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Stewart, Rod

Rod Stewart

Singer

For the Record

The Jeff Beck Group

Stewarts Solo Career

The 1980s and 1990s

Selected discography

Sources

Roderick David Stewart was born in Highgate, North London, England on January 10, 1945. He was the typical working-class youth, the fifth child of Robert and Elsie Stewart. Stewart worked as a paper boy, picture framer, grave digger, and soccer player before becoming a rock and roll singing star. He was very talented at soccer, and he had a soccer apprenticeship at Brentford Football Club in his youth.

Stewart has been nominated for numerous awards over his lifetime. On December 31, 1977, he received the Best Solo Male Singer award from the Daily Mirror. In 1989 and 1991, Stewart was nominated for a Grammy award for best Male Pop Vocal, but didnt win. In Germany, he won many music and showbiz awards such as the Berolina in 1988, the Goldene Europa in 1991, and the Goldene Kamera in 1993. At the Canadian music awards, he was nominated for a Juno for International Entertainer of the Year in 1990. He was honored with the Longtime Achievement Award on the Brits in England in 1993. In 1994 Stewart was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for performing in front of the largest outdoor concert ever. It was located on the Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, attended by more than 4.2 million people on New Years Eve. Stewart was also inducted into the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His platinum albums include Gasoline Alley, Blondes Have More Fun, Camouflage, Storyteller: The Complete Anthology and, Vagabond Heart.

During the 1960s, The Beatles British Invasion had a tremendous influence on musicians everywhere, helping to springboard rock and rolls validity around the world. Music icons were created overnight, and the success of these British idols affected the business world that surrounded the music industry. Tons of money could be made overnight if the right package could be found and sold to a mass audience. At this time, corporations were starting to understand that the music industry could be run as a business and huge profits could be made. This climate affected many performers, especially Rod Stewart. The pressure for big music rewards during the sixties displaced many careers; however, Stewart made sure early in his that he was going to fit in with the times. The times were The Beatles. Although Stewart was actually born Scottish, he wanted to be perceived as British, due to the onslaught of the British Invasion. His package was going to be British, and with the strong influence of The Beatles, this turned out to be an understandable one.

He played guitar in a school skiffle group called The Kool Kats, for this was the first band he joined. His career really started when he was discovered after

For the Record

Born Roderick David Stewart in Highgate, North London, England on January 10, 1945; fifth child of Robert and Elsie Stewart; married actress Alana Hamilton, April 6, 1979 (marriage ended); married model Rachel Hunter, 1990; children: Kimberly and Sean (with Hamilton), Ruby (with ex-girlfriend Kelly Emberg), Renee and Liam (with Hunter).

Recorded first single, Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, 1964; joined Jeff Beck Group (JBG), 1967; made debut performance in U.S., 1968; performed with The Faces, 197075; Had first No. 1 single Maggie May, 1971; performed for TV special on Cinemax, 1984; released A Spanner in the Works, 1995; made Guinness Book of World Records in 1994 for performing in front of the largest outdoor concert; inducted into the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; platinum albums include Gasoline Alley (1970), Blondes Have More Fun (1978), Camouflage 1985, Storyteller: The Complete Anthology (1990), and Vagabond Heart (1991).

Awards: Best Solo Male Singer award from the Daily Mirror, 1977; Grammy award nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal, 1989 and 1991; Berolina award, 1988; Goldene Europa, 1991; Goldene Kamera, 1993; Juno award nomination for International Entertainer of the Year, 1990; Longtime Achievement Award in England, 1993.

Addresses: Record company Warner Bros., 3300 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91510.

seeing performances of The Yardbirds and The Rolling Stones. In January 1964, he was sitting on a Twickenham railway station platform in London playing the harmonica when he met Long John Baldrey. Baldrey saw him playing and approached Stewart to ask him if he would like to join his band. The rest was history. Stewart was excited to earn 35 pounds a week performing in a band. His first recording was on September 10, 1964 with the single, Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, written by Willie Dixon. He sang it with John Paul Jones who went on to perform with Led Zeppelin.

Stewart would eventually play with a number of other bands, including Jimmy Powell and the Dimensions, Long John Baldrys Hootchie Coochie Men, Brian Augers Steampacket, Mick Fleetwood, and Peter Greens Shotgun Express. Stewarts success at this time was that he blended in with the working-class reputation that the bands he performed with were noted for. He started to develop the image of the common mans rock star. He also started to develop comfort singing with groups, while learning that the music business emphasized business just as much as it did music.

The Jeff Beck Group

Stewarts big move was joining the Jeff Beck Group (JBG) in 1967. It was the typical British rock band. Stewart stated, That was probably the finest band I was ever in. Verygoodband: Ron Wood was on bass, Micky Waller on drums, Nicky Hopkins on piano, me singin and Jeff Beck on guitar. Thats a fairly good line-up.

The band made its stage debut in London, England on March 3,1967. Beck had a large reputation in Britain, and wanted to take his band on the road to the United States. They went on a six-week tour, and the results were fantastic. The band made their first debut in the U.S. at the Fillmore East in New York City on June 22, 1968. Atthe bands opening act in the U.S., Stewart had such a strong degree of stage fright that he sang the first song from behind the speaker cabinets at the back of the stage. However, Stewarts vocals won him standing ovations, and by the end of the tour he was well known by many U.S. rock fans, even though he wasnt yet as well known back home. It was with the Jeff Beck Group that he began a longstanding association with Ron Wood. The band got off to a bad start in London, but did better in the U.S. The JBG made headlines, on and off the stage, and they were often considered a superstar band. The music business was turning toward guitar stars, and the band was somewhat pushed in the direction of featuring more and more of Jeff Becks guitar talents, often at the expense of the rest of the band. The band started to feel the strains of competition, and it drove Stewart to stay with the band for just two albums. However, the separation was made much easier when the JBGs excellent bass player, Ron Wood, left and went to The Faces as lead guitarist. The Faces lead guitarist, Steve Marriott, left the group, and Ron Wood asked Stewart to replace him. Stewarts singing with The Faces eventually was the springboard for his solo career.

The Faces quickly experienced huge success. It was again another young British band with a working-class attitude, and the members had a close friendship and excellent chemistry when they performed. To Stewart, it felt like the early days of the Jeff Beck Group all over again. They were a close-knit group, so much so that their drinking excursions were somewhat misinterpreted by the public as being excessive. Stewart later said that the drinking was an image that was put upon us, nine times out of ten, we used to have a little drink before we went on, but I can honestly swear that the band was never that drunk. We mustve just left everybody with cuz we used to be so happy when we were playing, that we mustve just left everybody with that picture.

Stewarts Solo Career

It was at this time that Stewart developed a unique and flashy show act. He also started recording more solo songs, and this took its toll on the band. The more Stewart performed solo, the less it seemed The Faces recorded music. When he performed with the band, Stewart was just one of the rest of the members playing rock and roll. However, he was different when performing solo, and the two gold albums by now under his arm led to tensions among the band members. The Faces recordings were never as popular as Stewarts solo hits, and legal battles broke out between Mercury and Warner Records over the contract disputes that surfaced when Stewart played both solo and with the band. He was with The Faces from 1970 to 1975, and the bands first album with Stewart as lead singer was released on March 21, 1970. Their last show together was on October 12, 1975 at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, New York. During an odd time in his career, he actually recorded under the name of Python Lee Jackson when he recorded, In a Broken Dream/Doing Fine, and The Blues, in 1970.

In ten short years, Stewart became an international rock celebrity. His working-class image and songs of love, friendship, and fun times helped propel him to the top of rock. His sang his first No. 1 single, Maggie May on October 2, 1971, and his No. 1 album, Every Picture Tells a Story also made it to the top on both the UK and the U.S. charts. Maggie May stayed on top of both single charts for four weeks, and the Every Picture Tells A Story album stayed at No. 1 in the UK for three weeks and in the United States for six weeks.

