How Jimmy Page Ended Up Jamming With Keith Richards on ‘Scarlet’
The Rolling Stones were preparing to issue a follow-up to Goats Head Soup when Jimmy Page joined Keith Richards in October 1974 at Island Studios in London.
Their bands had been on tandem runs of historic brilliance, crossing paths as both recorded at Olympic Sound Studios in sessions dating back to the late '60s. Led Zeppelin also put down music at the Rolling Stones' mobile studio and Stargroves, Mick Jagger's house, in the early '70s.
This wasn't anything so serious. Page was at Island for a tossed-off solo session with Richards that also included unofficial Stones member Ian Stewart on piano, Ric Grech (Traffic, Blind Faith) on bass and Bruce Rowland (Joe Cocker, Fairport Convention) on drums, according to Felix Aeppli's Ultimate Guide to the Rolling Stones.
They emerged with "Scarlet," a long-lost collaboration that will finally see the light of day when it's bundled with an expanded edition of Goats Heads Soup. The Rolling Stones are set to release the unearthed jam on Wednesday.
An official statement announcing the reissue praised Page's "layered guitar textures" on "Scarlet," calling it as "infectious and raunchy as anything the [Stones] cut in this hallowed era."
At the time, Page figured they were working on B-side material, but interest was such that "Scarlet" initially sparked rumors about a possible solo album by Zeppelin's guitarist. "Chalk that off to Keith Richards' sense of humor," Page told Rolling Stone in 1975.
"It was great, really good," Page added. "We stayed up all night and went down to Island Studios where Keith put some reggae guitars over one section. I just put some solos on it, but it was eight in the morning of the next day before I did that. He took the tapes to Switzerland and someone found out about them. Keith told people that it was a track from my album."
Named after Page's daughter, "Scarlet" is part of a series of career intersections dating back to 1964, when Page added guitar to the Rolling Stones' demo for "Heart of Stone." John Paul Jones did the string arrangement for 1967's "She's a Rainbow," and Page worked with Brian Jones on 1967's A Degree of Murder. Stewart added piano to Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" in 1971 and "Boogie With Stu" in 1975. Page sat in on the Stones' 1986 single "One Hit (To the Body)," as well.
The multi-format remaster of Goats Head Soup, due on Sept. 4, also includes two other previously unreleased bonus cuts, "Criss Cross" and "All the Rage."
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