The following biography
Roderick David Stewart CBE (Commander of
the British Empire) born January 10, 1945 is a British singer who was a
member of the Jeff Beck Group and the Faces before embarking on a solo
career. His fiancee is model Penny Lancaster.
In a career in its fifth decade, Stewart
has achieved numerous hit singles worldwide, most notably in the UK,
where his tally of 62 hit singles includes 24 that went Top 10, of which
six went all the way to number one.
It has been estimated that Stewart's album
and single sales total more than 250 million, easily earning him a
place on the list of best-selling music artists.
Born: January 10, 1945 (age 62)
Occupation: Singer, Songwriter
Rod Stewart is the youngest of five
children and was born in Highgate, London to parents who owned a
newsagents shop there. His father, Robert Joseph Stewart, and his two
brothers and two sisters were all born in Scotland. Rod and his mother,
Elsie, are the only family members born in England. He is also the uncle
of infamous Hip Hop mogul Samuel J Stewart. Minutes before Stewart was
born, a German V-2 rocket scored a direct hit on Highgate Police Station
just down the street.
Rod Stewart had trials with the football
clubs Celtic, and Brentford (based in West London). He then worked as a
grave digger. He soon switched to a career in music joining folk singer
Wizz Jones in the early 1960s as a street singer travelling around
Europe; this resulted in his being deported from Spain for vagrancy.
In the spring of 1962, he helped to found
The Ray Davies Quartet, later known as the successful British band The
Kinks, as their lead singer. He performed with the group on at least one
occasion, but was soon dropped due to complaints about his voice from
then-drummer John Start's mother as well as musical and personality
differences with the rest of the band.
His first notable recording, altough not
his, that reached the number one position in the UK and in other
European country's was My Boy Lollypop by Millie Small were he played
the mouth harmonica.
Since Rod Stewart's return to London, he
also joined Jimmy Powell & the Five Dimensions in 1964 as a vocalist and
blues harp player. He and the band recorded a single for Pye Records.
Long John Baldry discovered him drunk and busking for train fare and
invited him to join The Hoochie Coochie Men which recorded a single,
"Good Morning Little Schoolgirl", that failed to chart. The Hoochie
Coochie Men evolved into Steampacket featuring Stewart, Baldry, Julie
Driscoll, Brian Auger, Mickey Waller and Rick Brown. Steampacket
supported the Rolling Stones and the Walker Brothers in the northern
summer of 1965 and would also record an album that would not be released
until 1970 when Stewart had become well-known in musical circles.
Stewart also earned the nickname "Rod the Mod" in that period after an
appearance on a BBC documentary, 1965, on the mod subculture.
Steampacket broke up in early 1966 with
Stewart joining Shotgun Express as lead vocalist with Beryl Marsden.
Shotgun Express also contained Mick Fleetwood and Peter Green who would
go on to form Fleetwood Mac and Peter Bardens. Shotgun Express released
one single before breaking up.
Stewart sang guest vocal for the Australian
group Python Lee Jackson on "In a Broken Dream" in 1970. His payment was
a set of seat covers for his car. It was re-released in 1972 to become a
Stewart then joined the Jeff Beck Group as
vocalist. In 1968, their first album Truth became a hit on both sides of
the Atlantic and the group toured extensively. The second album Beck-Ola
also was a hit in the middle of 1969 but the group broke up by the end
of the year. Much of Stewart's sense of phrasing was developed during
his time with the Jeff Beck Group.
The U.S. band Cactus offered Stewart a job
as lead singer but he decided instead to join The Faces with Ron Wood.
(Wood had played bass guitar with the Jeff Beck Group, but wanted to
switch to guitar. The Faces were previously The Small Faces until the
departure of Steve Marriott.)
