How Jimmy Page Got a Guitar Case Back After 47 Years
In a Facebook post showing pictures of a delighted Page holding the returned case, musician Jeff Curtis said he wound up taking the case home with him after it was given to him by drummer John Bonham’s roadie in 1972.
The incident took place on June 14 or 15 that year, when Led Zeppelin played New York's Nassau Coliseum. Having met crewman Mick Hinton the previous year, Curtis called out to him after the show.
“On a whim, I asked if I might come down and help them pack up the equipment," Curtis wrote. "To my complete surprise, he says yes." Hinton then threw the guitar case to him, and the security team allowed him to enter the backstage area because it looked like he was working with the band.
“After the few minutes it took to pack up the drums, he says to me, ‘You can have that.’ I was speechless, to say the least! ‘Where will the guitar go?’ He took me over and showed me Jimmy Page’s number one Les Paul guitar in its brand new anvil road case. The case I was given was being discarded that night since its back was crushed and no longer afforded protection to the guitar. Talk about being in the right place at the right time!”
Curtis said he realized quickly that he should keep quiet about his prize. “I had kept this a deep secret over the past 47 years in fear that someone might either burglarize my house or, worse, threaten me in order to steal it,” he said. "For this reason, I had decided a couple of years ago that I no longer wanted the guitar case. Despite its certain significant monetary value to a collector, I had also decided that I wouldn’t ever sell it since making money off someone else’s fame is simply against my principals. I decided that I would find a way to personally return it to Jimmy Page. But how to accomplish this?”
His opportunity came when Page’s Les Paul was part of an exhibition at New York’s Museum of Art earlier this year. Curtis made contact with the curator, who passed photos and details to Page. “About two weeks later, I got a call from a gentleman, Perry, who works with Jimmy," Curtis recalled. "He asked to set up a meeting to personally examine the case and take several more detailed photos. About a month later, I received word that Jimmy wanted to meet me and have the case returned.”
Page met Curtis in a hotel and they spent an hour together, along with some of the fan’s family. He recalled Page’s expression when he was given the case back: “The look on his face was priceless. ‘What memories this brings back! Thank you so much!’”
“In person, he is a genuinely warm and very welcoming gentleman," Curtis noted. "We talked about Led Zeppelin, he asked about my musical influences, asked my daughters what type of music they enjoyed and various other topics. … I can honestly say that after the first few minutes, my nervousness completely disappeared and it felt like I was talking with an old friend.”
Curtis said Page brought gifts to exchange, which made the experience even more unforgettable. “Thanks so much, Jimmy, and thank you, Perry! Mission accomplished,” he concluded.