How a cabbie plans to make rock history – with Stones tape that even Mick hasn't heard
Former studio engineer is preparing to release a landmark recording he stashed away 48 years ago
A Rolling Stones recording from 1964 that is so rare even Sir Mick Jagger has never heard it is the prized possession of an Essex mini-cab driver, who has kept the tapes locked away since his brush with the legendary rockers.
Now John Mackswith's demo version of the band's "As Tears Go By" is set for its first public airing as the legendary rockers scour the archives for a major re-release programme.
Mr Mackswith, now 63, was a slightly awed 17-year-old tape operator at the Advision recording studio in New Bond Street when fast-rising blues revivalists the Rolling Stones arrived to lay down some demo recordings.
The band sped through "As Tears Go By", one of the first songs that Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards wrote together. Mr Mackswith liked the song but was disappointed with the band's ramshackle performance.
When the band and studio staff left, he secretly "remixed" the tapes, creating his own improved version of a song that would become a hit for Marianne Faithfull and later the Stones.
The only copy of Mr Mackswith's exclusive version currently lies, carefully stored in 10.5in magnetic tape reels, in a suburban house in Chigwell, Essex. It hasn't been heard for nearly 50 years. But the driver is willing to let the band assess its potential as the Stones seek out rarities as part of a reissue programme of their classic back catalogue.
"When everyone left the studio in the evening we were let loose on the equipment," he said. "I used spare tape to make a couple of mixes of my own. It was probably as bad as their performance; I used too much reverb. I took them home as mementoes."
A spokesman for the Stones said: "This could be a very interesting discovery." The recording came to light when David Bowie's UK representative booked an Addison Lee account car to a gig and got talking to Mr Mackswith.
Lost and found: Treasured tapes
A reel-to-reel tape of The Beatles singing and joking in a studio in 1964 were found in a Liverpool attic and fetched £12,000 at auction in 2008.
Shula Archer losing her virginity was among 28 episodes of The Archers from 1977 that were relocated in 1999 in a storeroom at BBC Radio Wiltshire.
Two Doctor Who episodes from 1965 and 1967 were found at a 1980s school fete by film collector Terry Burnett, but only last year did he realise their importance.
Two episodes of Dad's Army were found in 2001 in a garden shed where they had been since being retrieved from a skip outside Elstree Studios.
Grace Dent on TVtv
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 2 Mother of newborn Baby No 59 trapped in sewer pipe told Chinese police she 'heard crying' when she raised alarm
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 This crazy skiing video will leave you feeling queasy
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Alfred Hitchcock's unseen Holocaust documentary to be screened
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Photographer Matt Lankes' portraits of the cast of Boyhood influenced the film's storyline
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens