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24 September 2014

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Rod Stewart

History of a rock star!

From growing up in London during the swinging sixties to announcing his engagement to long-term girlfriend Penny Lancaster, Rod Stewart definitely has a story to tell. Join us as we delve into rock and roll history and unravel his career so far.

Rod Stewart
Place of birth:London
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Description:Rod Stewart has been an iconic solo force in the realm of popular music for three decades now. From his humble beginnings on London's rough and tumble underground to disco diva, family man and top-40 hit-maker, Stewart is truly a man of many hats.

The beginning...

Roderick David Stewart is the youngest of five brothers and sisters and was born on January 10, 1945 in Highgate, London.

His parents owned a newsagent's shop, and the family resided in the flat above. Minutes before Rod Stewart was born, a German V-2 rocket hit the police station just down the street and the explosion heralded his birth.

The early years...

The fifties and sixties were fantastic times to be growing up in London. Musically, there was so much going on. At this time though, Rod's attentions were firmly focused on football.

After spending some time as an apprentice soccer player with Brentford FC, he soon realised his musical talent far out-stretched his sporting one and decided to hang up his boots in favour of a microphone.

The sixties...

It was folk singer Wizz Jones who kick-started Rod's infamous musical career, touring with him around Europe, singing to the tourists for money, but when their passports expired, Rod and his friends were deported for vagrancy.

Changing musical tastes and his return to England spurred him to join up with Birmingham-based R & B group Jimmy Powell and the Five Dimensions as a vocalist and blues harp player.

Rod's way with blues, R&B and folk made for a heady musical brew and the lure of other bands kept him on the move for the majority of the sixties. Steampacket and Shotgun Express both stole his attentions for a while but none of them were good enough for stardom - this was still to come.

By now, rock and roll had really started to take off. The Beatles had more hits in the top ten than you could shake a stick at and the Rolling Stones were rocking on stages up and down the country.

Rod knew it was now or never so he joined a band called The Jeff Beck Group and had two hit albums and toured extensively in the U.S and Europe.

Rod in the seventies
Rod in the seventies

By the end of 1969, the Jeff Beck group was history and Rod joined the Faces, a group notorious for boisterous, boozy and sloppy Stones-inspired rock and roll music. It was at this time that his solo career also started to take shape.

The seventies...

The Faces were a success on both sides of the pond and were met with rapturous applause wherever they went.  Unfortunately Rod's solo career wasn't greeted with the same warmth and both his first two albums flopped without even getting into the top 100.

Success didn't prevail until the release of Every Picture Tells A Story, producing Stewart's first number one chart hit "Maggie May." Stewart's forth album, "Never A Dull Moment," was also a huge success, reaching the number two spot in the US charts.

The Faces on the other hand, suffered the fate of many groups with strong individual talent, and soon dispersed, leaving Stewart much more time to concentrate on his solo career.

Rod threw everything into the mix and some of the outcomes were the stuff of legends. Tonight's The Night, Hot Legs, Do Ya Think I'm Sexy and This Old Heart of Mine where just some of the smashers to come out of the seventies.

The eighties...

Like a custom-fit pair of alligator shoes, the Eighties also belonged to the ever-fashionable Rod. 1980's Foolish Behaviour brought the world some much-needed "Passion." 1982's Tonight I'm Yours yielded the charming title track and the moving, anthemic "Young Turks."

There were more hits from 1983's Body Wishes, Baby Jane and 1985's Camouflage Infatuation and Some Guys Have All The Luck.

At the end of the decade, Stewart enjoyed another major success with Out of Order, which featured a series of popular singles, including Forever Young, Lost In You and My Heart Can't Tell You No.  Now riding another big wave, Rod rightly received the Grammy's coveted Living Legend Award.

The nineties...

The nineties brought us Storyteller, a lovingly and thoughtfully conceived retrospective featuring sixty-five cuts spanning his entire career that did justice to Stewart's remarkable legacy, The lavish package showcased some fresh gems, including Stewart's epic reinvention of Tom Waits' Downtown Train.

Ron Wood 1n 1987
Ron Wood in 1987

It was at this time that Stewart reunited with his old flame from the Face's, Ron Wood. The two performed an unplugged special, featuring an acoustic version of Have I Told You Lately. This then lead to the subsequent release of the Unplugged album. 

The beginning of a new centaury...

In recent years, Stewart has concentrated on singing 1930's and 1940's pop standards from the Great American Songbook, written by songwriters such as Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin and it has been recieved with great popular success.

These albums have been released on Clive Davis's J Records label and have seen Stewart enjoy album sales equal to the 1970s.

last updated: 08/03/06
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