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). Addresses: Record company--Warner Bros., 3300 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91510, website: http://www.wbr.com.
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.
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 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. 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.
by Bill Bennett and Sarah Parkin
Rod Stewart's Career
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 Songbook, Volume 2 (2002), and Stardust...The Great American Songbook, Volume 3 (2004).
Rod Stewart's Awards
Best Solo Male Singer Award, Daily Mirror, 1977; Berolina Award, 1988; Goldene Europa, 1991; Goldene Kamera, 1993; Longtime Achievement Award in England, 1993.
- 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.
November 27, 2005: Stewart and his fiancee, Penny Lancaster, welcomed the birth of their son, Alastair Wallace Stewart. The names were chosen in honor of the child's Scottish heritage and in memory of Lancaster's grandfather. Source: CNN.com, www.cnn.com/2005/SHOWBIZ/Music/11/28/people.stewart.baby.ap/index.html, November 30, 2005.
- 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.
- America's Intelligence Wire, February 7, 2004; June 17, 2004.
- Kansas City Star, March 15, 2004.
- Time, February 9, 2004.