birth place: Highgate, London
Before his notoriety as an international "Ladies Man" and football fanatic, Rod Stewart started his musical career as a credible artist.
After an unsuccessful apprenticeship with Brentford football club, Rod joined Long John Baldry’s group, The Hoochie Coochie Men, in 1964. Only a year later and a name change to Steampacket, the band was supporting the Rolling Stones on tour. Joining the Jeff Beck Group, as lead vocalist, in 1966, gave Rod his first nationwide exposure.
When that band broke up, Rod joined The Faces, who quickly earned themselves a reputation of being a boozy, boisterous rock and roll band. For the next six years, Rod would run a parallel solo career, which drew critical acclaim for the warmth of his song writing style.
In 1971, the song ‘Maggie May’ was his first Number One hit internationally, and was later named as one of the ‘500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll’.
Following a difficult Face’s tour in 1972, in which jealousies of Stewart’s solo success emerged, the band released their final album ,‘Ooh La La’, only for Rod to express his disdain for the record in the press. A bitter fight with UK tax collectors resulted in Stewart’s relocating to glitzy Los Angeles, a move which the singer underlined by the album title ‘Atlantic Crossing’ and the anthemic single ‘Sailing’.
In 1978, Rod released ‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy’, which not only marked a turning point in musical styles, it also sealed the singer’s image as a swaggering, preening ladies’ man with the tabloids. The critics turned on his more pop-sounding approach as a sell-out to that era’s disco trend. By the eighties, hits like ‘Baby Jane’ were becoming the exception, rather than the rule. With only three Top Ten hits between 1982 and 1988, his chart slump allowed greater focus on his string of blonde girlfriends and wives, like Britt Ekland, Alana Hamilton and Rachel Hunter.
Rod’s popularity as a live concert attraction found a new avenue in the nineties: MTV’s Unplugged sessions afforded older artists like Rod a whole new generation of fans. Stewart cannily tapped into this with his 1998 album, ‘When We Were The New Boys’, with its impressive covers of songs by Oasis
, Primal Scream and Mike Scott.
Rod’s enduring appeal was marked by a new musical, ‘Tonight’s The Night’, at London’s Victoria Palace theatre, featuring many of Stewart’s biggest hits. Most recently, Rod has successfully concentrated on singing standards from the 1930s and 1940s for ‘The Great American Songbook’. His interpretation of Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, the Gershwins and other great American songwriters may have met with mixed critical response, but it has been massively successful with the public. Great sales have resulted in three volumes being recorded.
October 23, 2006 saw the release of Rod's 24th studio album - Still the Same... Great Rock Classics of our Time. The following year, Stewart married model Penny Lancaster, with whom he had his seventh child, Alastair Wallace Stewart. It seems there's no letting up from the ultimate showman.
Links relating to this biography:
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