Rod Stewart’s career has taken him from his early days in The Jeff Beck Band through the Faces and his transatlantic megastardom of the 70s and 80s right up the late-period success of his Great American Songbook series. But he got his big break when he was hired as a singer by British blues star Long John Baldry for his band The Hoochie Coochie Men..
In a brand new interview with Bryan Adams in the new issue of Classic Rock, which has been guest edited by Adams, Rod looks back on that initial meeting – and reveals that he owns a guitar with Baldry’s ashes in them.
Recalling the first time he met guitarist and singer Baldry in 1963, Stewart recalls: “I’d just gone to see his band, and I was on the way home, on platform seven, but he [Baldry] was on platform six or whatever.
“I was playing a harmonica and singing by myself, doing an old Muddy Waters song, and he came over and said, ‘Young, man, would you like to join the band as a backup singer?’
“So I did, and that’s what started it all. Thirty-five pounds a week, which was a fortune in those days. The average wage was twenty pounds a week.”
Stewart sang with in The Hoochie Coochie Men, who changed their name to Steampacket in 1965 before splitting the following year. Stewart and Baldry remained friends until the latter’s death in 2005 at the age of 64.
“I’ve still got his guitar,” says Stewart. “His ashes are inside, so if I rattle it round I can hear him. He’s still with me.”
In the same interview, Stewart jokingly address the fact that he donned a hi-vis jacket to fill in potholes near the house he owns in Essex after the local council failed to do it.
“I put the council and the government to shame,” he says.
The brand new issue of Classic Rock, guest edited by Bryan Adams, is out now. Order it online and have it delivered straight to your door.