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Jimmy Page and the History of His Assassination Attempt

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When he headed out on tour with Robert Plant in the ’90s, Jimmy Page may have thought the most dangerous thing he’d face would be memories of the duo’s legacy with Led Zeppelin.

As it turned out, the legendary guitarist would end up escaping a brush with something far more frightening: On March 31, 1995, Page and Plant’s stop in Auburn Hills, Mich., was marred by an assassination attempt planned by a former Zeppelin fan who’d come to the conclusion that the band’s music was Satanic and decided to try and take out Page with a pocket knife.

Fortunately, the attacker, 23-year-old Lance Alworth Cunningham, didn’t get far in his attempt. As the Detroit News later recalled, Cunningham couldn’t get past members of venue security and crew who — reportedly aided by a group of fans — subdued him while sustaining what police described as “minor cuts” as he swung the knife.

According to Police Chief John Dalton, Cunningham’s intentions were clear; as he told reporters, the assailant “said he was going to ‘off Jimmy Page.'” His plans thwarted, Cunningham was arrested and jailed for three counts of felonious assault and one count of aggravated assault.

It all must have been fairly scary for the people involved in the skirmish, but it was over quickly, and — in a final insult for Cunningham — ended without Page even being aware that anything was wrong. Noting that Cunningham was stopped 50 feet from the stage, the Detroit News wrote, “Page, oblivious to the action around him, played ‘Kashmir’ onstage, undaunted.”

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