The Making of a Legend by Rod Stewart (Readerís Digest/Dec/ 2004)
Long John Baldry launched me on my musical career. I was 18 and playing harmonica and singing a Muddy Waters song in a railway station, when Long John Baldry ran over to me from the other side of the tracks. I had just been to see him play at a club; he was one of the top Bluesmen in England. But John didnít sing Muddy Waters songs Ė he knew Muddy Waters, had performed with him and with Ramblin' Jack Elliott too.


And now he was asking, Ē Would you like to join the band?Ē For me, just shaking his hand Ė knowing all the great musicians whose hand heíd shaken before Ė was mind-blowing. But so was John. Picture this elegant man with a proper English accent, never without a tie, a towering six-foot-seven. I was a huge fan and I was intimidated by his offer. Rod Stewart wasnít in demand in those days; no one was interested. I immediately said yes. John had a knack for discovering talent. Ginger Baker, Jeff Beck and Brian Jones all worked with him early on. Elton John played piano in one of his bands, other Rolling Stones too Ė Charlie, Ron Wood, and Keith. In 1962, when The Rolling Stones were just getting started, they opened for him in London. Eric Clapton has said many times that John was one of the musicians that inspired him to play the Blues. And for their internationally televised special in 1964, The Beatles invited John to perform his version of 'I Got My Mojo Working'.  In those days the only music we fell in love with was the Blues, and John was the first white guy singing it, in his wonderful voice. It was the true Blues and everyone looked up to him. I wasnít very good on the harmonica, but my gravelly voice caught his attention. He was the first person of any stature to tell me, ďYou really have the gift. You have what it takesĒ. He turned some of us into musical legends, but it was never what he expected from himself. You didnít hear John on the radio or see him on TV. He just played these clubs that I started going to when I was 16. At the time I hadnít thought much about performing except as a way to meet girls. John put me on an amazing wage, close to $100 a week, which in the early Ď60s was an astronomical amount. I remember thinking, "If this lasts for 6 months Iíll be able to buy a little sports car which Iíd been saving for. Of course, that would help me get some girls". We didnít rehearse before my first performance with Johnís band and I was very nervous so I had a few drinks. John introduced me as an 'up-and-coming' new singer and I sang John Lee Hooker's classic 'Dimples', which died a death! There was a horrible silence after my performance. But John was great. Heís one of the kindest guys, reassuring and positive. He just said, "Well come away, donít worry about it." Then he had me come to his apartment the next day and go through some songs on the guitar to get the keys worked out.

home        about ljb        recordings        ljb tributes       guestbook        contact        links
©2010 Amigo Web Services