He became one of the worlds most successful musical artists during the 1970s with his hits Never a Dull Moment (1972) and Sing It Again Rod (1973). His relationship with Ron Wood as his occasional co-writer, Ian McLagan from the Faces, Martin Quittenton on mandolin and acoustic guitar, and Mickey Waller on drums helped boost him to the top. He didnt receive a favorable response from his audience on Smiler (1974), so he changed his focus in 1975 to record the TomDowd produced Atlantic Crossing (1975) in the U.S. He also moved that same year to the United States to escape the high British income tax, and he soon became part of the Beverly Hills scene. It was at this time that Stewart started to achieve superstar status. His album included the hits Sailing and This Old Heart of Mine.

He also started his affair with Swedish film star Britt Ekland. The relationship ended in 1977 with a $15 million palimony suit that was settled out of court. The advent of punk and new wave made it difficult for Stewart to remain fashionable and relevant at the time. Stewart tried to adapt with Hot Legs in 1978 and Do You Think Im Sexy in 1979, but it didnt work. Critics were harsh on him about the latter song, and Stewart even admitted to its tastelessness. To make amends, Stewart has continued to donate the songs royalties to UNICEF.

The 1980s and 1990s

After an awkward period, by 1983 Stewart was back on top of the charts, especially in the U.S. With the eighties albums, he regained his former success. Stewart did a lot of touring at this time, and he even had a few of his own TV specials, like the 1984 Cinemax concert on November 27. He made a controversial tour series with Sony, for music executives were upset that Stewart made a deal with a blank tape manufacturer, given all of the losses album sales experienced due to people making unauthorized tapes of singles and albums.

In the middle eighties, some critics felt that Stewarts best performances were behind him. He told a Los Angeles Times reporter in 1984, I dont feel old. Im 39. I dont think Im getting too old for this. The body is in good shape, the bones dont creak. Im not ready for the rocking chair just yet. My face hasnt gone to pot, has it? Not too many lines, huh?ll know when its time to quit. When being on stage is embarrassing. I put a great deal of myself in a show. When I cant do that or it gets to be superficial, then its time to quit when I feel like some old guy, then its time to quit then maybe I can stay home and drink and chase women and do all the other evil things I supposedly do.

Soon after, three of his albums went platinum: Foolish Behaviour, Tonight Im Yours, and Outof Order. He also hit the top of the British charts with Baby Jane. He toured England more often and had many sell out concerts. His Every Beat of My Heart was very successful. Other top hits included Passion, Infatuation, My Heart Cant Tell You No, and Downtown Train.

His 1995 release A Spanner in the Works, was his first new studio album since 1993. The album was co-produced by Stewart, along with Trevor Horn, Andy Taylor, and Bernard Edwards. He teamed up with guitarists Jeff Golub, Andy Taylor, Michael Landau, and Robin LeMesurier, bassists Carmine Rojas and Bernard Edwards, drummer David Palmer, and keyboardist Kevin Savigar. In British terms, a spanner is a wrench, and a spanner in the works is an obstruction or hindrance. The new album comes after a very successful ten-month tour, and it was the first time that Stewart performed in the round. He performed with his own 12-piece band and a full 22-piece orchestra.

Selected discography

The Rod Stewart Album, Mercury, 1969.

Gasoline Alley, Mercury, 1970.

Every Picture Tells a Story, Mercury, 1971.

Never a Dull Moment, Mercury, 1972.

Sing It Again Rod, Mercury, 1973.

Smiler, Mercury, 1974.

Atlantic Crossing, Warner Bros., 1975.

A Night on the Town, Warner Bros., 1976.

The Best of Rod Stewart, Mercury, 1976.

The Best of Rod Steward vol. 2, Mercury, 1977.

Foot Loose and Fancy Free, Warner Bros., 1977.

Blondes Have More Fun, Warner Bros., 1978.

Greatest Hits, Warner Bros., 1979.

Foolish Behaviour, 1980.

Tonight Im Yours, Warner Bros., 1981.

Absolutely Live, 1982.

Body Wishes, 1983.

Camouflage, Warner Bros., 1984.

Rod Stewart, Mercury, 1986.

Out of Order, Warner Bros., 1988.

Storyteller: The Complete Anthology 19641990, Warner Bros., 1989.

Downtown Train: Selections from the Storyteller Anthology, Warner Bros., 1990.

Vagabond Heart. Warner Bros., 1991.

The Mercury Anthology, Mercury, 1992.

Unpluggedand Seated, Warner Bros., 1993.

A Spanner in the Works, Warner Bros., 1995.

Sources

Clifford, Mike, The Harmony Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, Salamander Books, 1988.

Edwards, John W., Rock NRoll 1970 Through 1979, McFarland & Company, 1993.

Hardy, Phil and Dave Laing, Encyclopedia of Rock, 1988 Edition.

Helander, Brock, The Rocks Whos Who, Schirmer Books, 1982.

Kocandrle, Mirek, The History of Rock and Roll, G.K. Hall & Company, 1988.

Pareles, Jon, The New Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll, Rolling Stone Press, 1995.

Rees, Dafydd & Luke Crampton, Rock Movers & Shakers, ABC-CLIO.

Stambler, Irwin, Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock, and Soul, (Revised Edition) St. Martins Press.

Additional information was obtained from Rod Stewart sites on the World Wide Web.

Bill Bennett

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Stewart, Rod

Rod Stewart

Singer

Roderick David Stewart was born in 1945 in Highgate, North London. He was a typical working-class youth, and was the fifth child of Robert and Elsie Stewart. Young Rod worked as a paper boy, picture framer, grave digger, and soccer player before becoming a rock and roll singing star. He was talented at soccer, earning a soccer apprenticeship at Brentford Football Club in his youth.

Stewart has been nominated for numerous awards over his lifetime. On December 31, 1977, he received the Best Solo Male Singer Award from the Daily Mirror. In 1989 and 1991, Stewart was nominated for Grammy Awards for Best Male Pop Vocal, and in Germany he won many music and showbiz awards such as the "Berolina" in 1988, the "Goldene Europa" in 1991, and the "Goldene Kamera" in 1993. At the Canadian Music Awards he was nominated for a Juno for International Entertainer of the Year in 1990, but lost to Melissa Etheridge. He was honored with the Longtime Achievement Award in England in 1993. In 1994 Stewart was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for performing in front of the largest outdoor concert ever. It was located on the Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, attended by more than 4.2 million people on New Year's Eve. Stewart was also inducted into the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His platinum albums include Gasoline Alley (1970), Blondes Have More Fun (1978), Camouflage (1985), Storyteller: The Complete Anthology (1990), Vagabond Heart (1991), It Had to Be You...The Great American Songbook (2002), As Time Goes By...The Great American Songbook, Volume 2 (2002), and Stardust...The Great American Songbook, Volume 3 (2004).

During the 1960s, the Beatles' British Invasion had a tremendous influence on musicians everywhere, and rock and roll's popularity skyrocketed around the world. Music icons were created overnight, and the success of these British idols affected the business world that surrounded the music industry. Corporations began to understand that the music industry was a huge business, and that enormous profits could be made. This climate affected many performers, especially Rod Stewart. The pressure for big music rewards during the 1960s displaced many careers, but Stewart made sure early in his career that he would fit in with the times.

Stewart played guitar in a school skiffle group called The Kool Kats, the first band he joined. His career really began in January of 1964, when he was discovered by Long John Baldry, who saw him playing the harmonica in a Twickenham railway station. Baldry approached Stewart to ask him if he would like to join his band. Stewart was excited to earn £35 a week performing. His first recording was in 1964, with the single "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl," written by Willie Dixon. He sang it with John Paul Jones, who went on to perform with Led Zeppelin.

Stewart went on to play with a number of other bands, including Jimmy Powell and the Dimensions, Long John Baldry's Hootchie Coochie Men, Brian Auger's Steampacket, Mick Fleetwood, and Peter Green's Shotgun Express. He successfully blended in with the working-class attitudes and images projected by the bands he performed with, and started to develop the image of a common man's rock star.

