The Rolling Stones have a somewhat hostile relationship with Led Zeppelin, thanks in no small part to Keith Richards’ malevolence towards his contemporaries spanning decades. However, it’s an opinion that isn’t shared by Mick Jagger, who has a differing perspective from his bandmate on the pioneering rock group.
Before Zeppelin were even formed, Jagger had struck up a friendship with Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones after The Rolling Stones hired the guitarist as a session musician in 1965. Both men worked with the group, with the latter appearing on ‘She’s A Rainbow’ from Their Satanic Majesties Request.
Page’s ‘long-lost’ recording with The Stones didn’t see the light of day until 2020, a time when the band finally shared ‘Scarlet’, and hearing them all on the same track remains a treat of the highest proportion.
Jagger reflected back to when they recorded the bluesy effort during an interview with BBC Radio 2 and referred to Page as “one of the best session guitarists at the time”. He also remembered, “He was very young, they used to play chess in between takes, that was their thing”.
He continued: “And that’s how I met Jimmy, and that’s how I met John Paul Jones – because he was the bass player. So I knew Jimmy from then, and I knew John Paul Jones from then, and then ten years later – or a bit less than ten years later – they made this very successful band”.
Jagger remembered how he’d regularly watch Led Zeppelin during their early days when they were beginning to make a name for themselves and believed they were a band that needed to come along to shake things up.
With The Beatles’ time in the sun beginning to come to its natural conclusion, as was the period of the swinging ’60s, something fresh and new needed to come along with Led Zeppelin filling that void splendidly. Jagger explained: “I used to go watch them live, I remember watching their concerts live, it was great – thunderous racket”.
He added: “And I saw their last concert as well. And they were absolutely incredible. And I was so disappointed they didn’t actually go on [a reunion] tour and do it. But that’s their business, not mine”.
Another reunion by Led Zeppelin now seems like it’s out of the equation, and while it would be a spectacle, the way they called it a day in 2007 at London’s O2 Arena was a grandiose last hurrah which allowed them to bow out on a high note. If Led Zep were to share the stage again, it would risk undoing the magnificence of their final outing, which felt like a perfect final chapter in the Led Zeppelin story which first began all those decades prior when these budding session musicians stepped out of the shadows.