Rod Stewart was so devastated when he heard his late pal LONG JOHN BALDRY was seriously ill, he jetted to Canada to be by the suffering blues veteran's bedside.

MAGGIE MAY rocker Stewart adored the British-born music legend, and ensured he was there for him and his family in their hour of need.

Stewart insists if it wasn't for Baldry, who died 10 days ago (21JUL05) of a chest infection, he would never have had a career in rock.

He says, "John launched me on my musical journey.

"He always had encouraging words when I was just getting out there as a performer at 16.

"He gave me a start in his band. He had a knack for discovering talent."

31/07/2005 09:27