When the Rolling Stones rolled out details of their upcoming Goat’s Head Soup box set earlier this month, one of the most exciting elements was a previously unreleased song recorded with Jimmy Page titled “Scarlet.” The package isn’t coming out until September 4th, but on Wednesday, the band released the highly anticipated track.
The song was cut in October 1974 with Keith Richards and Page both handling guitar duties and Traffic’s Ric Grech on bass. “My recollection is we walked in at the end of a Zeppelin session,” Richards says 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 lineup like that, you know, we better use it.‘”
In 1975, Page told Rolling Stone‘s Cameron Crowe that he thought the track was supposed to be a Stones B-side. “It sounded very similar in style and mood to those Blonde on Blonde tracks,” Page said. “It was great; really good. 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.”
“I remember first jamming this with Jimmy and Keith in Ronnie’s basement studio,” Mick Jagger says in a statement. “It was a great session.”
The new edition of Goat’s Head Soup also features the previously unreleased tracks “Criss Cross” and “All the Rage,” along with rare demos, alternate takes and mixes, and a complete concert taped at a 1973 gig in Belgium previously released as A Brussels Affair.
The Stones originally planned on touring America football stadiums this summer, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to delay those plans. During the downtime, they released the new song “Living in a Ghost Town,” their first original composition since 2012.