Jimmy Page's guitar instrumental "Embryo No. 2," as heard during the movie "It Might Get Loud," has already had a 10-year life. It debuted publicly onstage at a concert appearance in October 1999, when its title was later confirmed to be "Domino."
It is assumed that five months earlier, Page included "Domino" among instrumental studio tracks he recorded with drummer Michael Lee as the basis for what they hoped would be a new album with Robert Plant. The singer had just bagged a set of tour dates and set about to avoid touring on memories with Led Zeppelin, but Page was still doing whatever he could to re-energize Plant so they could work together again on some new collaborations. He was unsuccessful in recruiting Plant back into the fold, and life went on for them both.
The next time Page and Plant reunited for any great length of time was eight years later, with John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham, in a group billed as Led Zeppelin for a tribute concert to Ahmet Ertegun. Following this one show, Page, Jones and Bonham spent parts of 2008 rehearsing for a touring and recording group they hoped would also involve Plant. That group never came to fruition. It is believed that "Domino" was introduced during the rehearsals, as Page reveals he "played [it] with other musicians relatively recently, in the last year or so."
Toward the end of last year, the original drummer on "Domino," Michael Lee, died unexpectedly.
Now that the instrumental, retitled as "Embryo No. 2," makes an appearance in the movie "It Might Get Loud," he says he expects to revisit the piece during his next musical project, the details of which will probably be unfolding in another year or two.
On the Led Zeppelin discussion group For Badgeholders Only, one user joked today that "Embryo No. 2" will make the 12-minute Led Zeppelin composition, "Carouselambra," released on Led Zeppelin's final studio album 30 years ago today, look like "a mere ditty compared to this, huh?"
There actually is a model from Page's past for the path "Domino"/"Embryo No. 2" has taken over the past 10 years. This involves several coincidences, and it foretells that the piece, when completed in time, will be well worth the wait.
Page first conceived an instrumental "Swan Song" in about 1973 or perhaps even earlier. He rehearsed it with John Paul Jones and John Bonham at the time, but the track was abandoned during the Led Zeppelin years. Meanwhile, Page continued previewing segments of it live during their concerts, fitting it in during his solo guitar showcase of "White Summer" and "Black Mountain Side."
About three years after the track's original drummer had died, "Swan Song" underwent a new name change, to "Bird on the Wing," and made it onstage yet again, this time with Paul Rodgers during their touring for the ARMS concerts. Now it had words too, born out of the loose Page-Rodgers collaboration. It finally emerged in finished form on the Firm's first album as the beautiful "Midnight Moonlight." Only through collaborating with other musicians did this final product come about.
By now, Page must realize he can no longer wait for Plant to be involved. He may never come around again. Whoever Page's next Paul Rodgers is will hopefully bring a voice to "Domino"/"Embryo No. 2" -- and perhaps under a new, definitive title.