Stewart joined the Jeff Beck Group (JBG) in 1967, with Ron Wood on bass, Micky Waller on drums, Nicky Hopkins on piano, and Jeff Beck on guitar. The band made its stage debut in London, England, on March 3, 1967. Beck developed a good reputation in Britain, and decided to take his band on the road to the United States. They went on a six-week tour, making their United States debut at the Fillmore East in New York City on June 22, 1968. Stewart's vocals won him standing ovations, and by the end of the tour he had become well known by many American rock fans. JBG made headlines on and off the stage, and became known as a "superstar" band. The music business was turning toward guitar stars, and the band began to feature more and more of Jeff Beck's guitar talents, often at the expense of the rest of the band. The band started to feel the strains of competition, and Stewart remained with the band for just two albums. However, the separation was made much easier when the JBG's excellent bass player, Ron Wood, left and joined The Faces as lead guitarist. When The Faces' lead guitarist, Steve Marriott, left the group, Wood asked Stewart to replace him. Stewart's singing with The Faces eventually became the springboard for his solo career.

For the Record . . .

Born Roderick David Stewart on January 10, 1945, in Highgate, North London, England; son of Robert and Elsie Stewart; married Alana Hamilton (actress), April 6, 1979 (divorced); married Rachel Hunter (model), 1990 (divorced); children: Kimberly and Sean (with Hamilton), Ruby (with ex-girlfriend Kelly Emberg), Renee and Liam (with Hunter).

Recorded first single, "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl," 1964; joined Jeff Beck Group (JBG), 1967; made debut performance in U.S., 1968; performed with The Faces, 1970-75; first number one single, "Maggie May," 1971; performed for TV special on Cinemax, 1984; released A Spanner In The Works, 1995; inducted into Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; platinum albums include Gasoline Alley (1970), Blondes Have More Fun (1978), Camouflage (1985), Storyteller: The Complete Anthology (1990), Vagabond Heart (1991), It Had to Be You...The Great American Songbook (2002), As Time Goes By...The Great American Song book, Volume 2 (2002), and Stardust...The Great American Songbook, Volume 3 (2004).

Awards: Best Solo Male Singer Award, Daily Mirror, 1977; Berolina Award, 1988; Goldene Europa, 1991; Goldene Kamera, 1993; Longtime Achievement Award in England, 1993.

Addresses: Record company—Warner Bros., 3300 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91510, website: http://www.wbr.com.

The Faces quickly became successful. Another young British band with a working-class attitude, its members had a close friendship and excellent chemistry when they performed. To Stewart, it felt like the early days of the Jeff Beck Group all over again. During this time that he developed a unique and flashy show act. He began recording more solo songs, and the more he performed solo, the less it seemed The Faces recorded music. When he performed with the band, Stewart was just one of the band members playing rock and roll. However, he was different when performing solo, and the two gold albums now under his arm led to tensions among the band members. The Faces' recordings were never as popular as Stewart's solo hits, and legal battles broke out between Mercury and Warner Bros. Records over contract disputes that surfaced when Stewart played both solo and with the band. He remained with The Faces from 1970 to 1975. The band's first album with Stewart as lead singer was released in 1970, and their last show together was on October 12, 1975, at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, New York.

In ten short years Stewart became an international rock celebrity. He sang his first number one single, "Maggie May," on October 2, 1971, and his number one album, Every Picture Tells a Story, made it to the top on both the British and the American charts. "Maggie May" stayed on top of both singles charts for four weeks, and the album stayed at number one on the charts in both the United States and the United Kingdom for several weeks.

Stewart became one of the world's most successful musical artists during the 1970s, assisted by Ron Wood as his occasional co-writer, Ian McLagan from the Faces, Martin Quittenton on mandolin and acoustic guitar, and Mickey Waller on drums. He had hits with "Never a Dull Moment" (1972) and "Sing It Again Rod" (1973), and with the Tom-Dowd produced Atlantic Crossing (1975). He also moved that year to the United States, and soon became part of the Beverly Hills scene.

An affair with Swedish film star Britt Ekland ended in 1977 with a $15 million palimony suit that was settled out of court. The advent of punk and new wave made it difficult for Stewart to remain fashionable, and his attempts at relevancy with "Hot Legs" in 1978 and "Do You Think I'm Sexy" in 1979 were ultimately unsuccessful. But after an awkward period, Stewart was back on top of the charts by 1983, and did a lot of touring, also performing in television specials, like the Cinemax concert in November of 1984.

In the mid-1980s his five-year marriage to Alana Hamilton broke up, and some critics felt that Stewart's best performances were behind him. But Stewart told a Los Angeles Times reporter in 1984, "I don't feel old. I'm 39. I don't think I'm getting too old for this. The body is in good shape, the bones don't creak. I'm not ready for the rocking chair just yet."

In 1990 Stewart married supermodel Rachel Hunter, and his career enjoyed a boost with three platinum albums: Foolish Behaviour, Tonight I'm Yours, and Out of Order. He also hit the top of the British charts with "Baby Jane." He toured England more often, and enjoyed success with such singles as "Every Beat Of My Heart," "Passion," and "Downtown Train."

The 1995 release A Spanner In the Works was coproduced by Stewart, along with Trevor Horn, Andy Taylor, and Bernard Edwards. He teamed up with guitarists Jeff Golub, Andy Taylor, Michael Landau, and Robin LeMesurier, bassists Carmine Rojas and Bernard Edwards, drummer David Palmer, and keyboardist Kevin Savigar. The new album came after a successful ten-month tour, when he performed with his own 12-piece band and a full 22-piece orchestra.

Stewart continued to tour, but his wave of success seemed to be subsiding, and his marriage to Hunter fell apart. In 1998 everything changed. During a routine medical procedure, Stewart was diagnosed with cancer and required throat surgery. He had to completely rebuild his voice and take singing lessons again. His voice returned, but the register had changed.

It appeared as though Stewart's career was near its end. But he decided to try something completely different. He signed a new contract with J Records and released a selection of old standards called It Had to Be You...The Great American Songbook. It debuted at number four on the Billboard Top 200. "It's something I've always wanted to do," Stewart told the Kansas City Star. The success of the album was encouraging, and in 2003 he released As Time Goes By...The Great American Songbook, Volume 2. Both albums went double platinum. In 2004 he released Stardust...The Great American Songbook, Volume 3, and his career was once again skyrocketing. Stewart now performs one-half of a concert with the songs that brought him his initial success, and the other half with the old standards. In 2004 Stewart was selected by the Hollywood's Walk of Fame Committee to receive a star on Hollywood's famous Walk of Fame sidewalk.

Selected discography

The Rod Stewart Album, Mercury, 1969.

Gasoline Alley, Mercury, 1970.

Every Picture Tells a Story, Mercury, 1971.

Never a Dull Moment, Mercury, 1972.

Sing It Again Rod, Mercury, 1973.

Smiler, Mercury, 1974.

Atlantic Crossing, Warner Bros., 1975.

A Night on the Town, Warner Bros., 1976.

The Best of Rod Stewart, Mercury, 1976.

The Best of Rod Steward vol. 2, Mercury, 1977.

Foot Loose and Fancy Free, Warner Bros., 1977.

Blondes Have More Fun, Warner Bros., 1978.

Greatest Hits, Warner Bros., 1979.

Foolish Behaviour, Warner Bros., 1980.

Tonight I'm Yours, Warner Bros., 1981.

Absolutely Live, Warner Bros., 1982.

Body Wishes, Warner Bros., 1983.

Camouflage, Warner Bros., 1984.

Rod Stewart, Mercury, 1986.

Out of Order, Warner Bros., 1988.

Storyteller: The Complete Anthology 1964-1990, Warner Bros., 1989.

Downtown Train: Selections from the Storyteller Anthology, Warner Bros., 1990.

Vagabond Heart, Warner Bros., 1991.

The Mercury Anthology, Mercury, 1992.

Unplugged~and Seated, Warner Bros., 1993.

A Spanner in the Works, Warner Bros., 1995.

When We Were the New Boys, Warner Bros., 1998.

Every Beat of My Heart, Wea International, 2000.

Human, Atlantic, 2000.

It Had to Be You...The Great American Songbook, J Records, 2002.

As Time Goes By...The Great American Songbook, Volume 2, J Records, 2002.

Stardust...The Great American Songbook, Volume 3, J Records, 2004.

Sources

Books

Clifford, Mike, The Harmony Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, Salamander, 1988.

Edwards, John W., Rock 'N' Roll 1970 Through 1979, McFarland & Company, 1993.

Hardy, Phil and Dave Laing, Encyclopedia of Rock, 1988 Edition.

