When I learned that Rod Stewart was coming to the ranch, my heart skipped a beat! No, not because of Rod, but because of his girl friend at the time – Britt Ekland.
In high school several of my friends and I were big Peter Seller fans, and when we saw The Bobo, we flipped over Britt. She was that perfect Swedish girl. Later she became one of the famous Bond girls – Mary Goodnight – in The Man With The Golden Gun.
And I was about to meet her in person!
Needless to say, after meeting Rod, I was introduced to Britt. She was just as beautiful in person as in the movies, and she spent a lot of time in the control room sitting on the couch just a few feet away from me. Being the professional I was, though, I kept my eyes on the tape recorders at all times.
And now to my story about Rod.
At the time, Tom Dowd was his producer, and he brought Rod to Caribou to do some overdubs and mixing of the album “A Night On The Town”.
A SPECIAL NOTE:
It was a great priviledge and honor to work with Tom Dowd several times while I was at Caribou. Tom was a true Legend in the recording industry, and anyone with any interest at all in the history of recording should watch this The Language Of Music. It is fantastic!
You’ll see Tom as he records Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, the Allman Brothers, and on and on. Tom was a pioneer in the industry, and a master of the art of recording.
One of my most cherished tapes is Eric Clapton doing “Smile” by Charlie Chaplin. I assisted Tom with the mix, and I don’t think that version was ever released.
During the session, Tom asked me if I’d get a couple of the guitar amps we kept downstairs. I said, “Sure”. After all, that was part of my job – being a Gopher. Go Pher this and Go Pher that.
As I opened the door to head downstairs, Rod grabbed it and said, “I’ll help you.” He and I went down the stairs and down the hall to the storage room. There were 3 Fender amps, and Rod just picked up 2 and said, “Grab that one, too.” We carried them down the hall to the elevator and rode it up to the studio. Again, he grabbed 2, and I picked up one. That allowed me to open the studio door with one hand, and Rod carried the 2 amps into the studio. I followed with my amp.
At that point, he headed back to the control room, so I said, “Thank you.” Then I finished plugging them in and putting mics on them.
I just wanted to tell this story because at that time Rod was really popular and recording a lot of hits. I had heard he was somewhat of a “prima donna”, but I found him to be very pleasant, and he didn’t have to help me at all. He could have just sat in the control room with Britt and waited for me to lug the amps.
We recorded the final vocal for “Tonight’s The Night”, which is the song that features whispers from Britt. The song became his second US chart topper, peaked at #5 in UK, #3 in Australia and charted well in other parts of the world as well. It was also the 61st video to be played on the debut of MTV on August 1, 1981