When many people think of rock icons Led Zeppelin, their minds go to the distinctive vocals of Robert Plant, or the one-of-a-kind guitar style of Jimmy Page, or the heavy, unhinged, drumming of John Bonham. But while he was surrounded by a cast of all-stars, multi-instrumentalist John Paul Jones‘s wide array of musical contributions was an integral part of the band’s iconic sound.

From the hair-raising organs of “No Quarter”, to classic bass lines like the one in “Dazed and Confused”, to the ubiquitous recorder intro of “Stairway to Heaven”, Jones left his mark on the Led Zeppelin catalog in countless different ways. In honor of Jones’ 78th birthday today, we took a look back through some of his many varied roles in Led Zeppelin’s live performances during their 1970s heyday:

Watch Jones set the tone for a huge, extended “No Quarter” from Zeppelin’s May 24th, 1975 performance at Earl’s Court in London.

Led Zeppelin – “No Quarter” – 5/24/75
[Video: Led Zeppelin Archives]

Check out Jones’ ominous bass line from this live performance of “Dazed and Confused” at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 1970.

Led Zeppelin – “Dazed and Confused” – 1/9/70

Finally, though the song developed a sort of stigma for the band as the years went on, there is no doubt that “Stairway to Heaven” is one the most famous songs—if not the most famous song—in the band’s repertoire, and Jones’ hauntingly beautiful recorder intro is part of what makes it so memorable. Take a listen to Led Zeppelin performing “Stairway” live at New York City’s Madison Square Garden on July 29th, 1973, from their concert film The Song Remains The Same:

Led Zeppelin – “Stairway To Heaven” – 7/29/73
[Video: OLD TAPES]

Happy birthday, John Paul Jones!

[Originally published on January 3rd, 2020]