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.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 3 Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway in dense fog
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 The majority of sex workers enjoy their job - why should we find that surprising?
The Great Comic Relief Bake Off, TV review: Alexa Chung impresses, but Chris Moyles makes Paul Hollywood gag
Drugs Live: Twitter responds to Jon Snow and Jennie Bond smoking cannabis
India's Daughter: BBC Four documentary provokes outrage on Twitter
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Seth Rogan's pot fumes delay hacked Sony boss’s office move
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin