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Each week on Rear-view Mirror, Rich Terfry and the Radio 2 team look back at a great song from the good ol’ days. Today, Pete Morey steps in for a story about the song "In a Broken Dream," by Python Lee Jackson.

Here's how a band you've never heard of got rock legend Rod Stewart to sing lead vocals on their biggest hit, in exchange for a set of car mats!


Peter Morey give you the story behind Rod Stewart's free car mats. And some music, too.

The Band Python Lee Jackson formed in Australia in the '60s. After a couple of failed attempts at rock stardom down-under, they decided to swap the sun for gloomy London, England.

The band were managed in the UK by a guy who also ran a car show-room. After a handful of badly attended gigs, it looked like their move had been a flop. Then, one night in 1969, John Peel, a young British Radio DJ, came to see them play. Peel loved the band and signed them to his label.

The band hit the studio to lay down some tracks for an album, including one moody, psychedelic rock ballad called "In A Broken Dream." But something didn't sit right with the band's singer, David Bentley. A couple of days after the session he was out record shopping. On the record store speakers he heard Joe Cocker's gravel filled voice singing the Beatles "With A Little Help From My Friends" and he had an epiphany!
What his song "In A Broken Dream" needed was a different singer, not him!  If the band could find a vocalist like Joe Cocker, Bentley was convinced they had a hit on their hands.

So they asked their manager, the car salesman, for help. The sales guy was friendly with a session singer everyone called Rod "the Mod." The manager asked "the Mod" to sing a guide vocal on the track so they could audition a bunch of famous singers to find the right one. There was just one problem: he couldn't pay Rod... Instead, Rod agreed to lay down the vocals in exchange for a set of carpeted mats for his car.

Rod went in and laid down his guide vocal, and nailed it! They decided to keep his vocal, which was only intended to be a place-holder for someone with more fame. The single “In A Broken Dream” was released by the band Python Lee Jackson. It was a disappointing failure. It did not make the charts. The band went their separate ways.

Later that year, Rod "the Mod" became the singer of a band called the Faces and his star began rise. In 1971, he released a solo album that contained the mandolin mega-hit "Maggie May".

Capitalising on Rod’s new found fame, Python Lee Jackson re-released "In a Broken Dream" as "featuring Rod Stewart" in 1972. It became the worldwide hit they’d hoped for. The song was right, it had been the timing that was wrong. They quickly recorded an album to go with the hit song, so they could make some money and then called it quits as a band.

"In A Broken Dream" has endured being covered by many performers.  It was sampled in 2014 by New York Rapper A$AP Rocky for his hit song "Every Day," leaning heavily on Rod’s powerful vocals.

Rod Stewart recorded his own version in the '90s with Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmour and John Paul Jones, but it couldn't hold a candle to the raw power of the original song.

To this day, Rod Stewart often points out he never made any money from this song's success, trading it all for a set of mats for a car he no longer owns!

Here's Australia's Python Lee Jackson featuring Rod Stewart with "In A Broken Dream" on Rear View Mirror.

Here are some other great editions of Rear-view Mirror:

Roberta Flack - "Killing Me Softly With His Song"

Prince - "When Doves Cry"

Wanda Jackson - "Hard Headed Woman"

Al Green - "Love and Happiness"

Darrell Banks - "Open the Door to Your Heart"

Stevie Wonder - "Superstition"

Bob Marley - "Redemption Song"

Dexy's Midnight Runners - "Geno"

Richard Berry - "Louie Louie"

The Beatles - "Strawberry Fields Forever"

Maggie Thrett - "Soupy"

Freda Payne - "Band of Gold"

The Beatles - "A Day in the Life"

Michael Jackson - "Billie Jean"

David Bowie - "Heroes"

The Kinks - "Waterloo Sunset"

The Rolling Stones - "Gimme Shelter"

Bruce Springsteen - "Fire"

Buddy Holly - "That'll Be The Day"

Johnny Cash - "Walk the Line"

Bob Dylan - "Like a Rolling Stone"

George Harrison - "My Sweet Lord"

Lynyrd Skynyrd - "Sweet Home Alabama"

Bobbie Gentry - "Ode to Billie Joe"

The Beach Boys - "Never Learn Not to Love"

Johnny Cash - "Ring of Fire"

The Kinks - "You Really Got Me"

The Beatles - "Yesterday"

Al Green - "Let's Stay Together"

Simon and Garfunkel - "The Boxer"

Smokey Robinson and the Miracles - "Tracks of my Tears"

Elvis Presley - "Heartbreak Hotel"

Bruce Cockburn - "Lovers In A Dangerous Time"

The Doors - "Light My Fire"

Bob Dylan & Jimi Hendrix - "All Along The Watchtower"

The Clash - "London Calling"

Phil Spector and the Ronnettes - "Be My Baby"

Os Mutantes - "Ando Meio Desligado"

The Diamonds - "Little Darlin"

Captain Beefheart - "Yellow Brick Road"

Elton John - "Bennie and the Jets"

Hank Williams - "Long Gone Lonesome Blues"

R.E.M. - "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?"

