The Record That Wasn't
A bit earlier today I was playing random tunes from my music stash when a version of the old Dobie Gray standard "Drift Away" popped up. The artist information on it, which came from wherever I downloaded it a few weeks back, says it's by the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. Which is why I downloaded it to begin with. Who wouldn't be interested in hearing such a historic pairing? I wondered why I'd never heard of its existence before now.
As it turns out, the explanation for its weird obscurity is that no such Stones/Beatles recording exists. Oh, there's a Stones recording of "Drift Away," but the Beatles had nothing to do with it. The Stones recorded the song during the 1973-74 sessions that yielded It's Only Rock and Roll, but didn't put it on the album, most likely due to time restrictions--it's certainly not because it wasn't good enough. It surfaced on the 1991 bootleg compilation Greatest Rarities, Volume 1. However, the tantalizing possibility of a Beatles/Stones collaboration, multiplied by the anything-goes ethos of the Internet, perpetuated the "Drift Away" myth. But Gray's "Drift Away" wasn't a hit until 1973, and if the Beatles had joined the Stones in Germany to cover it in 1974--four years after they broke up--the whole world would have known about it. And besides, there had already been Beatles/Stones collaborations: John and Paul sang on the Stones' "We Love You," and Mick sang on the Beatles' "Baby You're a Rich Man."
Another track found on the Greatest Rarities compilation, "Too Many Cooks," is said to feature John on guitar. His participation has never been confirmed--although Mick says it's possible he was present for the informal jam session that resulted in the song. But as far as "Drift Away" is concerned, there's nary a Beatle involved.
Drift Away/The Rolling Stones (mp3)