Helander, Brock, The Rock's Who's Who, Schirmer, 1982.

Kocandrle, Mirek, The History of Rock and Roll, G.K. Hall & Company, 1988.

Pareles, Jon, The New Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll, Rolling Stone Press, 1995.

Stambler, Irwin, Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock, and Soul (Revised Edition), St. Martin's Press, 1989.

Periodicals

America's Intelligence Wire, February 7, 2004; June 17, 2004.

Kansas City Star, March 15, 2004.

Time, February 9, 2004.

—Bill Bennett andSarah Parkin

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Stewart, Rod

ROD STEWART

Born: Roderick David Stewart; in Highgate, North London, England, 10 January 1945

Genre: Rock

Best-selling album since 1990: Unplugged . . . and Seated (1993)

Hit songs since 1990: "Rhythm of My Heart," "Have I Told You Lately," "Leave Virginia Alone"


Outstanding singing talent made Rod Stewart a major presence among contemporary rock singers; his charismatic appeal both on and off the stage made him a sex symbol. Stewart accomplished a successful transition from 1960s heavy rock into 1970s mainstream pop, although it came at some cost as he faced criticism for abandoning his talent to play too heavily on his heartthrob image. Nevertheless, in his later years Stewart found a more serious audience, fitting his very recognizable voice into a variety of adult-pop genres, including jazz standards.


From Hot Rod to Mod Rod

As the youngest child of five in a blue-collar London family, Stewart was a promising soccer player and nearly turned professional in the sport. Stewart also did a stint as a gravedigger while pursuing music with several local club bands. English blues legend Long John Baldry heard Stewart playing the harmonica in 1964 and asked him to join his band. He knocked around over the next two years

with Baldry's Steampacket, gaining a reputation as a talented rhythm and blues singer with a unique voice. In 1967, he and guitarist Ron Wood, who reluctantly switched to bass guitar, joined guitar virtuoso Jeff Beck to form the hard rock-based Jeff Beck Group. Beck's reputation was already huge, Stewart's was growing, and the same could be said for their egos. Stewart's vocals took a backseat to Beck's guitar playing, although the two albums they recorded, Truth (1968) and Beck-Ola (1969), are rock classics. The Jeff Beck Group gets credit for initiating rock's trend of pairing an energetic lead singer with a hot guitar player. While Beck recovered from a severe car accident in 1969, Stewart and Wood left the band to join Small Faces, whose name was shortened to Faces. They quickly earned a reputation as a working-class party rock band. Meanwhile, Stewart also embarked on a solo career, which he juggled while remaining in Faces. His third solo album, Every Picture Tells a Story (1971), contained the megahit, "Maggie May," and another hit, "I'm Losing You," and went to number one in both Britain and the United States. His next album, Never a Dull Moment (1972), contained another big hit, "You Wear It Well." Stewart had reached superstar status, but he stayed with Faces, recording five albums until he left them in 1976, by which time his solo career had overshadowed the band's.

Stewart's stage style is distinctive in its athletic and boundless energy. He weaves and bobs, electrifying audiences with a cocky strut, effusive handclaps, and a mischievous charm. He is one of an exclusive group of rock lead singersMick Jagger, Robert Plant, Roger Daltrey, Paul Rodgers, Steven Tyler, and the late Freddie Mercury among themwho combine visceral stage theatrics with throaty, expressive, yet tuneful vocals. Stewart's voice is bluesy and high with an inimitable raspy hoarseness. It is a consummate rock voice but also supports ballads such as "Maggie May" and "Tonight's the Night" as well as chart-topping pop/rock romps like "Hot Legs" and "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy."

After leaving Faces, Stewart also left England to escape the high taxes. He settled in Los Angeles, where his popularity grew, in part because of his jet-setting with movie stars and models. His next release, A Night on the Town (1976), went platinum, and his following release, Foot Loose and Fancy Free (1977), went triple platinum. These and subsequent albums put more emphasis on a pop sound and contained less of the blues/rock that earlier drew Stewart vast critical praise. He reached a celebrity zenith in 1979 with the brash, disco-influenced mega-hit, "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" from Blondes Have More Fun (1978).


Proving the Critics Wrong

Singers who made their mark in the golden era of rock/blues from 1965 to 1975 faced dizzying music trend changes over the next fifteen years: punk rock and disco in the mid 1970s; New Wave shortly after; the heavy-metal explosion of the 1980s; and synthesized pop and hip-hop of the late 1980s. Those who survived, as Stewart did, either continually reinvented themselves and/or fused with one or several of these styles. Stewart entered the 1980s by emphasizing more pop and new-wave styles into his sound. The album Tonight I'm Yours (1981) sold well, but Stewart's next efforts were not as successful and prompted talk that Stewart was getting too old for the "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" routine. By the middle 1980s he was mired in the first slump of his fruitful career. It revived in 1989 with his rendition of a Tom Waits song, "Downtown Train," which became a hit and brought Stewart his first Grammy Award nomination.

Stewart began the 1990s by releasing a career retrospective, Storyteller, the Complete Anthology: 19641990 (1990). The fifty-song, four-CD set reminded both fans and skeptics that he had amassed a formidable body of work and that he was more than just a celebrity pop star. The album also seemed to focus him in a more mature, seasoned vein, and his career began to edge forward. His next release, Vagabond Heart (1991), left behind some of the excess trappings of the previous decade and displayed Stewart once again as a masterful song interpreter. The album features his version of Van Morrison's ballad "Have I Told You Lately" and features guest work by Tina Turner on "It Takes Two."

In 1993, Stewart reunited with Ron Wood to take part in MTV's show Unplugged. The appropriately named album from the concert, Unplugged . . . and Seated (1993), was another boost for Stewart's career revival. It contains acoustic versions of Stewart's biggest hits as he and Wood sat on stools during the subdued concert setting; it was difficult, however, for the effervescent singer to remain seated through some of the numbers. His renditions of classics such as "Stay with Me," "Handbags and Gladrags," "Mandolin Wind," and his chestnut, "Maggie May," reminded anyone who may have forgotten that Stewart is an expressive song interpreter; the acoustic format allowed him to find even deeper meanings in his signature material. In addition, he and Wood appeared to have a rollicking good time, giving a scaled down glimpse of their camaraderie from their days in Faces. Unplugged . . . and Seated was both a critical and commercial successtriple platinumand the year following its release Stewart was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Stewart maintained an affinity to balladry with his sweet sandpapery vocals on his next studio release, Spanner in the Works (1995). The album's title is a British expression whose meaning is akin to the American saying, "a fly in the ointment." It contains the hit single, "Leave Virginia Alone," which was written by Tom Petty. Stewart also added Tom Waits's song "Hang on St. Christopher," Bob Dylan's "Sweetheart Like You," and the powerfully sweeping "This" to the album's twelve songs. Stewart followed the album's release with a world concert tour and brought a twenty-two-piece orchestra in addition to his twelve-piece band.

In an effort to link today's new generation rock with his Faces-era sound, Stewart recorded When We Were the New Boys (1998). The album took his audience in a direction they had not seen for years as he dropped the twenty-two-piece orchestra and rekindled the electricity of his earlier days. However, he returned to the adult-pop that had given him so much success already with the release of Human (2001).

In his quest to keep fostering success with warmer, more accessible music, Stewart recorded It Had to be You . . . The Great American Songbook (2002), a collection of American standards from the 1930s and 1940s. Stewart had secretly admired and longed to sing this classic music since his "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" days. Sales of the record have reached 3 million, and a sequel was planned for release in 2003.

