It’s normal that as you walk down a busy city street, you hear a busker or two. If they’re playing a song you like, you might sing along. If they’re amazing, you might stop, listen, and even throw a few coins in their case. But have you ever stopped to wonder what the song’s original singer would do if they passed by?
Luckily for us, when that happened, it was all captured on a camera phone for the whole internet to see. When the video begins, veteran busker Henry Facey is on a freezing London street playing a set. He had reached the final song he planned to play before he could go inside and get warm. He played the 1969 Rod Stewart hit Handbags and Gladrags.
The song has been enduringly popular, and it had a later revival when it was covered by the Welsh band the Stereophonics in 2001. As he’s about to sing, out of nowhere, Rod Stewart himself steps from the crowd and asks for Henry’s microphone. Although he was stunned, Henry handed over the microphone. Let’s face it, if Rod Stewart asks you for anything, you give it to him! Also, which musician in their right mind would turn down the chance to perform with him?
Henry begins to play, and Rod starts to sing, his husky voice absolutely unmistakable. As his voice reaches the crowd, there are glances at first, followed by double takes and final open mouths. Concertgoers pay a fortune to hear Rod Stewart sing, and here he was giving it away for free in Piccadilly Circus.
Inevitably, cameras came out, and what a scene it was. Rod Stewart and a busker jamming with Piccadilly Circus behind them, and the iconic red buses going by. You’d be hard-pressed to achieve such a perfect performance for a professional music video. Rod and Henry give the song everything they have, and as they draw to a close two minutes later, the crowd goes wild.
Rod, ever the gentleman, encourages the crowd to give Henry an extra cheer before joking that he wouldn’t be available to join his later performance. Rod leaves, and life goes on, but for Henry and everyone else there that day, surely life will never be quite the same again.