At the time it would’ve been one of the biggest moments in rock and roll. Instead, The Rolling Stones waited 46 years to release their collaboration with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, “Scarlet,” which landed at streaming services and radio in the wee hours of the morning this past Wednesday.
The rocking number, which can be heard below, will appear on the upcoming Stones box set of their 1973 effort Goat’s Head Soup, which is due out September 4. Recorded in October 1974, it also features late Blind Faith/Traffic bassist Ric Grech. Mick Jagger said in a recent UK radio interview that he remixed the track and threw on some maracas for good measure.
“I remember first jamming this with Jimmy and Keith [Richards] in Ronnie [Wood]’s basement studio,” the singer said in a statement. “It was a great session.”
Even though Wood was still months away from joining the Stones and two years from being added as an official member, the guitarist – who as in Faces at the time – was tight with the band and Richards in particular. The latter was in fact staying with Wood at the time.
“My recollection is we walked in at the end of a Zeppelin session,” Richards said in a statement. “They were just leaving, and we were booked in next and I believe that Jimmy decided to stay. We weren’t actually cutting it as a track, it was basically for a demo, a demonstration, you know, just to get the feel of it, but it came out well, with a line up like that, you know, we better use it.”
Though Led Zeppelin were putting the finishing touches on their sprawling two-album set Physical Graffiti, which was released the following February, Page has a bit of a different memory as to how the song, which is named after his daughter, came to be.
“I was invited to Ronnie Woods’ house in Richmond to do a session in October 1974,” the guitarist wrote on his website this week. “It was said that Keith Richards and Ian Stuart (Stu) [sic] would be there. It sounded a good opportunity to catch up with old friends.”
“Keith kicked it off and I began to mould a riff around his guitar part to augment the arrangement,” Page continued. “It began to lock-in pretty soon with the musicians and we all got a successful take that evening. I’d had a good time working with Keith. It was said they were continuing the following night at Island Number 2 Studios in London. I said I’d go and play some guitar soloing on it. I arrived early on that evening and got to do it straight away within a few takes. It sounded good to me and I left them to it.”
“Mick made contact with me recently and I got to hear the finished version. It sounded great and really solid. I’m happy they chose to release it as part of the forthcoming Goats Head Soup 2020 album. It’s an ultra-rare appearance of me outside Led Zeppelin in the ’70s.”
While “Scarlet” has been thrilling fans since its release with the unique combination of Richards’ bluesy licks and Page’s singular riffage, it’s not the first time he appeared with the Stones, nor would it be the last. When he was still a session musician in 1964, he played on an early version of the song “Heart of Stone,” which ultimately showed up on the 1975 collection ‘Metamorphosis.” Later, he performed the guitar solo on “One Hit (To the Body),” the second single to be released on the Stones ‘Dirty Work’ LP, which landed on shelves in 1986.
This article appeared in yesterday’s print edition of The Daily Times in my weekly Rock Music Menu column under the title “Rolling Stones release 1970s collaboration with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page.”