Critics were tough on Stewart in the late 1970s for the alleged abandonment of his abundant skills as a song interpreter for blander commercial formats. Yet as other singers from his era keep trying to relight the flame of their early brilliance, Stewart seems content to let that go and mature gracefully. His talent has always been his ability to put a unique touch on any music that he sings.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

An Old Raincoat Won't Ever Let You Down (Mercury, 1969); Gasoline Alley (Mercury, 1970) Every Picture Tells a Story (Mercury, 1971); Never a Dull Moment (Mercury, 1972); Sing It Again, Rod (Mercury, 1973); Smiler (Mercury, 1974); Atlantic Crossing (Warner Bros., 1975); A Night on the Town (Warner Bros., 1976); Foot Loose & Fancy Free (Warner Bros., 1977); Blondes Have More Fun (Warner Bros., 1978); Tonight I'm Yours (Warner Bros., 1981); Camouflage (Warner Bros., 1984); Out of Order (Warner Bros., 1988); Storyteller, the Complete Anthology: 19641990 (Warner Bros., 1990); Vagabond Heart (Warner Bros., 1991); Unplugged . . . and Seated (Warner Bros., 1993); Spanner in the Works (Warner Bros., 1995); When We Were the New Boys (Warner Bros., 1998); Human (Atlantic, 2001); It Had to Be You . . . The Great American Songbook (J. Records, 2002). With the Jeff Beck Group: Truth (Epic, 1968); Beck-ola (Epic, 1969). With Faces: The First Step (Warner Bros., 1970); A Nod Is as Good as a Wink . . . to a Blind Horse (Warner Bros., 1971); Ooh la La (Warner Bros., 1973).

donald lowe

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Stewart, Rod

Rod Stewart

Singer, songwriter

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

For nearly two decades Rod Stewart has been one of the most popular male vocalist in contemporary music. From his blues-drenched days with the Jeff Beck Group to the hard-rockin boogie of the Faces and on to a middle-of-the-road solo career, Stewarts raspy vocals have graced over two dozen LPs.

Born into a blue-collar London family in 1945, he worked a number of odd jobs after this schooling, including a stint as a gravedigger and an apprenticeship with the Brentford soccer team, before embarking on a journey through Europe as a wandering minstrel. Shortly after learning to play the banjo from English folksinger Wizz Jones, Stewart was repatriated from Spain for being destitute. Once back in his homeland, Stewart landed a semi-pro singing gig with Jimmy Powell and His Five Dimensions. He recorded a version of Good Morning Little Schoolgirl for Decca in 1964 before teaming up with Long John Baldry in the Hoochie Coochie Men. After that he sang rhythm and blues with Brian Augers Steampacket while building a reputation as Rod the Mod for his stylish outfits. Stewart also recorded a few singles for the Immediate and Columbia labels and sang briefly with Shotgun Express, a band that featured Peter Green and Mick Fleetwood, later of Fleetwood Mac.

Stewarts first major exposure came in 1968, when he and Ron Wood joined forces with guitarist Jeff Beck, who had quite a following on both sides of the Atlantic from his groundbreaking work in the Yardbirds band. Stewart recorded two albums with Beck, Truth and Beck-Ola (he also continued doing session work with the Python Lee Jackson group), but his undeveloped vocals were overshadowed by Becks incredibly forceful playing. Bassist Wood told Guitar Player that Rod had to play down his role a lot. He was still looking for a role at the time too. He didnt quite know what he was trying to do about showmanship either. So whenever he was uncertain, he used to run behind an amplifier and hide.

In 1969 Beck fired Wood and drummer Mickey Waller. Wood hooked up with the Small Faces and when their singer, Steve Marriott, quit to join Humble Pie, he asked Stewart to take over the vocal chores. After shortening their name to the Faces (Kenny Jonesdrums; Ian MacLagankeyboards; Ronnie Lanebass; and Woodguitars), Stewart began recording with them on the Warner Bros. label while also signing a solo contract with Mercury Records. His debut LP, An Old Raincoat Wont Ever Let You Down (later retitled The Rod Stewart Album), featured acoustic folk songs, rockers, and self-penned originals. His sandpapery voice showed the heavy influence of Sam Cooke and Ramblin Jack Elliott, especially on the ballads. The

For the Record

Full name, Roderick David Stewart; born January 10, 1945, in North London, England; father owned a news agents shop in Holloway, England; married Alana Collins, April 6, 1979 (divorced, 1984); children: Alana, Sean; (with Kelly Emberg) Ruby Rachel.

Worked at a variety of jobs before musical career, including gravedigger and soccer player; sang with Jimmy Powell and His Five Dimensions, c. 1964; released first record, 1964; later sang with Long John Baldrys Hoochie Coochie Men, Brian Augers Steampacket, and Shotgun Express; singer with the Jeff Beck Group, 196869; singer with the Faces, 196976; also appeared and recorded as solo performer, 1969; songwriter.

Awards: Named rock star of the year by Rolling Stone magazine, 1971; Tonights the Night selected single of the year in the Rolling Stone Critics Poll, 1976.

Addresses: Officec/o Bill Gaff Management, Hotel Navarro, Suite 705 112, New York, NY 10019. Record company Warner Bros. Records, 3300 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91510.

Faces debut, on the other hand, gave Stewart a chance to cut loose on bluesy rock & roll.

At first, Stewart was more successful in the United States. His second LP, Gasoline Alley, featured Cut Across Shorty and Country Comfort, which furthered his image as the Everyman who could display his emotions. It was 1971s Every Picture Tells A Story, however, that made him a superstar. With the beautiful, autobiographical single Maggie May, he had both the number 1 album and number 1 single in the U.S. and the U.K., the first time ever in pop history. The LP also included Mandolin Wind and a smoking version of the Temptations Im Losing You. Of the title cut, Greil Marcus wrote in Rolling Stone, Every Picture Tells A Story is the greatest rock & roll recording of the last ten years. John Lennon once said he wanted to make a record as good as Whole Lot of Shakin Going On; Rod Stewart did it. You Wear It Well, from his follow-up, Never A Dull Moment, reached number 13 as the LP went gold.

Meanwhile, the Faces were chugging along merrily in their Scottish tartans, gaining noteriety as a party band. Stewart yearned to just be one of the boys and despised it when they were billed as Rod Stewart and the Faces. Their concerts were sloppy good times that earned them the title of the poor mans Rolling Stones. Ronnie Lane was replaced by Frees bassist, Tetsu, in 1973 as Warner Bros, and Mercury battled in court over Stewarts contract. Sing It Again Rod, a compilation of previous releases, was issued just prior to his final Mercury outing, 1974s Smiler, which featured two Sam Cooke tunes, Bring It On Home To Me and You Send Me.

By then Wood had begun a solo career of his own and the future of the Faces looked uncertain. Stewart had publicly slammed their last studio effort together, Ooh La La, while Atlantic Crossing was his first solo LP not to feature any of the Faces. Reports of Stewart going Hollywood and his stormy relationship with actress Britt Eklund furthered the distance between him and the group. Recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Atlantic Crossing went gold, containing one fast side and one slow side, which featured Sailing, a number 1 hit in England (the country he began avoiding because of their high taxes). On December 18, 1976, Stewart announced that he would play solo exclusively and the breakup of the Faces quickly followed. Wood had been juggling his time between them and the Stones, performing with them on their 1975 tour and later becoming a permanent member.

Stewarts career continued to soar but critics and fans who knew his rock side were disappointed with his light-weight solo outings. Rarely has a singer had as full and unique a talent as Rod Stewart, stated Marcus in The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll. Rarely has anyone betrayed his talent so completely. Regardless, his 1976 LP, A Night On The Town, gave Stewart another number 1 hit, Tonights The Night, staying on the U.S. charts for eight weeks. But syrupy ballads like the Cat Stevens composition The First Cut Is The Deepest and The Killing Of Georgie had no place in the world of punk rock, whose disciples denounced Stewart and his rich lifestyle.

Instead of turning around and showing the New Wavers how to burn, Stewart assembled a Face-less band that played less rock than his old mates. Besides that, they scored a number 1 disco hit with Do Ya Think Im Sexy from the Blondes Have More Fun LP. Stewart continued in the mellow vein and scored more hits with Passion and Young Turks on the album Tonight Im Yours. He employed Jeff Beck in 1984 for Camouflage, which supplied three more top ten tunes: Infatuation, Some Guys Have All The Luck, and Love Touch. Beck was to have played on the tour to support the record but Stewart only wanted to give the guitarist fifteen minutes of stage time. He did return the favor by singing on Becks album a year later, adding gut-wrenching vocals to People Get Ready.

Selected discography

Solo LPs

An Old Raincoat Wont Ever Let You Down, Mercury, 1969 (later retitled The Rod Stewart Album ).

