Synopsis of Pop Music
"Wake up, Maggie,
I think I've got something to say to you..."
Rock music has plenty of ‘chameleons’ who can perform in any number of musical styles with ease, but few as skilled as Rod Stewart. Starting in the early 1970’s, Stewart fashioned a unique blend of rock, folk and soul that earned him a string of catchy, totally personalized hits. As the years progressed, he streamlined his sound into a more straightforward pop style and began to score even bigger hits by incorporating current trends. However, he can still surprise listeners everywhere with his versatility, earning his reputation as a musician’s musician.
London-born, but from Scottish stock, Rod Stewart grew up dreaming of being a football (soccer) player, not a musician. However, he got bit by the music bug in the early 60’s and was soon singing in r&b-styled bands like Steampacket. In the late 60’s, he made the transition to rock music as the lead vocalist on a pair of Jeff Beck albums. Soon enough, he was fronting the Faces, a rock band that included future Rolling Stones member Ron Wood. He also began to record solo music around this time, starting with An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down.
As a solo singer, Rod Stewart sang everything from raucous r&b-styled rock to introspective acoustic ballads. He soon began to mix these styles together and scored his first #1 hit in 1971 with “Maggie May,” a self-penned song about a love affair with an older woman. It blended the swing of rock and roll with folkish acoustic guitar and soulful organ sounds to become a rich-sounding hit. The next year he hit big with “You Wear It Well,” a love song with a whimsical folk-rock sound that included a fiddle. Meanwhile, the Faces scored a Top-20 hit with “Stay With Me,” a Rolling Stones-ish rocker.
In 1975, Rod Stewart split from the Faces to concentrate on his solo career. He moved to the U.S. and began working on the series of albums that would make him an international superstar. Stewart began the new phase of his career with Atlantic Crossing, an album containing the wistful ballad “Sailing,” soon a sing-along favorite at his concerts. The next year, he released A Night On The Town, scoring a #1 hit with the lush, seductive ballad “Tonight’s The Night.” He had another hit with the mellow but heart-tugging “The First Cut Is The Deepest,” a remake of a classic Cat Stevens song.
Rod Stewart returned to the charts at the end of 1977 with Foot Loose And Fancy Free, which contained a Top-5 ballad hit in the sweet, folksy “You’re In My Heart.” Like “You Wear It Well,” the tune featured a playful fiddle in its instrumental sound. That album also contained a lustful, energetic rocker in “Hot Legs.” The next year, Stewart tried his hand at disco with the churning, hypnotic "Do Ya Think I’m Sexy." It became a #1 hit on the pop charts and a favorite on disco dance-floors everywhere. Meanwhile, its parent album Blondes Have More Fun hit #1 and became another multi-platinum success.
As the 1980’s dawned, Rod Stewart added a electronic touch to his sound. Foolish Behaviour came out at the end of 1980 and scored a hit with “Passion,” an intriguing, synth-driven blend of disco and new-wave. The next year, he scored another synth-pop hit with “Young Turks” from Tonight I’m Yours. That song also became a staple on MTV thanks to a video that featured Rod amid plenty of dancers. In 1983, "Baby Jane” was another glossy hit with a high-tech sound. However, 1984’s “Infatuation” was a good old-fashioned rocker with a guitar solo from old pal Jeff Beck.
Rod Stewart continued to score big hits through the end of the 1980’s with cosmopolitan-styled pop songs like “Love Touch” and “Lost In You.” He also toured the world on a regular basis, playing to massive crowds everywhere he went. As the 1990’s began, he consistently stayed in the Top-10 by alternating ballads like “Downtown Train” with exuberant pop tunes like “The Motown Song.” He also recorded an acclaimed, acoustic-only live album called Unplugged… And Seated. It featured old pal Ron Wood and had a lovely cover of Van Morisson’s “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You.”
Today, Rod Stewart remains an important part of the rock and roll scene. He keeps up a busy tour schedule around the world and releases albums on a steady basis. Most recently, he released If We Fall In Love Tonight, a compilation of ballads old and new, and When We Were The New Boys, a covers album that had Stewart tackling modern favorites by Oasis and Skunk Anansie. Both albums are ample proof that Rod Stewart is and will always be one of rock and roll’s great chameleons.
Artist Release History1969 - An Old Raincoat Won't Ever Let You Down
1969 - The Rod Stewart Album
1970 - Gasoline Alley
1971 - Every Picture Tells a Story
1972 - Never a Dull Moment
1973 - Overture and Beginners (live)
1974 - Smiler
1975 - Atlantic Crossing
1976 - A Night on the Town
1976 - The Best of Rod Stewart
1977 - The Best of Rod Stewart, Vol. 2
1977 - Foot Loose & Fancy Free
1978 - Blondes Have More Fun
1979 - Greatest Hits
1980 - Foolish Behaviour
1981 - Tonight I'm Yours
1982 - Absolutely Live
1983 - Body Wishes
1984 - Camouflage
1986 - Rod Stewart
1988 - Out of Order
1991 - Vagabond Heart
1993 - Unplugged...And Seated (live)
1995 - Spanner in the Works
1998 - When We Were the New Boyser
2000 - Every Beat of My Heart
2000 - Human
Pop Sub Categoriesrock
Essential Music AlbumsBest Of Rod Stewart (Mercury)
Greatest Hits (Warner Bros.)