A keyboard that graced some of the most intelligent and innovative hit records of the 1970s is to be auctioned in Wiltshire next month. The Fender Rhodes electric piano owned by former 10cc member Eric Stewart was used on many of the band’s biggest hits including ‘Dreadlock Holiday’, ‘Life is a Minestrone’, ‘The Wall Street Shuffle’ and, most famously, 1975’s ground-breaking ‘I’m Not in Love’, which topped the UK chart for two weeks.
The three-day auction will take place over Wednesday 11–Friday 13 September at Gardiner Houlgate, 9 Leafield Way, Corsham, Wiltshire, SN13 9SW.
Eric Stewart’s Fender Rhodes and Les Paul guitar will be available for public viewing from Monday 9 September from 9am–5.30pm until the day of the sale itself.
The original promotional video for ‘I’m Not in Love’ featured Stewart, who sang lead vocal on the track, playing the Fender Rhodes. The song also featured on the soundtrack of hit 2014 film Guardians Of The Galaxy.
During a hiatus in 10cc’s career in the 1980s, the keyboard was used by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder in studio recording sessions.
Stewart, now aged 74, is selling the Fender Rhodes and also a customised 1950s Gibson Les Paul guitar, which featured on many 10cc tracks and also two of Paul McCartney’s solo albums, Pipes Of Peace and Tug Of War.
Luke Hobbs, auctioneer from Gardiner Houlgate, said: “This keyboard is probably the most significant piece of 10cc memorabilia ever to come onto the market. If you listen to ‘I’m Not in Love’, it’s the very first thing you hear. It really is an iconic piece of British pop history.
“As well as being integral to 10cc’s sound, the keyboard featured prominently in the band’s videos and photographs. I’m anticipating a lot of interest from collectors, fans and possibly museums.”
The keyboard is expected to sell for £6,000–£10,000.
10cc formed in 1972 and their classic line-up featured Eric Stewart, Graham Gouldman, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme. Between 1972 and 1983, the band released nine albums and 25 singles in the UK, 11 of which reached the top 10, three going to number one. The band was once described as “the missing link” between The Beatles and Blur. They broke up on 1983, reuniting briefly in 1993 to record a new album. A version of the band featuring Graham Gouldman continues to tour and play live.