Gasoline Alley, Mercury, 1970.

Every Picture Tells A Story, Mercury, 1971.

Never A Dull Moment, Mercury, 1972.

Sing It Again, Rod, Mercury, 1973.

Smiler, Mercury, 1974.

Atlantic Crossing, Warner Bros., 1975.

The Best of Rod Stewart, Mercury, 1976.

The Best of Rod Stewart, Vol. II, Mercury, 1976.

A Night on the Town, Warner Bros., 1976.

Foot Loose & Fancy Free, Warner Bros., 1976.

Blondes Have More Fun, Warner Bros., 1978.

Greatest Hits, Vol. I, Warner Bros., 1979.

Tonight Im Yours, Warner Bros., 1981.

Absolutely Live, Warner Bros., 1981.

Camouflage, Warner Bros., 1984.

Oui of Order, Warner Bros., 1988.

With Jeff Beck Group

Truth, Epic, 1968.

Beck-Ola, Epic, 1969.

With Jeff Beck

Get Workin, Epic, 1985.

With the Faces

The First Step, Warner Bros., 1970.

Long Player, Warner Bros., 1971.

A Nod Is As Good As A WinkTo A Blind Horse, Warner Bros., 1971.

Ooh La La, Warner Bros., 1973.

Coast to Coast/Overture & Beginners (live), Mercury, 1973.

Snakes and Ladders/The Best of Faces, Warner Bros., 1976.

Sources

Books

Christgau, Robert, Christgaus Record Guide, Ticknor & Fields,1981.

Dalton, David, and Lenny Kaye, Rock 100, Grosset & Dunlap, 1977.

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, compiled by Nick Logan and Bob Woffinden, Harmony, 1977.

The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll, edited by Jim Miller, Random House/Rolling Stone Press, 1976.

The Rolling Stone Interviews, by the editors of Rolling Stone magazine, Random House/Rolling Stone Press, 1981.

The Rolling Stone Record Guide, edited by Dave Marsh with John Swenson, Random House/Rolling Stone Press, 1979.

Periodicals

Guitar Player, December, 1975.

Guitar World, January, 1985.

Rolling Stone, November 6, 1975; January 29, 1976; April 22, 1976; August 26, 1976; January 13, 1977; February 10, 1977; December 15, 1977; December 29, 1977; April 6, 1978; February 8, 1979.

Calen D. Stone

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Stewart, Rod

Rod Stewart

Singer

Born January 10, 1945, in London, England; married Alana Hamilton (a model), 1979 (divorced, 1984); married Rachel Hunter (a model), 1991 (divorced, 2006); children: Kimberly, Sean (from first marriage), Ruby (with Kelly Emberg), Renee, Liam (from second marriage), Alastair (with Penny Lancaster).

Addresses: Record company—J-Records, 745 Fifth Ave., 6th Flr., New York, NY 10151. Website—http://www.rodstewart.com.

Career

Worked as apprentice for Brentford Football Club, early 1960s; toured with folk singer Wizz Jones; sang in Jimmy Powell & the Five Dimensions, the Hoochie Coochie Men (later Steampacket), and Shotgun Express, mid-1960s; lead singer of the Jeff Beck Group, 1968–69; released first solo album, The Rod Stewart Album, 1969; joined the Small Faces (later the Faces), 1969; performed on MTV Unplugged, performance released on CD as Unplugged … And Seated, 1993; released Human, 2001; released Great American Songbook series, 2002–05; released Still the Same … Great Rock Classics of Our Time, 2006.

Awards: Grammy Award for best traditional pop vocal album, Recording Academy, for Stardust … The Great American Songbook Volume III, 2004.

Sidelights

Rod Stewart, perhaps the most popular British rocker of the 1970s, has enjoyed platinum record sales, seemingly permanent celebrity, an equally permanent place on classic rock radio, wealth, and the company of countless beautiful young women. Yet he has also suffered a 30-year assault on his reputation from the music press, eternally disappointed that he forsook his early '70s blend of rowdy rock-and-roll with rough, poignant folk music for a slick pop sound, heartstring-snapping ballads, and lyrics that celebrate his own playboy decadence.

At his best, wrote critic Jon Pareles in the New York Times, Stewart is "one of rock's more appealing personas—a rueful working-class rake, well aware of love's pratfalls but sincere when he pledges his devotion." Also key to his appeal is his distinctive raspy voice, which John Rockwell, another New York Times critic, described as a "whisky tenor" that combines "manly toughness with aching emotional pain and the sexuality that high voices have always symbolized."

Born in a working-class part of London to a Scottish family, Stewart took up music as a young man in the early 1960s after working as an apprentice for the Brentford Football Club. He toured Europe with Wizz Jones, a folk singer. Over the next few years, he sang in several short-lived British R&B and blues-rock bands, including Jimmy Powell & the Five Dimensions, the Hoochie Coochie Men (which, after renaming itself Steampacket, toured with the Rolling Stones), and Shotgun Express.

Stewart's first moment of rock stardom came as lead singer of the Jeff Beck Group, named after the band's guitarist, formerly of the mid-'60s British blues-rock band the Yardbirds. Stewart's wildly emotional vocals fit well with Beck's heavy, dramatic guitar work. Together, on the albums Truth and Beck-Ola—"exercises in brilliant bombast," as Rolling Stone's biography of Stewart puts it—they helped establish the heavy, pre-metal, blues-based rock sound that Jimi Hendrix and Cream were also exploring and that would soon make Led Zeppelin famous.

In 1969, as Beck recovered from a car accident, Stewart and Beck's bass player, Ron Wood, left the band. Together, they recorded Stewart's acclaimed solo debut, The Rod Stewart Album. (That was its American title; it was named An Old Raincoat Won't Let You Down in Great Britain.) The album combined R&B and rock sounds with Stewart's folk roots to create a semi-acoustic rock and roll sound. Covers ranged from "Street Fighting Man," a then-recent Rolling Stones hit, to "Dirty Old Town," a classic folk song by Scottish songwriter Ewan MacColl. The songs Stewart wrote himself were poignant character sketches of misfits and people down on their luck.

The combination of Wood's slide guitar and Stewart's gravelly voice was even more successful than Beck and Stewart's collaboration. Stewart and Wood soon joined the band the Small Faces, whose lead singer had just left. After putting out their first album, First Step, in the spring of 1970, which established them as a sloppy but fun band with a heavy Rolling Stones influence, the group renamed itself the Faces.

For the next four years, Stewart and Wood worked together on roughly two albums a year, both Stewart albums and Faces albums. On his second solo album, Gasoline Alley, released in the fall of 1970, Stewart began to establish a reputation as an excellent interpreter of Bob Dylan songs by covering Dylan's folk song "Only A Hobo." The Stewart-Wood collaboration peaked in the year 1971, with Stewart's third solo album, Every Picture Tells A Story, which hit number one in America and Britain and made Stewart famous. It included Stewart's best-known song, still played relentlessly on classic rock stations: "Maggie May." The song tells the story of a young man trying to tear himself away from a consuming romance with a more mature woman. Stewart has said it was based on an actual affair he had with an older woman when he was 15 or 16. Also in 1971, the Faces released perhaps their best two albums, Long Player and A Nod Is as Good as a Wink … To a Blind Horse, which reached the top ten in America and Britain and included their only American hit, "Stay With Me."

The success of Stewart's solo career began to create tension in the Faces as they toured in early 1972. His new solo album, Never A Dull Moment, lived up to its title by ranging from a cover of soul singer Sam Cooke's euphoric "Twistin' the Night Away" to the lustful "Italian Girls." The Faces recorded one more studio album, Ooh La La, in 1973 and quarreled during a difficult tour of the United States, documented on the live album Coast to Coast: Overture and Beginners. The band, estranged by early 1974, officially broke up in 1975, and Wood went on to join the Rolling Stones.

Rock critics began to turn against Stewart with the release of his next solo album, Smiler, in 1974. Though recorded in the same style as his previous efforts, it showed he was in something of a rut. It included a strong cover of Dylan's "Girl from the North Country," but also an ill-advised cover of Aretha Franklin's song "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," which Stewart changed to "Natural Man." Still, the album was a hit.

