Sir Rod Stewart keeps friend Long John Baldry’s ashes inside guitar

Singers Rod Stewart (left) and Long John Baldry (1941 - 2005) of British blues band Steampacket, circa 1965. (Photo by Stanley Bielecki/ASP/Getty Images)

Rod Stewart is pictured here with his friend Long John Baldry, whose ashes he still treasures (Picture: Stanley Bielecki/ASP/Getty Images)

Sir Rod Stewart has revealed something really quite startling – but also very sweet.

The 78-year-old Maggie May singer has enjoyed a long and illustrious career, and he still keeps the man who helped him climb to stardom very close indeed.

Known as his mentor, Long John Baldry gave the rock legend his big break when he hired Sir Rod as the singer in his British blues band, The Hoochie Coochie Men.

So when Baldry died in 2005 aged 64, Sir Rod wasn’t ready to say goodbye just yet, and actually kept his ashes in a guitar, which he still rattles around to ‘hear him.’

In an interview with Classic Rock magazine, the Do Ya Think I’m Sexy? hitmaker opened up about his friend’s musical resting place.

Recalling the first time he met guitarist and singer Baldry in 1963, Sir Rod said: ‘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.

Steampacket - Rod Stewart and Long John Baldry with Julie Driscoll and Brian Auger - c 1965 Mandatory Credit: Photo by Dezo Hoffmann / Rex Features (62125d)

Long John Baldry gave Rod his first big break (Picture: Dezo Hoffmann/Rex Features)
Rod keeps his friend and mentor close still (Picture: John Medina/Getty Images)

‘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?”‘

And so the rest was history – literally – as one of the greatest British music icons rose up the ranks, starting with the band on £35 a week – which he said was a ‘fortune’ in those days.

The Hoochie Coochie Men changed their name to Steampacket in 1965 and split the following year, with the pair remaining close friends until Baldry’s death almost 20 years ago.

‘I’ve still got his guitar,’ Sir Rod told the publication. ‘His ashes are inside, so if I rattle it around I can hear him. He’s still with me.’

The Sailing singer seems to cherish his loved ones dearly, as he recently gave an Edinburgh crowd a surprise duet performance with his 94-year-old sister, Mary.

Introducing her, he said proudly: ‘This is my sister! 94!’

Mary waved to the audience and stood with her arms around her brother while he sang in what was a truly adorable moment.

Sir Rod later told The Mirror how much the moment meant to him, as he said: ‘At 94, she’s on a rock’n’roll stage and loving it. She has and continues to teach me about life.’

The pair grew closer after the death of his two brothers last year, just weeks apart.

His older brothers and ‘best mates’ Bob, 88, and Don, 94, died a year ago.

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