Photo by J. Nepper.

In the pulsating heart of lovely London, more specifically the beautiful area of Mayfair, lies what was once known as Ryemuse Sound Studios, which was a recording studio only a stone’s throw away from the Bond Street tube station. At other points in time, this hallowed facility, which is in South Molton Street, was known as Spot Studios and Mayfair Recording Studios, but the two compositions that made me aware of its location and history were captured there for posterity in September 1966 and April 1967 when people referred to it as either Ryemuse Sound Studios or simply Ryemuse Studios.

      The building that housed the rather cramped studio was owned by a lawyer named Arthur Rye, and according to author Howard Massey, its name was “an amalgamation of both the benefactor’s last name and the music that had inspired its construction.” Now, the two strokes of musical genius that made me pick up on the name Ryemuse are ‘I Feel Free’ by Cream and ‘Doctor, Doctor’ by The Who – two legendary acts each possessing a most impressive and timeless discography. Let us have a brief look at those two catchy compositions in relation to the story of Ryemuse, shall we?

      Formed by the immaculate and incomparable drummer Ginger Baker (Graham Bond Organisation), bass player extraordinaire Jack Bruce (John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Manfred Mann), and six-string wizard Eric Clapton (The Yardbirds, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers), Cream were the pioneering purveyors of psychedelic blues rock that forever changed the musical landscape and continue to serve as a huge influence on many a musician and artist out there. Back in the summer and fall of 1966, they were busy writing and recording their debut offering titled Fresh Cream at Rayrik and Ryemuse studios in London with the core and majority of the LP being recorded at the latter premises.

      As to ‘I Feel Free’, the group’s manager, Robert Stigwood, decided not to include it on the British pressing of Fresh Cream, which came out in December 1966 on Reaction Records – a label that was in fact owned by Stigwood. Instead, it was released as a single with the song named ‘N.S.U.’ on the B-side. The superbly crafted composition did however make it onto the U.S. release of the debut album and serves as the opening track on that version of this bona fide classic, which is only fitting as it is 2 minutes and forty-eight seconds of hook-laden blues rock that will blow your socks off. Speaking of Stigwood (who also acted as producer), he and the trio did have fun at those sessions at Ryemuse, and as engineer John Iles recalled, “When we were recording tracks for the first Cream album, the band would often ambush producer Robert Stigwood between the studio and control room and try to push him into one of Ginger Baker’s drum cases” (ibid).

      The Who were ridiculously active back in their heyday, more specifically the latter half of the sixties and early seventies, and the year 1967 was no exception to that rule. The slightly frustrating thing about the short and energetic ‘Doctor, Doctor’, which was recorded on April 7, is that it wound up as the B-side on the ‘Pictures of Lily’ single, and while the latter is undoubtedly a much-loved and outstanding piece of work that rightfully belongs in the band’s setlist to this very day when they tour, the aforementioned ‘Doctor, Doctor’ is an overlooked gem that deserves more praise. Composed by John “The Ox” Entwistle, one could make the argument that the bassist did in fact write some of the act’s best and most enjoyable tunes. It crackles with energy and possesses a phenomenal drive, which makes it rather irresistible and infectious. Somewhat frustratingly for Entwistle, his name was misspelled in the songwriting credits, and as Paul Rees mentions in The Ox, the bassist was “wrongly credited by [the record label] Track for his B-side composition, ‘Doctor, Doctor’, as ‘John Entwhistle’” (106). Both ‘Pictures of Lily’ and ‘Doctor, Doctor’ were recorded in April of 1967, but the former was done at IBC and Pye Studios. As author Ian Snowball points out, that was a busy month for the group, so one can imagine that these recording sessions were quick and effective:


Towards the end of March, The Who flew to America to make their debut live performance on the Murray the K Show, which was filmed in New York. Wilson Picket and Cream also appeared on the same show. This was The Who’s first step into this brave new world and they followed those tentative steps up with many more confident ones. The Who returned to London for a brief visit and recording session of Pictures of Lily, before jetting off again to play some concerts in Germany. (102) 


64 South Molton Street is just a 2-minute walk from Bond Street Underground Station, so the next time you find yourself in Mayfair you might want to walk past the building while reflecting on the fact that Cream and The Who conjured up some of their rock ‘n’ roll magic in there.   


Works cited:

Massey, Howard. The Great British Recording Studios. Hal Leonard, 2015.

Rees, Paul. The Ox: The Last of the Great Rock Stars: The Authorised Biography of The Who’s John Entwistle. Constable, 2020.

Snowball, Ian. The Who in the City: Every Show, Every London Venue 1963-2016. Newhaven Publishing, 2016.


Other sources:



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