Stewart also signed a solo recording
contract with Mercury Records. An Old Raincoat Won't Ever Let You Down
became his first solo album in 1969 (it was known as The Rod Stewart
Album in the U.S.). It established the template for his solo sound: a
heartfelt mixture of folk, rock, and country blues, all informed by a
British working-class sensibility, with both original material ("Cindy's
Lament" and the title song) and cover versions (Ewan MacColl's "Dirty
Old Town" and Mike d'Abo's "Handbags and Gladrags") being very
The Faces released their debut album First
Step in early 1970 with a rock and roll style similar to the Rolling
Stones. While the album did better in the UK than the U.S., the Faces
quickly earned a strong live following. Stewart would release his second
album,Gasoline Alley that autumn. Rod's new approach was similar to his
first album, as exemplified by the dynamic but haunting title track,
also mandolin was introduced into the sound. He also launched a solo
Stewart's 1971 album Every Picture Tells a
Story made him a household name when the B-side of his minor hit "Reason
to Believe", "Maggie May", started receiving radio play. The album and
the single hit #1 in both the U.S. and the UK simultaneously, a chart
first, in September. A loss of innocence tale set off by a striking
mandolin part (by Ray Jackson of Lindisfarne), "Maggie May" was also
named in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and
Roll, which is one of three songs by him to appear on that list. The
rest of the album was equally strong, with "Mandolin Wind" again
showcasing that instrument, "(I Know) I'm Losing You" adding hard-edged
soul to the mix, and "Tomorrow is a Long Time" being one of the best
British Bob Dylan covers. But the ultimate manifestation of the early
Stewart solo style was the Stewart-Wood-penned "Every Picture Tells a
Story" itself: powered by Mick Waller's drumming and a mostly acoustic
arrangement, it is a fast, rocking, headlong romp relating the
picaresque adventures of the singer.
The second Faces album, Long Player, was
released in early 1971 which enjoyed greater chart success than First
Step. The Faces also got their only U.S. Top 40 hit with "Stay With Me"
from their third album A Nod Is as Good as a Wink...To a Blind Horse
released in late 1971. This album reached the Top 10 on both sides of
the Atlantic on the back of the success of Every Picture Tells A Story.
Throughout this period there was a marked dichotomy between Stewart's
solo and group work, the former being meticulously crafted while the
latter tended towards the boozy and sloppy. The Faces were unable to
perform Stewart's solo work effectively in concert, as the subsequent
Rod Stewart/Faces Live album would show; faithful renditions of those
songs would have to wait two decades until Stewart's MTV Unplugged
appearance. However Steve Jones from The Sex Pistols regarded The Faces
very highly and named them as a main influence on the British punk rock
The Faces had an extensive tour in 1972
with growing tension in the band over Stewart's solo career enjoying
more success than the band's. Stewart released Never a Dull Moment in
the same year. Repeating the Every Picture formula for the most part, it
reached #2 on the U.S. album charts and #1 in the UK and enjoyed further
good notices from reviewers. "You Wear It Well" being a hit single that
reached #13 in the U.S. and went to #1 in the UK, while "Twisting the
Night Away" made explicit Stewart's debt to Sam Cooke.
For the body of his early solo work Stewart
earned tremendous critical praise. Rolling Stone’s 1980 Illustrated
History of Rock & Roll includes this in its Stewart entry:
Rarely has a singer had as full and unique
a talent as Rod Stewart [...] a writer who offered profound lyricism and
fabulous self-deprecating humor, teller of tall tales and honest
heartbreaker, he had an unmatched eye for the tiny details around which
lives turn, shatter, and reform [...] and a voice to make those details
indelible. [... His solo albums] were defined by two special qualities:
warmth, which was redemptive, and modesty, which was liberating. If ever
any rocker chose the role of Everyman and lived up to it, it was Rod
The Faces released their final album Ooh La
La which reached #1 in the UK and #21 in the U.S. in 1973. The Faces
went on their final tour in 1974 to support Ooh La La and the single
"Pool Hall Richard". The band formally broke up in 1975 with Ron Wood
joining The Rolling Stones as their guitar player and Stewart pursuing
his solo career.
Stewart would release the Smiler album in
late 1974 which proved to be a disappointment. In Britain it reached
No.1, and the single "Farewell", #7, but only #13 on the Billboard pop
album charts and the single "Mine For Me" only #91 on the Billboard pop
singles charts. Smiler is generally regarded as Stewart's weakest album
of the seventies; it was also his last original album for Mercury
Records. After the release of the double album compilation The Best Of
Rod Stewart, he switched over to Warner Bros. Records and remained with
them throughout the vast majority of his career.
In 1975, Rod Stewart moved to the U.S.,
applying for citizenship due to his love affair with Britt Ekland and a
fight with the UK tax authorities. He released the Atlantic Crossing
album for his new record company, using producer Tom Dowd and a
different sound based on the Muscle Shoals rhythm section. Atlantic
Crossing marked both a return to form and a return to the Top 10 of the
Billboard album charts. The first single "Sailing" was a massive #1 hit
in the UK, while it only reached the Top 60 of the U.S. charts. The
single returned to the UK Top 10 a year later when used as the theme
music for a BBC documentary series about HMS Ark Royal, and having been
a hit twice over became, and remains, Stewart's biggest-selling single
in the UK. Holland-Dozier-Holland cover "This Old Heart Of Mine" was
also a Top 100 hit in 1976. Musically, Atlantic Crossing showed Stewart
was clearly distinguishing his slow material (such as Danny Whitten's
wrenching "I Don't Want To Talk About It") from his largely
by-the-numbers rockers (such as "Three Time Loser"). Additionally in
1976, Stewart covered the Beatles song “Get Back” for the ephemeral
musical documentary All This and World War II.
Later in 1976, Stewart topped the Billboard
singles charts for eight weeks and the Australian singles charts with
the glossy seduction ballad "Tonight's the Night" (an accompanying music
video featured Ekland). It came from the A Night on the Town album,
which went to #2 on the Billboard album charts and was Stewart's first
album to go platinum. By explicitly marking the album as having a "fast
side" and a "slow side", Stewart continued the trend started by Atlantic
Crossing. "The First Cut is the Deepest", a cover of a Cat Stevens song,
went Top 30 in the U.S. in 1977 and #1 in the UK (even though "God Save
the Queen" by the Sex Pistols is widely believed to have sold more
records in that week). "The Killing of Georgie (Part 1 and 2)", about
the murder of a gay man, was also a Top 40 hit for Stewart during 1977.
Foot Loose & Fancy Free from 1978 continued
Stewart's run of chart success, again reaching #2 and featuring much the
same sound as from A Night on the Town. "You're In My Heart" was the hit
single, reaching #4 in the U.S.. The rocker "Hot Legs" achieved a lot of
radio airplay as did the confessional "I Was Only Joking". In
appearance, Stewart's look had evolved to include a glam element,
included make-up, spandex clothes, and the like.
Stewart scored another UK #1 and U.S. #1
single with "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" which was a crossover hit reaching
#5 on the Billboard black charts due to its disco sound. This was the
lead single from 1979's Blondes Have More Fun...or do they? which went
to #1 on the Billboard album charts and sold 4 million albums. It was to
be Stewart's last #1 album for 25 years.
There are two schools of critical thought
about this whole period of Stewart's career. One is exemplified by the
same 1980 Rolling Stone History entry quoted above, as it actually
Rarely has a singer had as full and unique
a talent as Rod Stewart; rarely has anyone betrayed his talent so
completely. Once the most compassionate presence in music, he has become
a bilious self-parody—and sells more records than ever. [...] full of
the rewards he received for his work, and seemingly without noticing, he
exchanged passion for sentiment, the romance of sex for a tease, a reach
for mysteries with tawdry posturing ...
The other school acknowledges that Stewart
has never surpassed his earliest work, but states that by Never a Dull
Moment and certainly Smiler it was clear that that formula had run dry,
and that he needed to make a musical change in direction. Furthermore,
Stewart's early solo work had inadvertently benefited from The Faces
drawing off his less-inspired, straight-rocking party efforts; without
The Faces around, this side of him became more manifest in his solo
work. Given that, this view concludes that his albums during this period
are not so bad and in particular Atlantic Crossing and A Night on the
Town are more than occasionally inspired.
