UPDATE (OCT. 6, 2021)—Pete Townshend announced on Instagram that the house has been sold, and that he had to move his home studio—luckily, he included a photo of the room and his prized Neve BCM10 console! The post is embedded below, and takes a moment or two to show up.
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Rock legend Pete Townshend of The Who has owned The Wick since 1996, but the 8,500-square-foot UK mansion already had quite an artistic history before that—dating all the way back to 1775, when it was first built. Now on the market with a base asking price of £15 million ($20,681,000), The Wick is the focus of an opulent real estate listing that provides a fleeting glimpse of a home studio where rock history was made.
Situated in the London suburb Richmond upon Thames, The Wick has been owned by prominent painters, architects, authors, actors, musicians and producers over the centuries, including Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones, producer Derek “Dick” Leahy (George Michael, Donna Summer, The Bay City Rollers), and writer Mary Hayley Bell (Whistle Down the Wind) and her husband, actor Sir John Mills. The power couple, parents of The Parent Trap’s Hayley Mills, actually owned the house twice and even wanted to buy it a third time at one point.
Townshend may have owned The Wick for the last 25 years, but its greatest rock n’ roll moments happened when Wood owned the mansion in the early 1970s. Inspired to create a musical crashpad so friends could drop in and get creative, he built a recording studio out of three basement spaces facing the street, including the former billiards room. With home studios still a rarity back then, even among the musical elite, it became the site of endless jam sessions with rock royalty like Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Eric Clapton.
While Wood recorded two solo albums in the basement studio—1974’s I’ve Got My Own Album to Do and 1975’s Now Look—the facility’s rock n’ roll high-point came when it hosted the jam session between Wood, fellow Stones Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and David Bowie where they wrote the Stones classic, “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It).”
Alas, not much evidence of that storied studio is left these days. The listing’s photos reveal that the main live room has been converted into a pleasant den, while the control room eventually became a fairly bleak-looking home gym for a while, though its diffusive walls and cork ceiling remain. According to Robb Report, Townshend decided to downsize after spending a year in lockdown alternately at his country home in Oxfordshire and his swanky apartment in central London, so he won’t exactly be homeless after The Wick is whisked away.