In 1975, Stewart began a romance with Britt Ekland, a Swedish actress. He also decided to move to the United States because of a dispute with the British government over his taxes. His next album, Atlantic Crossing, commemorated his move and marked his transition from rock toward pop music. A Night on the Town from 1976, had a similar slick pop sound, but also featured ambitious songwriting. Stewart tipped his hat to his gay fans with "The Killing of Georgie (Part I and II)," a narrative about the murder of a gay friend of his, and covered folk singer Cat Stevens' "The First Cut is the Deepest."

As Stewart became famous for his wild lifestyle and many actress and model girlfriends, his album titles turned cheeky, playing up his playboy image. Albums such as Foot Loose & Fancy Free and Blondes Have More Fun, released in 1977 and 1978, sold millions of copies. On the latter, Stewart embraced disco. Critics reacted badly, especially hating the single "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?"—but it became one of Stewart's biggest pop hits, hitting number one in 1979. Around this time, he married model Alana Hamilton; they went on to have two children, Kimberly and Sean.

In 1981, on Tonight I'm Yours, Stewart updated his sound with then-popular new wave and synth pop styles. But his career took a downturn soon after, both in record sales and musical quality. He released a few singles during the 1980s, such as "Lost in You" and a cover of Dylan's "Forever Young," that were well-crafted enough to hit the pop charts but soft enough to disappoint old fans. A 1984 profile in People found him going through a bitter divorce from his first wife, Alana, after five years of marriage, and becoming more frugal after years of outrageous spending. "Gone are the fleet of nine sports cars, the troop of retainers," reported Todd Gold of People. Not gone were Stewart's playboy antics; at 39, he was dating a 25-year-old model, Kelly Emberg, and several other women. (He eventually had a daughter, Ruby, with Emberg.) He briefly reunited with Beck for what was to be a full tour, but Beck soon dropped out after—in the opinion of Stewart and his band—dragging down the show with extremely long guitar solos.

Stewart was 39 when Gold profiled him for People. He was about to bring his 80-year-old father along on tour with him for two weeks, which made him think about what it would be like to be that old. "I suppose it'd be hard to sing rock 'n' roll at 80," he told Gold with a laugh. "But you've got no idea what it's like to be up there in front of 20,000 screaming fans. It's a hard thing to give up. It's really like a drug."

A comeback began in 1989 when Stewart, embracing the advent of CDs and the trend of career-spanning box sets, released the four-disc set Storyteller. It included a cover of the Tom Waits song "Downtown Train," which became a major hit. He showed a partial return to rock form with 1991's Vagabond Heart, which included a duet with soul star Tina Turner and contributions from Robbie Robertson, former leader of The Band (Dylan's mid-'60s backup group, which had become popular in its own right in the 1970s). He reunited with Wood for his appearance on the television show MTV Unplugged, which spawned the album Unplugged … and Seated. The well-received performance included many of his best songs from the early '70s. Meanwhile, his love life was on the upswing too; in 1991, he married another model, Rachel Hunter, who was in her early 20s, half his age. The couple had a daughter, Renee, and a son, Liam.

With the 1998 album When We Were the New Boys, whose title clearly points back to his rock roots, Stewart pleased rock and roll fans for the first time in years. The album included a strong cover of "Cigarettes and Alcohol" by Oasis, one of the top British rock bands of the 1990s. But he quickly hit another rough patch in his career and romantic life. In 1999, he and his wife separated. Stewart, then 54, cheered himself up by dating another model, Tracy Tweed, 34, followed by 29-year-old underwater photographer Robbie Lauren, followed by Penny Lancaster, also 29 and both a photographer and a lingerie model. Thyroid surgery in 2000 lowered his voice slightly, and his 2001 album Human, an attempt to cross over to urban and contemporary pop, bombed commercially and was savaged by critics.

To revive his career, Stewart tapped the songwriting of a much earlier generation. Starting with It Had to Be You and continuing through three more albums, Stewart recorded versions of classics from the Great American Songbook, a term for the best American pop music of the first half of the 20th century, including the work of such acclaimed songwriters as George Gershwin and Cole Porter. The albums, released between 2002 and 2005 and collected into a box set, became hits on adult contemporary charts. Stewart had not expected their commercial success. "It was meant to be a labor of love, something I was doing for a laugh," he told Rebecca Winters of Time, "and here we are going double platinum."

Some critics recoiled, though, saying Stewart lacked the vocal talent to interpret the nuanced old standards. Chuck Arnold of People proclaimed the first two albums "lame." Ty Burr of Entertainment Weekly called the whole series "sacrilegious." Stewart seemed unfazed. In March of 2005, at age 60, he proposed to Lancaster, now 34, while they were in at the top of Paris' Eiffel Tower. That December, Lancaster gave birth to Stewart's sixth child, Alastair. In March of 2006, Stewart and Hunter finalized their divorce after a seven-year legal battle.

In 2006, Stewart's career took another new turn. He encouraged celebrity Paris Hilton to record his song "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy" for her first album, and she did. It was released on her first album in August of 2006. Meanwhile, Stewart announced the October of 2006 release of his new album, Still the Same … Great Rock Classics of Our Time, which includes rock ballads such as Dylan's "If Not For You," Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Have You Ever Seen the Rain," and the title track, Bob Seger's "Still the Same." The album was predicted to be a return to form that would please both consumers and hard-to-please critics.

Selected discography

Solo

The Rod Stewart Album, Mercury, 1969.
Gasoline Alley, Mercury, 1970.
Every Picture Tells A Story, Mercury, 1971.
Never A Dull Moment, Mercury, 1972.
Smiler, Mercury, 1974.
Atlantic Crossing, Warner Bros., 1975.
A Night on the Town, Warner Bros., 1976.
Foot Loose & Fancy Free, Warner Bros., 1977.
Blondes Have More Fun, Warner Bros., 1978.
Foolish Behaviour, Warner Bros., 1980.
Tonight I'm Yours, Warner Bros., 1981.
Absolutely Live, Warner Bros., 1982.
Body Wishes, Warner Bros., 1983.
Camouflage, Warner Bros., 1984.
Every Beat of My Heart, Wea International, 1986.
Rod Stewart, Warner Bros., 1986.
Out of Order, Warner Bros., 1988.
Storyteller (box set), Warner Bros., 1989.
Vagabond Heart, Warner Bros., 1991.
Unplugged … And Seated, Warner Bros., 1993.
Spanner in the Works, Warner Bros., 1995.
When We Were the New Boys, Warner Bros., 1998.
Human, Atlantic, 2001.
It Had to Be You … The Great American Songbook, J-Records, 2002.
As Time Goes By … The Great American Songbook, Vol. 2, J-Records, 2003.
Stardust … The Great American Songbook, Vol. 3, J-Records, 2004.
Thanks for the Memory … The Great American Songbook, Vol. 4, J-Records, 2005.
The Great American Songbook Box Set, J-Records, 2005.
Still the Same … Great Rock Classics of Our Time, J-Records, 2006.

The Faces

First Step (as the Small Faces), Mercury, 1970.
Long Player, Mercury, 1971.
A Nod Is as Good as a Wink … To a Blind Horse, Mercury, 1971.
Ooh La La, Mercury, 1973.
Coast to Coast: Overture and Beginners, Mercury, 1974.

Jeff Beck Group

Truth, Epic, 1968.
Beck-Ola, Epic, 1969.

Sources

Periodicals

Billboard, November 12, 2005.

Entertainment Weekly, June 11, 1993; February 27, 2004, p. 96; November 12, 2004, p. 122.

Europe Intelligence Wire, July 3, 2003.

New York Times, September 29, 1988, p. C19; December 10, 1989, p. A33.

People, August 13, 1984, p. 34; June 8, 1998, p. 43; August 9, 1999, p. 10; November 24, 2003, p. 44; November 22, 2004, p. 49; June 13, 2005, p. 124; November 12, 2005, p. 37.

Time, February 9, 2004, p. 85.

Times (London, England), June 26, 2006.

Online

"Rod Stewart," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (August 13, 2006).

"Rod Stewart: Biography," Rolling Stone, http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/rodstewart/biography (August 13, 2006).

"Rod Stewart Returns to Rock On New Album,"Billboard, http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002877636 (August 13, 2006).