A focal point of this debate was "Da Ya
Think I'm Sexy?". To detractors, this was the epitome of Stewart's
egotism and the nadir of his career. Supporters defend the music by
saying this was Stewart's try at the disco sound, much in the same way
as Paul McCartney did "Silly Love Songs" or The Rolling Stones did "Miss
You". In interviews Stewart, while admitting his accompanying look had
become "tarty", has defended the lyrics by pointing out that the song is
a third-person narrative slice-of-life portrayal, not unlike those in
his earlier work, and that it is not about him. In any case, the song's
refrain was identical to Brazilian Jorge Ben Jor's earlier "Taj Mahal";
a lawsuit ensued. Stewart donated his royalties from the song to UNICEF,
and he performed it at the Music for UNICEF Concert at the United
Nations General Assembly in 1979.
Rod moved a bit to a more New Wave
direction in 1980 by releasing the album Foolish Behaviour. Not very
well received, the album one hit single in the song "Passion". In 1981,
Stewart added further elements of New Wave and synth pop to his sound
for the Tonight I'm Yours album. The title song and "Young Turks" both
reached Top 5 of the Billboard charts with the album going platinum.
December 18, 1981 - Rod Stewart plays Los
Angeles Forum, along with Kim Carnes and Tina Turner. The show is
broadcast around the world to a television audience of 35 million.
Stewart's career then went into a relative
slump. He only had three Top 10 singles between 1982 and 1988, although
"Baby Jane" became his sixth and final UK #1 in 1983. The corresponding
Camouflage album went gold in the UK. A reunion with Jeff Beck produced
a successful take on Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready", but an
attempt to tour together fell apart after a few dates. He reached UK #2
in 1986 with "Every Beat Of My Heart", a song designed to be of similar
crowd-waving qualities to "Sailing".
In 1988, he returned with Out Of Order
produced by Duran Duran's Andy Taylor and by Bernard Edwards of CHIC.
"Forever Young" and "Lost in You" from that album were both significant
hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and mainstream rock charts. ("Forever
Young" was an unconscious revision of Bob Dylan's song of the same name;
the artists reached an agreement about sharing royalties.)
In January 1989 Rod set out on the South
American leg of the Out of Order Tour playing to sold out audiences
throughout South America. Audiences hung on every line, often prompting
Rod and the band to stop and listen to the crowd, as it knew every word
to every song. In Buenos Aires the famed River Plate Stadium that seats
70,000+ was estimated to have had in attendance more than 90,000, with
several thousand outside the stadium. Firehoses were sprayed on the
crowd to avoid heat prostration, and the excitement was palpable.
Despite the rigours of traversing South
America's questionable highway system with three separate convoys of
equipment holding the millions-dollar light show and stages (the loss of
a truck in a landslide delayed one show in Brazil), the show went on
with a grueling schedule of performances. Venues in remote, seemingly
desolate small towns would fill to standing room only capacity in the
local soccer stadium, and ring the stadium in a sea of fans electrified
by the music, the entertainer, and the fact that he was willing to
perform for them.
Stewart's version of the Tom Waits song
"Downtown Train" went to #2 of the US singles charts in 1990. This song
was taken from a four CD compilation set called Storyteller. The
Vagabond Heart album continued his comeback with "Rhythm of My Heart"
and "Motown Song" both reaching the Top 10. Also in 1990 he recorded "It
Takes Two" with Tina Turner which reached #5 on the UK charts.
In 1993, he recorded "All For Love" with
Sting and Bryan Adams for the soundtrack to the movie The Three
Musketeers; the single reached #1 on the US charts.
Also in 1993, Stewart reunited with Ron
Wood and a talented backup group to record an MTV Unplugged special. For
the first time, Stewart assembled a musical line-up whose
instrumentation and musical approach could do justice to his earliest
solo work. Highlights included a heartfelt "Handbags and Gladrags", a
furious "Cut Across Shorty", and four selections from Every Picture
Tells A Story. The show also featured an acoustic version of Van
Morrison's "Have I Told You Lately" which topped the Billboard adult
contemporary chart and went Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. A rendition
of "Reason to Believe" also garnered considerable airplay. The Unplugged
album reached #2 on the Billboard album charts.
Stewart was inducted into the Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame in 1994.
In 1995, Stewart released A Spanner in the
Works containing a cover of Tom Petty's "Leave Virginia Alone" which
reached the Top 10 of the adult contemporary charts. The latter half of
the 1990s was not as commercially successful with If We Fall In Love
Tonight not making much of an impression on the charts.
