This Day in 1998: Puffy and Page on the SNL Stage
19 years ago today, P. Diddy – then known as Puff Daddy – was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, where he was joined by once and future Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page.
After finding considerable success with such singles as “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” and “I’ll Be Missing You,” Puff Daddy – henceforth to be referenced as Puffy – had conclusively proven that he had a gift for melding samples from huge hits of the past to his own music and vocals, thereby coming up with new hits in the process. As such, when Puffy was approached by the producers of the latest Godzilla reboot in 1998, he opted to use the immortal riff from Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” to power his contribution to the film’s soundtrack, “Come with Me.”
Here’s what Susan Fast wrote of the collaboration:
“Musically, Puffy changed the form of the original song so that the A section, dominated by the riff, and the transition are the main focus. He retains the grand orchestration of the original, using large string and brass sections, as well as a core band. The B section of the piece is also kept intact, but the C sections are omitted. Jimmy Page sanctioned this arrangement of the song, saying in an interview aired on Much Music at the time of its release that he liked very much what Puff Daddy had done with it.
“In fact, Page was part of the project, playing the guitar parts in the recording. A new section added to the piece after the first two verses features Page playing alone, not a blistering rock solo but gentle arpeggiations that use no distortion and have a thin timbre. Nothing about Page’s playng here could be considered virtuosic, nothing indicating his status as one of the great guitar heroes. His role is to accompany Puff Daddy.”
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. After all, how many Puffy fans were introduced to the Led Zeppelin catalog through the gateway drug of Page’s work on “Come with Me”? Plenty, we’d wager.