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The itinerant lifestyle of a rock musician means that, sadly, they're more at risk of being parted from their treasured possessions - left behind in taxis, flown to the wrong country or filched from backstage areas by unscrupulous thieves. When those items are notebooks full of ideas, or instruments with historical value, the loss is felt by us all.

Sometimes there is a happy ending - Patti Smith recently wept with joy when reunited with a bag of her personal effects that was missing for 36 years. Many other valuable rock artefacts are still at large. Here's an inventory of some of the most interesting items to be registered with music's lost property department.

1. Paul McCartney's Beatle bass

There aren't many musical instruments that truly attain iconic status, but Paul McCartney's left handed Höfner bass guitar is one of them. He first bought one in Hamburg in 1961, playing it through all the gruelling nights as The Beatles came together as a working unit, and on into the Cavern Club and their early recordings and British tours. He was given a newer version in 1964, so his original became a spare. He later had it resprayed, and it reappeared briefly when the band performed Revolution on David Frost's TV show in 1968, but it was stolen from the subsequent sessions for the Let It Be album and film, and has not been seen since.

And there's another valuable item of Macca lost property out there somewhere: the demo cassettes he made for the Wings album Band on the Run. As he recounts fully in this great BBC Radio 4 Mastertapes special (from 15 minutes in), Paul and his wife Linda were in Lagos, ready to start recording, and decided to walk back to their lodgings after a night out. A gang in a passing car pulled over and stole all of their possessions at knifepoint and the tapes went with them. He then had to remember his entire album from scratch.

2. Side 1 of Jimi Hendrix's second album

The 1967 sessions for The Jimi Hendrix Experience's Axis: Bold as Love were intense (as engineer Eddie Kramer illustrates in this chat with Mark Radcliffe). The band were tired, newly world famous, and their leader was becoming something of a perfectionist, while still bringing in gangs of mates to come and watch him work. The peak moment of chaos was probably when Jimi managed to leave the master tape of side one in the back of a London cab, necessitating a hurried (and to Hendrix's ears, slightly disappointing) overnight remix session. In order to salvage If 6 was 9, a slightly chewed-up tape recording made by bassist Noel Redding had to be ironed flat.

3. Jonny Greenwood's Telecasters

Radiohead's astonishing lead guitarist has not had the happiest time as the owner and operator of various Fender Telecasters. His first was bought from his music teacher when he was 16, used in the band's early days as On a Friday (discussed with Matt Everitt above) and is therefore a totemic instrument for Radiohead fans. It was stolen in Leeds during the band's first UK tour. Its replacements - including the specially modified Telecaster Plus he used to record almost all of their first two albums - were also half-inched when all of the band's gear was stolen in Denver in 1995.

According to Radiohead fansite The King of Gear, one of those stolen guitars - a spare - was eventually returned to Jonny in 2015, but those two key instruments from his musical development remain out there somewhere.

4. Alex Turner's lyric book

Towards the end of 2008, before Arctic Monkeys prepared to record their third album Humbug, Alex Turner's bag was stolen, containing a distinctive brown lyric book with a picture of a fox on the front. In it were all of his lyrical ideas, which he then had to try and recreate with the same subtle precision as his first drafts. He told the NME: "I went the morning after and brought a couple of Moleskines and sat around for a couple of hours trying to remember it all. But I found the whole process made me write more things, complete things that I wouldn't have otherwise."

A very similar thing happened to U2 just before recording their second album October in 1982, but the briefcase containing Bono's lyrics was eventually found and returned to him in 2004. So there's hope for that fox notebook yet.

5. Green Day's Cigarettes and Valentines

[WATCH] Green Day - Reading Festival highlights

It's an unlucky band indeed that has an entire album stolen before they can even put the finishing touches on it. Green Day are that band. Cigarettes and Valentines was intended to be the follow-up to their 2000 album Warning. It was recorded in 2003, but as it was nearing completion, the master tapes were stolen. At this point, the band decided to junk the whole project, and - fired up - wrote and recorded American Idiot, the album that sent their career skywards.

6. Rosanne Cash's guitar

This is a sad tale. During the 1970s, Rosanne Cash (interviewed here for Woman's Hour) performed using a 1940s acoustic guitar made by Martin. It was a gift from her father Johnny Cash, and as such had been inscribed in the sound hole with the message "To my daughter, Rosanne, love, Dad" and his signature. A valuable talisman for any country musician to carry. Unfortunately, she boarded a flight in 1979, and on arrival, discovered the guitar had not made the trip. And while there are other 1940s Martins to choose from, none have the personal blessing of The Man in Black.

7. A$AP Rocky's hat

[WATCH] A$AP Rocky - Radio 1's Big Weekend highlights

A$AP Rocky was performing live in Germany in 2013, wearing a cap that he was particularly fond of - "a one-of-a-kind hat... from back in the day," as he described it. However, some bright spark elected to whip it off his head mid-concert, and then refused to give it back even when Rocky stopped the show and barred people from leaving until it was returned. And this was after a similar incident in which he lost a $15,000 watch at a gig, but finished his gig. That's how much he loved that hat. Needless to say, the missing titfer did not reappear and Rocky duly cancelled the rest of the show. A man can only be pushed so far.

8. John Grant's laptop

[WATCH] John Grant - Blackbelt (Later Archive 2013)

John Grant was left distraught when some rotter stole his laptop from St George's church in Brighton in 2013 (a few days before this performance on Later...). John told BBC News at the time that the laptop "has my entire life on it. I have so many things on that computer which I need." As well as conjuring up the heartbreaking image of Grant being locked out of his eBay account, it's tantalising to wonder at the musical works in progress that may have been lost.

A similar thing happened to American producer Ryan Leslie, only his laptop was returned after he offered $1m reward in a YouTube video. Which may seem like a happy ending, but the hard drive had been corrupted, and there was a court battle over the reward money, which he also lost.

9. Guy Garvey's lyric book

[WATCH] Elbow - Fugitive Motel (Later Archive 2003)

In contrast to Alex Turner, Elbow's Guy Garvey had a tougher time of it when he mislaid his lyric book somewhere between Manchester and London in 2002, while working on their second album Cast of Thousands. Worst of all, it happened when his writing practise involved a certain amount of inebriated inspiration, as he explained to The Sun: "Some people say 'Can't you remember what you wrote and just re-write everything from memory?'. The thing is, I often write my lyrics when I’m drunk and can’t even remember them the morning after I've written them, never mind months later."

10. Sonic Youth's guitar collection

[LISTEN] Kim Gordon: The Experience Of Playing Live

Discovering that all of your equipment has been stolen is a devastating thing, but Sonic Youth felt the pain more than most. Their battery of guitars, which were taken when their trailer was broken into in 1999, weren't the kind of instruments you could easily replace. Each one had been heavily modified, with switches taken out, new pickups added, and in one notable case, a drumstick thrust under the strings. You'd think this would make them easy to track down, but so far only a couple of guitars have been returned.

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