Roderick David Stewart (born January 10, 1945), who later became known simply as Rod Stewart, grew up in London, England. Like many young boys who want to get into music, Stewart learned to play the guitar at age 11. His first musical endeavor was with the “Kool Kats,” which was a band that he had formed with some friends from school. Stewart worked hard doing various jobs, which, most notably and morbidly, included digging graves. Not wanting to spend his life with “one foot in the grave,” as they say, Stewart continued to pursue his musical dreams. In 1962 he became the lead singer of “The Ray Davies Quartet.” The band later became “The Kinks,” but Stewart got the boot before the band really took off. He later joined “Steampacket,” which toured with the Rolling Stones, but after the group went their separate ways in 1966, he became a part of the band “Shotgun Express.” The group included members Peter Green and Mick Fleetwood who would later go on to form the legendary rock band, “Fleetwood Mac.” After his work with “Shotgun…” ended he continued singing, this time with Ronnie Wood and guitarist Jeff Beck in the “Jeff Beck Group.”
In August of 1968 the band released their first album “Truth.” The album became successful in both the United Kingdom and the US where it reached the #15 spot on the charts. They released “Beck-Ola,” in 1969, and although it too was a hit, the band broke up later that year. (The Jeff Beck Group did release more albums, just with different members.) With their “…Beck” days behind them, Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart became members of the band, which had formally been known as the “Small Faces,” “Faces,” As members of Faces, Stewart would sing and Wood played guitar. The band also included keyboardist Ian McLagan, bassist Ronnie Lane and drummer Kenney Jones. Stewart also signed with Mercury Records as a solo act, and released his first solo album in 1969, “An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down,” which was known as “The Rod Stewart Album,” in the United States. Faces released their first album; “First Step,” in 1970 and Stewart released his album, “Gasoline Alley” later that year, and Stewart began to tour as a solo artist.
Stewart released “Every Picture Tells a Story” in May of 1971, and the album took off. It claimed the top spots on both the US and UK charts and went on to sell over a million albums. “…Picture” became Stewart’s first #1 album thanks to the track “Maggie May,” which also became his first #1 single. With his career now ballooning, Stewart was a busy man. In 1971, Faces released the album “Long Player,” as well “A Nod is as Good as a Wink…To a Blind Horse.” “…Blind Horse,” which included the track “Stay With Me” became a Top 40 hit in the US. The next year, despite the fact that he was constantly touring with Faces, Stewart released “Never a Dull Moment.” It perpetuated Stewart’s success and became the #2 album on the charts. Faces released “Ooh La La” in 1973 and Stewart released “Smiler” in October of the same year. This would be his final record for Mercury signing with Warner Bros shortly after. In 1975 Faces would split up; Ronnie Wood would continue his career with The Rolling Stones, and Stewart moved to the US, which would be documented by the release of the album “Atlantic Crossing.”
In 1977 Stewart released the album “Foot Loose and Fancy Free,” asking the perfectly reasonable question (and musical it turns out) “Da You Think I’m Sexy?” Fans answered the question by opening their wallets/purses and buying more than 3 million albums and sending the album to the #2 spot on the charts in the US. The next year Stewart, now sporting his famous blonde hair do, released the album “Blondes Have More Fun.” Apparently he was right because “…Blondes” soared to the top of the charts and sold than 3 million albums in the US. This, however, would be his last top 10 album until the March 1991 release of “Vagabond Heart.” Although Stewart still sold millions of albums worldwide, he would not have another top ten studio album for the remainder of the 1990’s. In May of 1994 Stewart reunited with Ronnie Wood for the live album “Unplugged…and Seated” which was recorded as part of MTV’s Unplugged Series. The album included covers of the Van Morrison song “Have I Told You Lately,” and “Reason to Believe,” which both became hugely popular.
2002’s “It Had to be You: The Great American Songbook,” would become the first in a 4 part series of albums in which Stewart covered classic songs with artists including Stevie Wonder and Cher. In 2003 he released part 2 “As Time Goes By…,” and in 2004 part 3 “Stardust…” That year Stewart also reunited with Ronnie Wood to do a series of concerts performing their pervious Faces material. In 2005 Stewart won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for “Thanks For the Memory: The Great American Songbook part 4.” In 2006 “Still the Same…Great Rock Classics of Our Time, “ became a #1 album, over 30 years since Stewarts first #1 solo record. Almost 50 years after becoming a performer, Rod Stewart is still pleasing crowds worldwide. He is set to kick off yet another tour in the summer of 2009.
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