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Stewart, Rod

Stewart, Rod

Stewart, Rod, international star vocalist; b. High-gate, London, England, Jan. 10, 1945. A one-time member of several of the seminal British R&B-style bands of 1963–1966, Rod Stewart first gained recognition as the vocalist for the Jeff Beck Group in the late 1960s. Pursuing a solo recording career while performing and recording with the Faces, one of Britain’s finest rock bands of the 1970s, Stewart quickly eclipsed the group’s popularity with his Gasoline Alley album, arguably his finest, followed by Every Picture Tells a Story and the smash hit “Maggie May.” After four hitless years in the early 1970s, Stewart became an international star, regaining his commercial success, if little critical acclaim, by recording middle-of-the-road pop and disco material. He has managed to maintain success on the charts through the 1990s, despite his often uneven work on record and stage.

Rod Stewart, born to Scottish parents, attended the same secondary school as did Ray and Dave Davies (later of the Kinks), but dropped out of school at age 16. After working a variety of mundane jobs, he learned guitar and performed as a street singer in Spain and France for a number of months. Upon returning to England, he joined Jimmy Powell and the Five Dimensions as harmonica player; in 1963–1964 he led the group. In 1964 he recorded “Good Morning Little School Girl” for Decca on his own, and joined the R&B band the Hoochie Coochie Men, sharing lead vocals with British blues revivalist “Long” John Baldry. When the group disbanded in autumn 1965, Stewart joined Baldry’s Steampacket—which featured Brian Auger and Julie Driscoll—for a year before joining Shotgun Express, whose members included Peter Green and Mick Fleetwood (later of Fleetwood Mac).

In early 1967 Rod Stewart helped form the Jeff Beck Group with former Yardbirds lead guitarist Jeff Beck and bassist-guitarist Ron Wood. Their two albums, Truth and Beck-ola, served as foundations of the British blues movement and brought Stewart his first recognition. They became widely popular in the United States by means of numerous tours over the next two years, but the group fragmented in mid-1969.

Already signed as a solo artist to Mercury Records, Rod Stewart purused a parallel career with the Faces, which evolved out of the Small Faces and whose leader, Steve Marriott, had left the group to form Humble Pie with Peter Frampton. Even before the Faces had recorded their debut album for Warner Bros., Mercury issued The Rod Stewart Album, which contained Mike D’Abo’s “Handbags and Gladrags” and the Rolling Stones’ “Street Fighting Man.” Recording his early solo albums with Wood, Ian McLagan, guitarist Martin Quittenton, and drummer Mickey Waller, Stewart overshadowed the career of the Faces beginning with 1970’s Gasoline Alley. The album included Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s “Country Comfort,” Stewart’s own “Lady Day,” and the title cut, by Stewart and Wood.

Developing an energetic and flashy stage act through successful American tours with the Faces beginning in 1970, Rod Stewart became an international star with Every Picture Tells a Story and its classic top-hit single, “Maggie May,” written by Stewart and Quittenton. The album also included Stewart’s beautiful “Mandolin Wind” and the major hit “(I Know) I’m Losing You,” a near-smash hit for the Temptations in 1966–1967. After scoring a major hit with Wood and Stewart’s “Stay with Me” by the Faces, Stewart’s Never a Dull Moment yielded a major hit with Quittenton and Stewart’s “You Wear It Well” and a moderate hit with Jimi Hendrix’s “Angel”; it also contained “I’d Rather Go Blind.” Stewart later became embroiled in legal disputes between Mercury and Warner Bros, that saw his next album, Smiler, delayed nearly a year. Ron Wood toured America with the Rolling Stones in 1975, and following the Faces’ subsequent U.S. tour, Rod Stewart announced his departure from the group in December.

Signing with Warner Bros, in spring 1975 and moving to Los Angeles, Rod Stewart recorded Atlantic Crossing in Muscle Shoals, Ala. The album seemed to mark a deterioration in the songwriting of Stewart. Nonetheless, his next album, A Night on the Town, yielded a top hit with “Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)” and major hits with Cat Stevens’s “The First Cut Is the Deepest” and the poignant “The Killing of Geòrgie.” Stewart conducted a massive worldwide tour in 1976–1977. His next album, Foot Loose and Fancy Free, produced the smash hit “You’re in My Heart (The Final Acclaim)” and major hits with “I Was Only Joking” and the disco-style “Hot Legs.” By then an international celebrity, Stewart again mounted a marathon world tour in support of Blondes Have More Fun, which included the facile top pop and smash R&B hit “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” and the major pop hit “Ain’t Love a Bitch.”

Foolish Behaviour continued Rod Stewart’s reliance on formulaic songs and confirmed his artistic decline. Although his live performances devolved into self-parody, he nonetheless remained a popular concert attraction and singles artist. “Passion” and “Young Turks” became smash hits, and “Tonight I’m Yours (Don’t Hurt Me)” and “Baby Jane” became major hits. He seemed to pull out of his descent into mediocrity with 1984’s Camouflage and resulting tour, thanks to his reunion with Jeff Beck, but the guitarist rescued only “Infatuation” from the album (it produced a second near-smash with the Persuaders’ “Some Guys Have All the Luck”), and he left the tour after only seven shows. The banal love song “Love Touch” became a smash hit when used as the theme to the movie Legal Eagles. Out of Order (1988) yielded four major hits: “Lost in You,” “Forever Young,” “My Heart Can’t Tell Her No” (a smash hit), and “Crazy About Her”; the album went on to sell two million copies.

The Rod Stewart anthology set Storyteller produced smash pop and top easy-listening hits with Tom Waits’s “Downtown Train” and the Motown standard “This Old Heart of Mine,” recorded with Ronnie Isley. He payed further tribute to Motown with the near-smash “The Motown Song” from Vagabond Heart, which also produced the smash hit “Rhythm of My Heart” and a major hit with Robbie Robertson’s “Broken Arrow.” In 1993 Stewart toured with a large string section and performed on the MTV series Unplugged, reuniting with ex-bandmate Ron Wood. The album derived from the MTV performance, Unplugged … and Seated, yielded a smash pop and top easy-listening hit with Van Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately” and a major pop hit with Tim Hardin’s “Reason to Believe,” a song he originally recorded in 1971. In 1994 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Stewart’s free 1994–1995 New Year’s concert at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, drew an estimated 3.5 million fans, establishing an attendance record for an open-air concert. A Spanner in the Works (1995) followed the semiacoustic style of the MTV show and was his final album for Warner Bros.

Discography

ROD STEWART AND STEAMPACKET : R. S. and Steampacket (1976). the jeff beck group : Truth (1968); Beck-ola (1969); Truth/Beck-ola (1975). THE FACES :First step (1970); Long Player (1971); A Nod Is as Good as a Wink … To a Blind Horse (1971); Ooh La La (1973); Snakes and Ladders: Best (1976). rod stewart and the faces : Coast to Coast: Overture and Beginners (1973); R. S. and the Faces (1975). rod stewart : The R. S. Album (1969); Gasoline Alley (1970); Every Picture Tells a Story (1971); Never a Dull Moment (1972); Sing It Again, Rod (1973); Smiler (1974); Best (1976); Best, Vol. 2 (1977); Atlantic Crossing (1975); A Night on the Town (1976); Foot Loose and Fancy Free (1977); Blondes Have More Fun (1978); Greatest Hits (1979); Foolish Behaviour (1980); Tonight I’m Yours (1981); Absolutely Live (1982); Body Wishes (1983); Camouflage (1984); R. S. (1986); Out of Order (1988); Storyteller: The Complete Anthology, 1964–1990 (1989); Downtown Train: Selections from the “Storyteller” Anthology (1990); Vagabond Heart (1991); The Mercury Anthology (1992); You Wear It Well (1992); Vintage (1993); Unplugged … and Seated (1993); A Spanner in the Works (1995); A Shot of Rhythm and Blues (1976); Rod the Mod (1981).

Bibliography

J. Pidgeon, R. S. and the Changing Faces (St. Albans, 1976); G. Tremlett, The R. S. Story (London, 1976); T. Ewbank, R. S.: A Biography (London, 1992).

—Brock Helander

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