The Rolling Stones Release a Long Lost Track Featuring Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page

The Rolling Stones are ready­ing a re-release of their 1973 album Goats Head Soup in Sep­tem­ber, fea­tur­ing demos and rar­i­ties and all sorts of good­ies. Yes­ter­day, they dropped the above song: “Scar­let.” Nev­er boot­legged before, this fire­crack­er of a track fea­tures Led Zeppelin’s Jim­my Page on gui­tar.

The record­ing hap­pened in Octo­ber 1974, long, long after the record­ing of the Goats Head Soup tracks in Jamaica at Dynam­ic Sound Stu­dios. In fact, they’d also fin­ished record­ing It’s Only Rock and Roll, Goats Head Soup’s fol­low-up. Mick Tay­lor was about to leave the band. But in this case, Led Zep and the Stones were two groups pass­ing in the night, or in this case the cor­ri­dors of London’s Island Stu­dios.

Jim­my Page was there record­ing solo with Richards, along with a group that includ­ed Ian Stew­art (a long­time unof­fi­cial mem­ber of the Stones) on piano, Traffic’s Ric Grech on bass, and Bruce Row­land on drums.

“My rec­ol­lec­tion is we walked in at the end of a Zep­pelin ses­sion,” says Richards. “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 line­up like that, you know, we bet­ter use it.”

The ini­tial sketch of the song came out of an ear­li­er jam ses­sion, accord­ing to Jag­ger:

“I remem­ber first jam­ming this with Jim­my and Kei­th in Ron­nie (Wood)’s base­ment stu­dio,” he said. “It was a great ses­sion.” The chop­py riff is very much Kei­th Richards all over. Jagger’s lyrics are rough too, and you can hear a shared melody with “Ang­ie,” their hit from that year.

Named after Page’s young daugh­ter, “Scar­let” coul­da woul­da shoul­da been a sin­gle or even an album track, but was shelved for what­ev­er rea­son.

In the Stones’ minds, Goats Head Soup was one of their best. But when it came out in August the music press con­sid­ered it as a pale fol­low-up to the sprawl­ing Exile on Main Street. The band were rid­ing high, but their fame sort of turned on this album, as the band start­ed to ref­er­ence them­selves and plunge into true 1970s rock star excess. Lester Bangs hat­ed the album, writ­ing in Creem, “just because the Stones have abdi­cat­ed their respon­si­bil­i­ties is no rea­son we have to sit still for this shit! Because there is just lit­er­al­ly noth­ing new hap­pen­ing.”

Allen Crow­ley, also in Creem, not­ed the gen­er­a­tional shift hap­pen­ing: “The Stones are still con­sum­mate enter­tain­ers, but some­where along the line we began to expect some­thing more than enter­tain­ment from them. In Beg­gars Ban­quet and Let It Bleed, the Stones began to tell us what was going on… And that’s what miss­ing in this very durable record. And beneath that knowl­edge is the won­der­ment at how that durable exper­tise car­ries on in the face of dis­in­te­gra­tion.”

Rolling Stone’s Bud Cop­pa was more enthu­si­as­tic, know­ing that a lot of Stones’ albums are sleep­ers: “Soup stands right next to Mott, the the­mat­i­cal­ly sim­i­lar LP of the Stones’ bright­est stu­dents, as the best album of 1973. For me, its deep­en­ing and unfold­ing over the com­ing months will no doubt rate as one of the year’s rich­est musi­cal expe­ri­ences.”

Over the years, the crit­i­cal recep­tion has come around on Goats Head Soup. Not a clas­sic, but not a disaster—it was a con­scious break with the muf­fled sounds of Exile, yet still filled with lyrics about crime, despair, and alien­ation. It’s not the hap­pi­est of albums.

And by the way, this would not be the last time Jim­my Page played with the Stones. He played the solo on their 1986 sin­gle “One Hit (to the Body).”

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch the Rolling Stones Play “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” While Social Dis­tanc­ing in Quar­an­tine

The Rolling Stones Release a Time­ly Track, “Liv­ing in a Ghost Town”: Their First New Music in Eight Years

A Big 44-Hour Chrono­log­i­cal Playlist of Rolling Stones Albums: Stream 613 Tracks

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the Notes from the Shed pod­cast and is the pro­duc­er of KCR­W’s Curi­ous Coast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, and/or watch his films here.

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.