When we Were the New Boys, his final album
on the Warner Bros. label released in 1998, contained versions of songs
by Britpop acts such as Oasis and Primal Scream, and reached #2 on the
UK album charts. In 2000, Stewart decided to leave Warner Bros. Records
and moved to Atlantic Records, another division of Warner Music Group.
In 2001, he released his only album "Human" in Atlantic label. Human
only just reached the Top 50 in 2001 with the single "I Can't Deny It"
going Top 40 in the UK and Top 20 in the adult contemporary. Because of
the poor sales, Atlantic Records dropped him from their roster and he
signed to Clive Davis' new J Records label.
The Story So Far: the Very Best Of a
greatest hits album compiled from his time at Warner Bros. went to the
Top 10 in the UK and reached #1 in places like Belgium and France in
In recent years, Stewart has concentrated
on singing 1930s and 1940s pop standards from the "Great American
Songbook", written by songwriters such as Irving Berlin, Cole Porter,
and George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin, with great popular success but
middling critical success. These albums have been released on Clive
Davis's J Records label and have seen Stewart enjoy album sales equal to
The first album from the songbook series,
It Had to Be You ... The Great American Songbook, reached #4 on the US
album chart, #8 in the UK and #10 in Canada when released in late 2002.
The track "These Foolish Things" reached #13 on the Billboard adult
contemporary charts and #2 in Taiwan. "They Can't Take That Away From
Me" went Top 20 on the world internet charts and Top 30 on the adult
The second series album, As Time Goes By:
the Great American Songbook 2, reached #2 in the US, #4 in the UK and #1
in Canada. "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered", a duet with Cher went
Top 20 on the US adult contemporary charts and Top 5 in Taiwan. "Time
After Time" was another Top 30 track on the US adult contemporary
A musical featuring many of Stewart's songs
opened November 7, 2003 at London's Victoria Palace theatre. It is
written and directed by Ben Elton, who previously created a similar
production, We Will Rock You, with music by Queen.
In 2004, Stewart reunited with Ron Wood for
concerts of The Faces material. A Rod Stewart and the Faces best of
Changing Faces reached the Top 20 of the UK album charts. Five Guys Walk
Into A Bar, a Faces box set compilation, went in to the shops, and it is
widely regarded as a "must have" in Rock & Roll history. Together with
Wood, he is still working on the album You Strum, I'll Sing.
In October 2004 Young Turks appeared on the
popular videogame Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, playing on fictional
classic rock station K-DST.
In late 2004, Stardust ... The Great
American Songbook 3, the third album in the series, was released. It was
his first US #1 album in 25 years, selling over 200,000 albums in its
first week. It also debuted at #1 in Canada, #3 in the UK and Top ten in
Australia. His version of Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World",
featuring Stevie Wonder has made the Top 20 of the world adult charts.
He also recorded a duet with Dolly Parton for the album - "Baby, It's
Cold Outside". Stewart won his first ever Grammy Award for this album.
October 18, 2005 saw the release of the
fourth and final songbook album. Thanks for the Memory: The Great
American Songbook 4 it included duets with Diana Ross and Elton John.
Within weeks of its release, the CD made it to #2 on the Top 200 list.
In late 2006, Rod Stewart made his return
to the rock'n'roll, with the release of Still the Same... Great Rock
Classics of Our Time, a new album featuring rock milestones from the
last four decades, including a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's
"Have You Ever Seen The Rain" which was released as the first single.
The album was released on October 10. The album debuted at #1 on the
Billboard charts with 184,000 copies in its first week. The number 1
debut was helped by a concert in NYC that was on MSN music and an
appearance on Dancing With The Stars. He performed tracks from his new
album Live from the Nokia Theater on October 9th. Control Room broadcast
the event Live on MSN and in 117 movie theaters across the country via
National CineMedia.Check out the concert on MSN Music. The BBC quoted
in their Breakfast Show on 1st November 2006 that Rod Stewart is one of
the top ten biggest-selling artists in recording history, with well over
250,000,000 records sold.
