Jimmy Page and Keith Richards didn’t cross paths much in the 1970s. After all, the guitarists stayed busy with their bands, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. Maybe you’ve heard of them (sarcasm font). Richards didn’t like Zep, but he respected Page and tried to get him drunk when he played on a Stones song in the 1980s.
Keith Richards tried to get Jimmy Page drunk on champagne after he played on a Rolling Stones song
Page cut his teeth as a session musician before joining the Yardbirds and later forming Led Zeppelin. He knew a thing or two about staying busy. Zeppelin’s relentless touring and recording schedule left him little time for working with other bands in the 1970s.
That changed in the 1980s.
Page had a lot more time on his hands after Led Zeppelin broke up, enough to play on “One Hit (to the Body),” the lead track on the Stones’ 1986 album Dirty Work. Ronnie Wood invited him to the studio, Page laid down several solos, and then walked away. Richards sent him a massive bottle of booze as a thank you, as Page told Louder:
“Actually, the session was not for Keith’s album, it was The Rolling Stones, and I overdubbed a number of solos over the track. I think it worked out pretty good. Keith kindly sent me a magnum of champagne after the session.”
A magnum of champagne is basically two bottles in one. Most bottles are 750 milliliters. A magnum is 1,500 (or 1.5 liters) and meant to serve several people. Page didn’t reveal if he consumed the bottle, but Richards seemingly tried to get Page drunk with his gift.
That was actually the second time Led Zeppelin’s founder played on a Rolling Stones song. His guitar (including a solid solo) appeared on the tune “Heart of Stone.” The country-western/R&B ballad from 1964 happened well before Led Zeppelin. The track didn’t see the light of day on the Stones’ 1975 Metamorphosis release.
Interestingly, Page’s work on “One Hit (to the Body)” showed the guitarist and the band going in different directions.
The Rolling Stones were on the verge of breaking up as Mick Jagger focused more on his solo career than the group. Tensions between the singer and Richards were at an all-time high, and it threatened the group.
Meanwhile, Page started emerging from a self-imposed fallow period following Led Zeppelin’s 1980 collapse. His performances at the ARMS (Action into Research for Multiple Sclerosis) concerts in 1984 led him to form a new group, The Firm, with Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers. The group released two albums in 1985 and 1986, respectively. Page later worked on Zep singer Robert Plant’s Now & Zen album in 1988 before releasing his first solo album the same year.
How did ‘One Hit (to the Body)’ and ‘Dirty Work’ perform on the charts?
It had Page playing with Richards and his legendary band, but “One Hit (to the Body)” hardly lived up to its name. It was far from a hit.
The song spent just two weeks on the chart in England. It peaked at No. 80, per the Official Charts Company. It was the worst-performing Rolling Stones single to that point in the band’s career.
The tune rose to No. 28 on the Billboard chart in June 1986. Respectable, but a far cry from “Harlem Shuffle” from the same album (No. 5) or the Stones’ early 1980s work, such as “Emotional Rescue” (No. 3 in 1980) or “Waiting on a Friend” (No. 13 in 1982).
“One Hit (to the Body)” underwhelmed, but Stones fans were more receptive to Dirty Work as a whole. The album rose to No. 4 in both the United States and England and spent a combined 35 weeks on the charts (25 in the U.S. and 10 in England).
The song wasn’t a success, but Keith Richards tried to get Jimmy Page drunk on a huge bottle of champagne as thank you for playing on The Rolling Stones’ song “One Hit (to the Body).” That tune was part of Page’s post-Led Zeppelin resurgence, while the Stones barely survived making Dirty Work before experiencing a resurgence with 1989’s Steel Wheels.
For more on the entertainment world and exclusive interviews, subscribe to Showbiz Cheat Sheet’s YouTube channel.