John recalls the night he chatted with Rod Stewart

Rod 'Banjo' Stewart relaxing with friends on Southsea Common in front of the Queen's Hotel.
Rod 'Banjo' Stewart relaxing with friends on Southsea Common in front of the Queen's Hotel.
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Hidden signage revealed after sixty years''.

NOSTALGIA: What on earth did this mean?

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My recent piece about the day Rod Stewart was sacked at the old Rendezvous Club in Portsmouth, brought back happy memories for John Newbery. He was there that night.

For those of you who missed it, the occasion was October 1964 and Stewart had been recruited to the Hoochie Coochie Men by Long John Baldry.

Baldry had hired him after he heard Stewart busking a Muddy Waters’s song at Twickenham railway station. He was employed as ‘second singer’ for £33 a week and went on tour.

Stewart lived in Portsmouth for a year during the mid-1960s so when the band was booked for the Rendezvous it marked a return to his old stomping ground.

However, that night Baldry turned up 90 minutes late, Stewart gave him some abuse and was sacked by the end of the night. Stewart later recalled: ‘I actually cried when he sacked me.’

The Rendezvous was based in Oddfellows Hall in Kingston Road and is currently the home of an Indian restaurant.

And John, of South Road, Hayling Island, remembers it well: ‘I was there that night and saw Rod – all back-combed hair and impossibly tight trousers – do his first set.

‘He looked drained as he came off the stage and wandered through the audience, who mostly ignored him.

‘I was at the bar and as he came past I asked him whether he would like a drink. He had a light ale and we had a short chat before he headed back for the second set.

‘All very different from the interaction between performers and bands today.’