Tom Waits - "Jockey Full of Bourbon"

Neil Diamond - "Sweet Caroline"

The Who - "Pinball Wizard"

Buffalo Springfield - "For What It's Worth"

Five Man Electrical Band - "Signs"

Band Aid - "Do They Know It's Christmas"

John Lennon - "Imagine"

The Ugly Ducklings - "Nothin"

Bob Dylan - "Tangled Up In Blue"

The Beatles - "Norwegian Wood"

The Pursuit of Happiness - "I'm An Adult Now"

Bruce Springsteen - "Born To Run"

Arcade Fire - "Wake Up"

Gnarls Barkley - "Crazy"

Big Joe Turner - "Shake Rattle and Roll"

Martha and the Muffins - "Echo Beach"

Wilson Pickett - "In The Midnight Hour"

The Band - "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"

Fleetwood Mac - "Go Your Own Way"

The Animals - "House of the Rising Sun"

Ian and Sylvia - "Four Strong Winds"

James Brown - "Please Please Please"

John Cougar Mellencamp - "Pink Houses'"

Leonard Cohen - "Suzanne"

The Ramones - "I Wanna Be Sedated"

Blue Rodeo - "Try"

The Guess Who - "American Woman"

U2 - "I Still Have't Found What I'm Looking For"

Janis Joplin - "Me and Bobby McGee"

Gordon Lightfoot - "If You Could Read My Mind"

The Byrds - "Eight Miles High"

Simon and Garfunkel - "The Sound of Silence"

Bill Haley and his Comets - "Rock Around The Clock"

The Velvet Underground - "I'm Waiting For The Man"

Johnny Cash - "Folsom Prison Blues"

Bobby Fuller - "I Fought The Law"

Big Star - "September Gurls"

The Hollies - "Bus Stop"

Joy Division - "Love Will Tear Us Apart"

Booker T and the MGs - "Green Onions"

Jimi Hendrix - "Hey Joe"

Neil Young - "Rockin' in the Free World"

Dolly Parton - "Jolene"

The Left Banke - "Walk Away Renee"

Lou Reed - "Walk On The Wild Side"

James Taylor - "Fire And Rain"

The Clash - "Should I Stay or Should I Go"

Marvin Gaye - "Sexual Healing"

Radiohead - "Paranoid Android"

M.I.A. - "Paper Planes"

The Animals - "We Gotta Get Out of this Place"

Dusty Springfield - "Son of a Preacher Man"

Screamin' Jay Hawkins - "I Put A Spell On You"

Cheap Trick - "Surrender"

Mott The Hoople - "All the Young Dudes"

Beach Boys - "Sloop John B"

Amy Winehouse - "Rehab"

New York Dolls - "Personality Crisis"

Modern Lovers - "Roadrunner"

George Jones - "He Stopped Loving Her Today"

Bruce Springsteen - "Born in the USA"

The Beatles - "With A Little Help From My Friends"

Rolling Stones - "Miss You"

The Coasters - "Run Red Run"

Elvis Costello - "Alison"

James Brown - "Hot (I Need to be loved loved loved)"

Inner Circle - "Tenement Yard"

Ray Charles - "I Don't Need No Doctor"

Curtis Mayfield - "Freddy's Dead"

Gang Starr - "Beyond Comprehension"

Bo Diddley - "Bo Diddley"

Aretha Franklin - "Rocksteady"

Creedence Clearwater Revival - "Have You Ever Seen the Rain'

Howlin' Wolf - "Smokestack Lightning"

Bobby Womack - "Across 110th Street"

Roy Orbison - "In Dreams"

Foggy Hogtown Boys - "Man of Constant Sorrow"

Pink Floyd - "Wish You Were Here"

Neil Young - "Cortez The Killer"

Bob Dylan - "Subterranean Homesick Blues"

Little Eva - "Loco-Motion"

Elvis Costello - "Watching the Detectives"

Jimmy Cliff - "The Harder They Come"

The Verve - "Bittersweet Symphony"

R.E.M. - "Radio Free Europe"

Radiohead - "No Surprises"

Led Zeppelin - "Ramble On"

Rolling Stones - "Beast of Burden"

Glen Campbell - "Wichita Lineman"

posted by Alex Redekop on Apr 29, 2016
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