Tape of Sir Rod Stewart’s first studio recording to be sold at auction

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A tape of Sir Rod Stewart’s first studio recording, which helped secure his first record deal, is to be sold at auction by his former manager.

Jonathan Rowlands, 83, said the 15IPS analogue tape was sent to Decca Records as an audition recording in 1964, and the result was Sir Rod’s first recording contract.

The tape, being sold as a collector’s item only and with no intellectual property rights, has a pre-auction estimate of £500 to £1,000.

Also included in the lot, being sold at Cheffins auctioneers in Cambridge, are photocopies of Mr Rowlands’s 1964 appointment book which details his meetings with Sir Rod.

The recording was made on June 18 1964 in the basement studio of engineer Pepe Rush in Berwick Street in Soho, central London.

Its track listing is: Just Like I Treat You, Moppers Blues, Bright Lights Big City, Keep Your Hands Off Her, Don’t Tell Nobody, Ain’t That Loving You Baby, and Worksong.

A tape of Sir Rod Stewart's first studio recording is to be sold at auction. (Cheffins/ PA)
A tape of Sir Rod Stewart’s first studio recording is to be sold at auction (Cheffins/PA)

“The tape was used as audition material for a future recording contract for Rod with Decca Records,” he said.

“We had got lucky finding out about Pepe Rush’s studio that was hidden in the basement of a shop in Berwick Street, Soho.

“At the time it was incredibly difficult to get into major studios, as they were all owned and controlled by the likes of Decca, CBS, Polydor and Phillips Records.

“Rod had asked a certain Reg Dwight to come and play piano; unfortunately he had a cold that day and couldn’t make it.

“However, we were lucky for the musicians we used were from Long John Baldry’s Hoochie Coochie Band, led by pianist Ian Armit who Rod normally sang with.

“With my then partner, Geoff Wright, we then sent the tape to Decca Records as an audition recording in June 1964 and the result was we obtained Rod’s first recording contract.

“The first single released then by Decca was Good Morning Little Schoolgirl.”

He said Sir Rod was around 18 at the time, adding: “In those days, you couldn’t sign a management contract until you were 21, so I had visited his parents in Highgate (north London) to ask them to sign on his behalf.”

“He had that absolute star quality which he shares with the likes of Tom Jones and Elton John, which has allowed them to stay relevant in the music industry even after all of these years.”

He said he worked with Sir Rod for around nine years.

Martin Millard, a director at Cheffins, said: “There are armies of Rod Stewart fans across the world, and this tape is an opportunity for someone to own the seminal recording which would go on to propel his career skywards.

“He is one of the most loved artists of the past century, and this is a chance for someone to buy a part of musical history.”

– The tape is to be sold as part of the Art and Design Sale at Cheffins in Cambridge on Thursday February 23.

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