In the 1970s, Jimmy Page and Keith Richards rarely crossed paths. After all, the guitarists were kept busy by their respective bands, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. You’ve probably heard of them (sarcasm font). Richards disliked Zep, but he admired Page and once tried to get him drunk while playing on a Stones song in the 1980s. Before joining the Yardbirds and then creating Led Zeppelin, Page worked as a session guitarist. He knew a thing or two about keeping himself busy. In the 1970s, Zeppelin’s intense touring and recording schedule left him little time to collaborate with other bands.
That began to shift in the 1980s. After Led Zeppelin disbanded, Page had enough time on his hands to play on “One Hit (to the Body),” the lead track on the Stones’ 1986 album Dirty Work. Ronnie Wood brought him to the studio, where he laid down numerous solos before leaving. As a thank gesture, Richards sent him a large bottle of liquor, 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 essentially two bottles rolled into one. The majority of bottles are 750 milliliters in size. A magnum is 1,500 (or 1.5 liters) in size and intended to serve multiple people. Page didn’t say whether he drank the bottle, but Richards appeared to want to get Page intoxicated with his present.
That was the second time Led Zeppelin’s founder had performed on a Rolling Stones song. His guitar (including a strong solo) was featured on “Heart of Stone.” The 1964 country-western/R&B ballad came before Led Zeppelin. The song was not included on the Stones’ 1975 album Metamorphosis. Surprisingly, Page’s work on “One Hit (to the Body)” revealed the guitarist and the band diverging. The Rolling Stones were on the danger of disbanding as Mick Jagger prioritized his solo career over the group’s. Tensions between the singer and Richards were at an all-time high, putting the group in jeopardy.
Meanwhile, Page began to emerge from a self-imposed hiatus following the demise of Led Zeppelin in 1980. In 1984, his appearances at the ARMS (Action for Research into Multiple Sclerosis) concerts inspired him to join The Firm with Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers. The group issued two albums, one in 1985 and one in 1986. Page went on to collaborate on Robert Plant’s Now & Zen album in 1988 before releasing his debut solo album the following year.
It included Page performing with Richards and his famed band, but “One Hit (to the Body)” fell short of expectations. It was not a smash hit. In England, the song was only in the charts for two weeks. According to the Official Charts Company, it peaked at No. 80. It was the Rolling Stones’ worst-selling single up to that time in their career. In June 1986, the song peaked at No. 28 on the Billboard list. Respectable, but not in the same league as “Harlem Shuffle” from the same album (No. 5) or the Stones’ early 1980s efforts, such as “Emotional Rescue” (No. 3 in 1980) or “Waiting on a Friend” (No. 13 in 1982).
“One Hit (to the Body)” underperformed, yet Dirty Work as a whole was well received by Stones fans. The album peaked at No. 4 in both the United States and the United Kingdom, spending a total of 35 weeks on the charts (25 in the United States and 10 in the United Kingdom). Although the song was not a success, Keith Richards attempted to get Jimmy Page drunk on a large bottle of champagne as a thank you for performing on The Rolling Stones’ song “One Hit (to the Body).” Page’s post-Led Zeppelin rebirth included that song, whereas the Stones barely survived releasing Dirty Work before experiencing a resurgence with 1989’s Steel Wheels.