On 12th December he performed for the first
time at The Royal Variety Performance at The London Coliseum in front of
HRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, singing another Cat
Stevens number, "Father and Son", and the Bonnie Tyler song, "It's A
On December 22, 2006, Rod Stewart hosted
the 8th Annual A Home for the Holidays special on CBS at 8:00 PM (PST)
In 1999 Stewart was diagnosed as having
thyroid cancer, for which he underwent surgery in July 2000. Besides
being a major health scare, the resulting surgery also threatened his
famous voice, and he had to re-learn how to sing.  Since then he has
been active in raising funds for The City of Hope Foundation charity to
find cures for all forms of cancer, especially those affecting children.
Stewart has remained physically active in
recent years, playing in a senior football league in Manhattan Beach,
California and still kicking balls into the audience during concerts.
When discussing the rock 'n' roll excesses he has been through in his
career, he maintains that his love of playing football has been his
saviour. As a fan he is a well-known supporter of Celtic F.C. and the
Scotland national team. In appearance Stewart still maintains his
trademark rooster-style haircut.
Stewart is also known for owning one of 399
On April 18 and April 19, 2006, Stewart was
the guest artist and celebrity vocal coach on American Idol, leading the
remaining seven finalists in singing entries from the Great American
He owns a mansion in Palm Beach, Florida at
1435 South Ocean Blvd.
Throughout his career Stewart has been
known for his liaisons with attractive women (fathering seven children
with five of them; the oldest being born in 1964 and his latest child
being born in November 2005):
1963-1964: Art student Susannah Boffey; one
daughter Sarah Thubron Streeter (born 1964) who was put up for adoption
1971-1975: Model Dee Harrington
1975-1977: Actress Britt Ekland
First marriage (1979-1984), to Alana
Hamilton (ex-wife of actor George Hamilton); one daughter Kimberly (born
1979) and one son Sean (born 1981)
1983-1990: Model Kelly Emberg; one daughter
Ruby (born 1987)
Second marriage (1990-2006), to model
Rachel Hunter; one daughter Renee (born 1992) and one son Liam (born
1994). Rod was quoted as saying that he'd rather have his penis cut off
than cheat on her. He was later sued for divorce.
1998-now: With his new fiancée, model Penny
Lancaster, he had his seventh child, a boy, Alastair Wallace Stewart, on
27 November 2005. The couple plan to marry in 2007. 
Awards and recognition
Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal
Album, 2005, Stardust ... The Great American Songbook Volume III
Diamond Award of World Music Awards show
for over 100 million records sold worldwide, 2001.
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of
Inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame,
"Bar none, he's the best singer I've heard
in rock n'roll. He's also the greatest white soul singer." —Elton John
on Rod Stewart
"Is this a white guy? You are kidding me!!"
Chuck Berry comented when asked what he thought about Rod's cover of
Sweet Little Rock & Roller in an interview by the Belgian Rock magazine
Humo in 1975.
Rod Stewart played to the largest concert
crowd ever, with 3.5 million fans in attendance.
List of bands
During his career, Rod Stewart has been a
member of a number of groups including:
Jimmy Powell and the Five Dimensions (1963)
The Hoochie Coochie Men, later called
Shotgun Express (1966)
The Jeff Beck Group (1966–1969)
The Faces (1969–1975)
Main article: Rod Stewart discography
UK/US #1 albums
1971 Every Picture Tells a Story (UK/US)
1972 Never a Dull Moment (UK)
1973 Sing It Again Rod (UK)
1974 Smiler (UK)
1975 Atlantic Crossing (UK)
1976 A Night on the Town (UK)
1978 Blondes Have More Fun (US)
1979 Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 (UK)
2004 Stardust: the Great American Songbook
2006 Still the Same... Great Rock Classics
of our Time (US)
UK/US #1 singles
1971 "Maggie May" / "Reason To Believe"
1972 "You Wear It Well" (UK)
1975 "Sailing" (UK)
1976 "Tonight's The Night (Gonna Be
1977 "I Don't Want to Talk About It" / "The
First Cut Is the Deepest" (UK)
1978 "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" (UK, US)
1983 "Baby Jane" (UK)
1993 "All for Love" (US) (Featuring Bryan
Adams and Sting, first appearing on the official soundtrack from the
movie "The Three Musketeers")
1.  Barry's Tickets; Accessed December
2006; Claims 250 million records
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