say.
The big problem with journalism is when the writers are fans. Take Jimmy Page, the Led Zepellin guitarist who “dated” a 14-year old child when he was an adult. And look at Michael Hann’s piece in the Guardian on Celebration Day, a film about the band:
Led Zeppelin: ‘There was a swagger – we knew we were good’ – The film Celebration Day captures Led Zeppelin onstage in all their glory in 2007. The band discuss their musical legacy, reputation for excess – and why they will never reunite again.
Page gets a mention. And in light of the Jimmy Savile allegations about starstruck kids being sexually abused, you might wonder what kind of press Page gets:
…And then there was Page’s guitar. For all the epic soloing, the Zeppelin records show off a player with a startling lack of vanity: he’s always serving the song, and often he’s low in the mix, letting Bonham and Jones rumble on before the necessary colour is added. His most effective interjections could be the simplest: the strange, off-key, rhythmic stabs that give the end of Immigrant Song its dramatic tension, for example.
…Curiously, with his long white hair, he’s the one who still looks most like a rock star from the days when bands were still big. And to hear him talk, you wish you could have been there during those days, too.
Everything Savile did in his life has been stained by the allegations that he raped and sexually abused minors. In 2007, the Independent wrote:
But there are more disturbing stories. Page, for instance, had a relationship with a 14-year-old called Lori Maddox, who relates in Hammer how Richard Cole kidnapped her on Page’s orders and brought her to the Riot House. She claims she fell in love with Page almost immediately. She also tells how she had to be locked up, albeit willingly, most of the time so that word of this illegal relationship statutory rape could not get out.
The Times noted:
It was now that Page began the most notorious of his on-the-road relationships, lavishing attention on a 14-year-old habitu?e of Rodney’s named Lori Maddox. Tall, dark, skinny, with huge baby seal eyes, Lori and her friend Sable Starr were two of the best-known “dancers” at the club. She later recalled being “kidnapped” by Richard Cole one night, who drove her in a limo to the Hyatt, where she was taken to Page’s top-floor candle-lit suite.
“I saw Jimmy, just sitting there in a corner, wearing this hat slouched over his eyes and holding a cane,” she said. “It was really mysterious and weird . . . He looked just like a gangster. It was magnificent.”
But then, as B. P. Fallon, the band’s PR, says now: “The whole world was different then. Better or worse? You choose. The end of the Sixties, much of the Seventies, it was freer then, less uptight, less censorious. For a while it seemed anything was possible. And if you were a band on the road in America it was, quite simply, sex and drugs and rock’n’roll. Didn’t mean you were forced to partake but it was there on a plate – or a mirror – if you wanted it.
“You’d be locked up if you did that stuff now. Underage sex? Forget it, baby. Back then through the dented mists of time, rock’n’roll was a truly powerful potion! There were fresh enthusiastic girls everywhere going completely mad for it and there wasn’t the horror of Aids. You can imagine the Rat Pack at their height in Vegas all chasing women and going wild and being completely untouchable. Zeppelin were like that, with the volume turned up. There were placid moments but . . . c’mon! Wonderful.”
So. Jimmy Savile’s alleged crimes should be seen as being of their time?
Jimmy Page did not force himself on anyone. He is not accused of breaking the law. But Maddox was 14. How should we view that?
Still, great axe, man…