- Taught himself to play the guitar at age 13 after being inspired by the Elvis Presley song "Baby, Let's Play House."
- Performed guitar on a British TV talent show at age 14.
- Joined first proper band, Neil Christian and the Crusaders, in the early 1960s.
- Served as a session musician in the 1960s and was used by such music artists as the Kinks, the Who, the Rolling Stones, Them and Donovan.
- In 1966, joined the rock collective the Yardbirds, initially playing bass before sharing guitar duties with bandmate Jeff Beck.
- Assembled the pioneering hard-rock juggernaut Led Zeppelin in 1968. The group ascended as one of the most successful and influential bands until its 1980 breakup in the wake of drummer John Bonham's death.
- Helped define the hard-rock guitar sound, but the versatile musician also touches on various music genres, including folk, rockabilly, psychedelia, blues, funk and country.
- In 1982, composed and performed the film soundtrack for Death Wish II.
- Partnered with Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers to form the band the Firm in 1984.
- Established the charities ABC Trust and Casa Jimmy, which help underprivileged children in Brazil.