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Charles Ward co-founder of the world famous Rockfield Studios has died

27 Jul 2022 4 minute read
Kingsley Ward (left) with his brother (Charles Ward) Credit: Rockfield

Rockfield Studios has announced that its co-founder Charles Ward has died.

Charles, with his brother Kingsley, created Rockfield Studios in Monmouthshire in the ’60s.

It quickly established itself as one of the most famous recording studios in the world, where some of the biggest names in rock ‘n’ roll have recorded.

A post on the Rockfield Studios Facebook page read:

‘It is with great sadness that we have to announce that Charles Ward, Kingsley’s brother and co-founder of Rockfield Studios, and founder of Monnow Valley Studios, died last night. Our thoughts are with his family Brigitte, Corrina and Charles. Rockfield Studios began in the early 60s after Charles and Kingsley’s band, The Charles Kingsley Creation, went to London where some of Charles’ songs where recorded by Joe Meek. To us, these photos sum the brothers up perfectly – wellies, guitars and recording! RIP Charles…. It’s rock ‘n’ roll man’

Tucked away in the verdant Welsh countryside, several miles from the border, Rockfield became known as a rock ‘n’ roll Camelot.

Amidst the rolling hills and the patchwork quilt fields of Monmouthshire it has acquired mythical status.

It has borne witness to the birth of legends and acted as a bystander to rock history.

In the six decades since its conception Rockfield, the residential recording studio which started out as a dairy farm, has become a holy grail for musicians.

This mysterious and magical mecca has acquired as many notorious stories as it has hit records. Its reputation for sonic alchemy is undeniable and the secrecy in which it protects the artists who have flocked there through the decades is legion.

It’s a place where dreams are fulfilled, nascent stars transformed into supernovas, and folklore sealed in the countryside under a starlit sky.

Described by Coldplay’s Chris Martin as “Musical Hogwarts” and by Liam Gallgher as “The Big Brother House with tunes”, the extraordinary story of Rockfield Studios was recently told in the film – ‘Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm’.

Liam Gallagher (Credit: Publicity image)

The movie chronicled the journey of maverick Welsh brothers Kingsley and Charles Ward, two idiosyncratic frontiersmen who created one of the world’s most famous recording studios.

Queen, Black Sabbath, Motörhead, The Charlatans, The Stone Roses and Oasis are among the many artists who have recorded at Rockfield

The story of Rockfield was forged in the late ‘50s, when Kingsley and his brother Charles, starting out in the family dairy farming business yearned to do something different – they wanted to make music.

Bewitched by Elvis Presley and the advent of rock ‘n’ roll led to them writing their own songs, forming their own group and staging their own gigs. They even released a couple of singles in the UK and US.

Taking their songs to London, they played them for EMI producer George Martin and impressed pioneering producer Joe Meek so much he offered them a deal – releasing a record in the US as The Thunderbolts and in the UK as the Charles Kinglsey Creation.

More crucially the pair had created their own Attic studio at Rockfield farm. Not having anywhere to record, they built a studio in the attic of their farmhouse and started recording with their friends. Unwittingly a legend was born.

Quickly gaining the patronage of legendary Welsh musicians such as Heather Jones, Tebot Piws, Dave Edmunds and Love Sculpture, Andy Fairweather Low and Amen Corner and influential rockers Budgie, the business escalated and with it a change of name – to Rockfield, named after the nearby village.

The rest, as they say, is history.

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 year ago

That is sad news, I used to hitch past on my way to Glasto hoping I’d get a lift with some top band in their van…I did get a lift with Fleetwood Mac once but that was in East London after a gig, no Pete Green though, he had his little red sports car…it was THE studio outside of London. imagine working with Lemmy…

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
1 year ago

Deepest sympathy to Anne, Kingsley and the girls. Getting fewer every day now.

Mick Tems
Mick Tems
1 year ago

RIP, Charles – he and Kinsley produced albums by a plethora of top bands at Rockfield, including Queen and their stellar hit Bohemian Rhapsody. Charles was one of the very best.

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