"The morning sun when it's in your face really shows your age" - Maggie May
Well, Roderick David Stewart has been around for a while, and you don't need morning sunshine to see it. He is, however, regarded by many as one of the greatest singers in rock history. From singer to producer he has had a major international influence on the music world.
Football player. Not something you'd expect to see in a Rod Stewart node, is it? Well you've just read it because at one point in his younger years, Rod played as an apprentice professional soccer player for the Brentford Football Club, no kidding. In fact Rod has made it known that soccer has always been his second love. However, second loves are soon forgotten when true love shows her face, music.
In the early sixties, Rod went on tour, in Europe, with folk artist Wizz Jones. On this tour Rod gained some popularity, or rather attention, from Spanish authorities, who deported him from Spain on vagrancy charges. Upon returning to England in 1963, he joined up with Jimmy Powell And The Five Dimensions to play harmonica. His playing was both rich and fluid, good enough to catch London's ear. It wasn't long before Rod was on his way to London where Long John Baldry hired him as a member of his band, the Hoochie Coochie Men. The group did not gain much recognition, aside from their club gigs, so they disbanded. Out of Hoochie's dust emerged a new band, Steampacket, composed of Baldry, Stewart, Brian Auger, Julie Driscoll, Mickey Waller and Rick Brown. During his tenure with Steampacket, Rod picked up one of his nicknames, "Rod the Mod". In 1965, Rod moved on, and moved in with Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood, Peter Bardens and Beryl Marsden, with whom he shared lead vocal responsibilities in the bluesy Shotgun Express. It was with ShotgunlinkExpress that Rod really began to gain his fame. R&B and blues fans connected with Rod's rhythmic beat and rootsy voice. But there was still more fame to be had, so at the end of 1966 Stewart joined the Jeff Beck Group.
With Jeff Beck, Ron Wood, Nicky Hopkins and Mickey Waller things started to roll, they recorded two hit albums, Truth and Cosa Nostra Beck-Ola. These were huge in the US, fueling several tours and setting the stage for Rod to get even bigger.
In 1969 the group broke up and went their separate ways. Ron and Rod hooked up those who were still left in the mod-rocker group, the Small Faces. Now a new band, they renamed themselves the Faces and released their first record, First Step. Stewart also started making steps of his own, making his debut solo album, The Rod Stewart Album on the Phonogram Records label. This record was embraced by critics and reviewers but for the English public it didn't turn any heads and only barely made it onto the top 200 in the US. Rod's second album was, like the group's second album, a bigger hit in both the US and the UK kicking off a successful American tour. However, third try proved to be the winning number for Rod, nearly immediately his solo record, Every Picture Tells a Story was a huge hit hitting number one in both the UK and the US. When the first single was released from the record it was a slow seller, but when people started hearing the B-side it sold. It sold the single, the record and the man. Maggie May.
Two months after the release of this wild success, the Faces released their third album, A Nod Is as Good as a Wink...To a Blind Horse. Fueled by the popularity of Rod's third, this album was on the Top Ten in the US and UK, and the single was their one and only Top 40 hit in the US. In 1972 Rod released his fourth album, Never a Dull Moment, which achieved number two and one in the US and UK respectively. His success was beginning to breed envy among certain of the Faces. When they recorded again, releasing Ooh La La in 1973, it would be their last. Despite Stewart's public condemnation of the record, it managed to reach the number one spot in the UK and twenty-one in the US. Remarkably, they managed to milk another US tour and a single out before they were totally through with eatch other. Rod as popular as ever sold another solo in 1974, Smiler which sold and, some say, sounded like his previous records. Despite the tension in the band, what finally broke them up was in fact, Rods escaping the UK taxman. Anyway, he crossed the Atlantic in 1975 seeking American citizenship, and at the same time released his fifth record, Atlantic Crossing. The Faces pulled a Cobaine and exited at their top on having lost their lead man.
Appealing to the current American pop-driven audience of the mid-70's, Rod sold his first platinum record, A Night on the Town featuring the single, Tonight's the Night which maintained an eight week streak at number one. Again Rod read the industry right in 1977 when he released his new best selling album, Foot Loose and Fancy Free. Then again in 1978 Stewart released another hit, his first number one record since Every Picture Tells a Story, Blondes Have More Fun which carried his number one single, Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?. As the 80's rolled around Stewart's sales started a downward trend, his first record Tonight I'm Yours just went platinum. Between 1982 and 1988 he had four albums, only one managed to achieve gold and had only three top ten hits in that period. In 1988, however, he managed to pull himself together, with the help of Duran Duran's Andy Taylor and Chic's Bernard Edwards, to release a decent recording, Out of Order. Following suit, in 1991, to maintain his upward climb, Stewart released the more responsible, Vagabond Heart. MTV reunited Wood and Stewart for a 1993 Unplugged concert, with an accompanying album. This album revealed the top ten hit single, Have I Told You Lately. In 1995 he released A Spanner in the Works with a hit cover of Tom Petty's Leave Virginia Alone. In 1996 he released If We Fall in Love Tonight and then When We Were the New Boys in 98. In 2001 he released Human.
Complete Solo Records Discography:
An Old Raincoat Won't Let you Down(1970)
Every Picture Tells a Story(1971)
Never a Dull Moment(1972)
A Night On The Town(1976)
Foot Loose and Fancy Free(1977)
Blondes Have More Fun(1978)
Tonight I'm Yours(1981)
Out Of Order(1988)
Unplugged and Seated(1993)
A Spanner in the Works(1995)
If We Fall in Love Tonight(1996)
When We Were the New Boys(1998)
It Had To Be You...The Great American Songbook(2002)
Complete Compilation Discography:
Sing it Again Rod(1973)
The Vintage Years(1976)
Recorded Highlights and Action Replays(1976)
The Best of Rod Stewart(1977)
The Best of Rod Stewart vol. 2(1977)
Rod Stewart's Greatest Hits vol. 1(1979)
The Best of Rod Stewart(1989)
The Early Years(1992)
The Very Best of Rod Stewart(1998)
A Little Misunderstood: The Sixties Sessions(2001)
Voice: The Very Best of Rod Stewart(2001)
The Story So Far: The Very Best of(2001)
References I Used: