I Don't Want to Talk About It
“Elvis was the king. No doubt about it. People like myself, Mick Jagger and all the others only followed in his footsteps.” Rod Stewart
British singer and songwriter Rod Stewart began his music career with the groups Jimmy Powell and the Five Dimensions, The Hoochie Coochie Men, Shotgun Express, The Jeff Beck Group and Faces before raising to fame as a soloist thanks to the 1971 platinum album “Every Picture Tells a Story,” which was a No. 1 album in the United Kingdom and United States. He continued to produce hit albums throughout the 1970s with “Never A Dull Moment” (1972), “Smiler” (1974), “Atlantic Crossing” (1975), “A Night On The Town” (1976) and “Blondes Have More Fun” (1978), which became his last U.S. chart topping release in 26 years. Stewart enjoyed varied success during 1980s and 1990s and experienced a rebirth in the 2000s by singing pop standards from the “Great American Songbook.” He won his first Grammy Award for “Stardust: The Great American Songbook 3” (2004), his third album of Pop standards. The album also marked his first U.S. No. 1 hit release after “Blondes Have More Fun.” He had another chart topper with “Still The Same... Great Rock Classics Of Our Time” (2006). During his long tenure in the industry, Stewart has produced a number of hit singles, including “Maggie May,” ”Reason to Believe” (1971), “You Wear It Well” (1972), “Sailing” (1975), “Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright)” (1976), “I Don't Want to Talk About It,” “The First Cut Is the Deepest” (1977), “Do Ya Think I'm Sexy” (1978) and “Baby Jane” (1983).
In the music industry since 1964, Steward was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 11, 2005, for his contribution to music. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and the U.K. Music Hall of Fame in 2006. He was also awarded CBE in 2007.
Rod the Mod
Childhood and Family:
Roderick David Stewart, professionally known as Rod Stewart, was born on January 10, 1945, in Highgate, London, England, to a Scottish father, Robert Joseph Stewart, and an English mother, Elsie Stewart. His father was a master builder and after he retired ran a news agent shop. The Stewart family lived over the shop. The youngest of five siblings, Rod has two brothers (Bob and Don) and two sisters (Mary and Peggy). All of his siblings were born while the family lived in Scotland years before they moved to Highgate.
Rod was educated at Highgate Primary School and the William Grimshaw Secondary Modern School in Hornsey. Growing up in a family of soccer lovers, he became an avid fan of Arsenal F.C. and excelled in the sport. He served as the captain of the soccer team at his school and also played for Middlesex Schoolboys. It was his family who introduced him to music when they became a fan of singer Al Jolson. Rod developed a love for rock and roll after he listened to Little Richard's hit “The Girl Can't Help It” (1956) and attended a concert of Bill Haley & His Comets. He got his first guitar at age 14 and joined his first group a year later.
Rod quit school at age 15 and worked as a silk screen printer. At the urging of his father, he pursued professional soccer and became an apprentice with the Brentford F.C., in 1961. He soon grew bored, decided to leave the team and turned his attention toward music.
On April 6, 1979, Rod married actress and former model Alana Hamilton Stewart (born Alana Kaye Collins on May 18, 1945), the ex-wife of actor George Hamilton. They welcomed a daughter named Kimberly Stewart on August 21, 1979, and a son, Sean Stewart, on September 1, 1980, before divorcing in 1980. He then married actress/model Rachel Hunter (born on September 9, 1969) on December 15, 1990. The couple has two children, Renée Stewart (born on June 1, 1992) and Liam McAlister Stewart (born on September 4, 1994). Rod and his second wife became estranged in 1999 and divorced on November 2, 2006. He married model Penny Lancaster (born on March 15, 1971) on June 16, 2007. They have one son together, Alastair Wallace Stewart (born on November 27, 2005 in London). Rod also has two more daughters, Sarah Thubron Streeter (born in 1964, raised by adoptive parents) and Ruby Stewart (born in 1987) from previous relationships. Rod is known by the nicknames Rod the Mod and Phyllis.
After having a series of odd jobs, Rod Stewart auditioned with legendary record producer Joe Meek in 1961, but the audition was unsuccessful. The next year, he played the harmonica for folk singer Wizz Jones who brought their act to Brighton, Paris and Barcelona. His journey ended in 1963 when Stewart was deported from Spain. During 1962, he also briefly joined The Ray Davies Quartet (later known as The Kinks) as their lead singer before fronting his own group, Rod Stewart & The Moontrekkers. The group, however, only had a short life.
Back to London, Stewart made his professional debut in October 1963 when he was recruited as a harmonica player and temporary vocalist for the Birmingham based rhythm and blues group The Dimensions. After the group changed their name to Jimmy Powell and the Five Dimensions, with Jimmy Powell taking over lead vocals, Stewart was demoted to harmonica player. Tensions between the two later led to Stewart's departure from the group. He next joined the Hoochie Coochie Men and made his recording debut (without label credit) on “Up Above My Head” in 1964. Later that same year, he signed to Decca Records as a soloist and recorded his first solo single in September 1964. His single, “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl,” was released in October 1964.
After leaving The Hoochie Coochie Men, Stewart performed as a soloist during the late 1964 and early 1965, during which time he was occasionally supported by the band The Soul Agents. He scored a deal with EMI's Columbia label and released the single “The Day Will Come” and his remake of Sam Cooke's “Shake” in November 1965 and April 1966, respectively. In May 1966, Stewart joined Shotgun Express as a co-vocalist with Beryl Marsden. The group released one unsuccessful single in October before splitting up. He then joined the rock band The Jeff Beck Group, which was formed by former Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck in 1967, as their vocalist. He recorded two studio albums with the group (“Truth,” 1968) and “Beck-Ola,” 1969) before his exit in 1969. He was then reunited with former The Jeff Beck Group guitarist Ronnie Wood in the rock group Faces in 1969, which was founded by members of the Small Faces after the departure of their vocalist Steve Marriott. He would record four albums and tour extensively with the group until 1975, when they disbanded.
Simultaneously, Stewart's solo career began to take off. His first solo album, “An Old Raincoat Won't Ever Let You Down,” was released in November 1969 in the U.S. by Mercury Records and February 1970 in the U.K. by Vertigo Records. Known in the U.S. as “The Rod Stewart Album,” the album peaked at No. 139 on the Billboard 200 and went gold in Canada. Following the release of Faces' first album, “First Step” (March 1970), Stewart launched his sophomore effort, “Gasoline Alley,” on June 1970. The album rose to No. 27 on the Billboard 200 and also charted in the U.K. at No. 62. It became his first platinum release in Canada. The album spawned one single with a remake of The Valentinos 1964 song “It's All Over Now,” which charted at No. 126.
Stewart returned to Faces for their second album, “Long Player,” which was released in March 1971. Later that same year, he scored his first No.1 hit album with “Every Picture Tells a Story,” which he produced. Released in the U.S. in May 1971, the album, a mix of rock, country, blues, soul, and folk, became a chart topper in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. The single “Maggie May,” which was co-written by Stewart, rose to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed in the position for five weeks. It also went to No. 1 on the U.K. Singles chart and No, 11 in Germany. His version of Tim Hardin's “Reason to Believe,” released as a double A-side with “Maggie May,” rose to No.1 in the U.K. and No. 62 in the U.S. The album scored an additional Billboard Hot 100 hit with the cover single “(I Know) I'm Losing You,” which went to No. 24 on the chart. The third album of Faces, “A Nod Is as Good as a Wink... to a Blind Horse,” followed in November 1971.
In July 1972, Stewart released the studio album “Never a Dull Moment,” which peaked at No. 1 in the U.K. and No. 2 in the U.S. It contained three U.K. Top 10 singles with “You Wear It Well” (#1, #13 US), “Angel” (#4, #40 US) and “What Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me)” (#4). The album eventually earned gold certification in the U.S. The following year, Stewart and Faces launched their fourth and final album, “Ooh La La,” and in August 1973, he released his first compilation album, “Sing It Again Rod,” which went to No. 1 on the U.K. Albums chart and No.31 in the Billboard 200. The album went gold in the U.S. and platinum in Canada.
After the live album “Coast to Coast: Overture and Beginners” (credited to Rod Stewart/Faces, January 10, 1974), Stewart released the album “Smiler” in October 1974. It was a No. 1 hit album in the U.K. and made the Top 20 in the U.S. (#13). The singles “Farewell” and “Mine for Me” were also hits. The follow up album, “Atlantic Crossing,” was released on August 15, 1975, under Warner Bros. Records and produced by Tom Dowd. The album peaked at No. 1 on the U.K. Albums chart and No. 9 on the Billboard 200. It went gold in the U.S. and 4X platinum in Canada. The single “Sailing” stayed at No. 1 on the U.K. Singles chart for four weeks in September 1975, but was a minor hit in the U.S. (#58 Billboard Hot 100) despite the singer's huge popularity in the country. The next single, “This Old Heart of Mine” (1976), rose to No. 4 in the U.K. and No. 83 in the U.S. He had another U.K. No.1 hit single with Crazy Horse's song “I Don't Want to Talk About It” (released as a double A-side with “The First Cut Is the Deepest” in 1977).
Stewart released the compilation album “The Best of Rod Stewart” in April 1976. The album went to No. 18 in the U.K. and No. 90 on the Billboard 200 and was eventually certified gold in the U.S. His career gained a significant boost in America later that same year with the release of the album “A Night on the Town,” again produced by Dowd. Another U.K. No. 1 hit album, it went to No.2 on the Billboard 200 and received double multi platinum certification in the U.S. The album spawned the popular singles “Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright)” (#1 US, #5 UK), “The Killing of Georgie (Part I and II)” (#30 US, #5 UK) and “The First Cut Is the Deepest” (#21 US, #1 UK). In November 1977, he launched the eight studio album “Foot Loose & Fancy Free,” which rose to No. 2 in the U.S. and No. 3 in the U.K. Thanks to the successful singles “You're in My Heart (The Final Acclaim)” (#3 UK, #4 US), “Hot Legs” (#5 UK, #28 US) and “I Was Only Joking” (#5 UK, #22 US), the album earned triple multi platinum in the U.S. The ninth album, “Blondes Have More Fun,” followed a year later on November 24, 1978. The album went to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and gave the singer another triple multi platinum release in the U.S. The single “Da Ya Think I'm Sexy” was a hit in the United States and United Kingdom. Stewart closed out the decade by releasing the album “Greatest Hits, Vol.1” on October 12, 1979, which was a No.1 hit in the U.K. and a Top 30 hit in the U.S. (#22). It was certified triple multi platinum in the U.S.
During the 1980s, Stewart recorded six studio albums, one live album, 1982's “Absolutely Live,” and one compilation album, 1989's “Storyteller - The Complete Anthology: 1964-1990.” The tenth album, “Foolish Behaviour,” was released on November 21, 1980, and peaked at No. 4 in the U.K. and No. 12 on the U.S. charts. It was certified platinum in the U.K. and U.S. and produced the popular single “Passion.” “Tonight I'm Yours” followed on November 6, 1981. It charted at No. 11 on the Billboard 200 and No. 8 in the U.K. and spawned three charted singles with the title track “Tonight I'm Yours (Don't Hurt Me),” “Young Turks” and the cover song “Young.” The album also contained the U.S. rock hits “Jealous” (#44) and “Tora, Tora, Tora (Out with the Boys)” (#38). After “Body Wishes” (June 10, 1983), which produced the U.K. No. 1 hit singles “Baby Jane” “Camouflage” (1984) and “Every Beat Of My Heart” (1986), the singer launched the studio album “Out Of Order” on May 23, 1988. The album made the top 20 in the U.K. and U.S. and was certified double multi platinum in the U.S. It featured the hit singles “Lost In You” (#12 US), “Forever Young” (#12 US), “My Heart Can't Tell You No” (#4 US) and “Crazy About Her” (#11 US).
On March 25, 1991, Stewart released the album “Vagabond Heart,” which rose to No. 2 on the U.K. Albums chart and No. 10 in the U.S. It yielded five singles with “It Takes Two” (1990, #5 UK), “Rhythm of My Heart” (#5 US), “The Motown Song” (#10 US), a cover for Robbie Robertson's song “Broken Arrow” (#20 US) and “Rebel Heart” (#17 US Rock chart). The album went platinum in the U.S. Stewart, however, did not resurface with an album of new material until four years later with “A Spanner In The Works,” which was released on May 29, 1995. It went to No.4 in the U.K. and No. 35 on the U.S. Albums chart and was certified gold in the U.S. The album produced five singles, including “Leave Virginia Alone” (#52 US), “You're the Star” (#19 UK), “Lady Luck” (#56 UK) and “Purple Heather” (#16 UK). The album “When We Were the New Boys” followed on June 1, 1998. In the U.K., the album rose to No. 2 and went gold, but only peaked at No. 44 in the U.S. It featured three singles with the title track “When We Were the New Boys” (#75 Germany), “Rocks” (#55 UK) and “Ooh La La” (#16 UK and #39 US). 1990s also saw Stewart release the live album “Unplugged...and Seated” (1993), which rose to No. 2 in the U.S. and U.K. and earned triple multi platinum certification in the U.S. He also released the compilation albums “Downtown Train - Selections from the Storyteller Anthology” (1990, #20 US) and the platinum album “If We Fall In Love Tonight” (1996, #19 US).
The album “Human” was launched on March 21, 2001, and marked his first and only release with Atlantic Records. Produced by Bob Dickins, the album peaked at No. 50 on the Billboard 200 and No. 9 in the U.K. It produced the singles “Run Back Into Your Arms,” “I Can't Deny It” and “Don't Come Around Here.” “I Can't Deny It” rose to No. 26 on the U.K. Singles chart and No. 18 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. The follow up album, “It Had To Be You: The Great American Songbook,” Stewart's first album of pop standards, was released on October 22, 2002, under J Records. It went to No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and No. 8 on the U.K. Albums chart and triple multi platinum in the U.S. The album produced two US Adult Contemporary hits with the songs “These Foolish Things” (#13) and “They Can't Take That Away from Me” (#27). On October 14, 2003, he launched his next album of Pop standards, “As Time Goes By: The Great American Songbook 2,” which peaked at No. 2 and was certified double multi platinum in the U.S. It generated two singles with “Time After Time” and “Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered” (with Cher).
Stewart launched “Stardust: The Great American Songbook 3” on October 19, 2004. The album rocketed to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and No. 3 in the U.K., where it received platinum certification. The album won Stewart a Grammy in 2005 for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. It featured the popular duet songs “What a Wonderful World” (with Stevie Wonder), “Blue Moon” (with Eric Clapton) and “Baby, It's Cold Outside” (with Dolly Parton).
In October 2005, Stewart released the fourth album of Pop standards, “Thanks for the Memory: The Great American Songbook, Volume IV,” which rose to No. 2 in the U.S. and No. 3 in the U.K. It scored the Adult Contemporary hit singles “I've Got a Crush on You” (with Diana Ross) and “I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm.” “Still The Same... Great Rock Classics Of Our Time” followed in October 2006. Produced by John Shanks and Clive Davis, the album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and peaked at No. 4 in the U.K. It spawned two hit singles with “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” and “Fooled Around and Fell in Love.” In October 2009, Stewart released the album “Soulbook,” which went to No. 4 in the U.S. and No. 9 in the U.K.
In the new millennium, Stewart released “The Story So Far - The Very Best Of Rod Stewart” (2001), “The Complete American Songbook” (2007) and “The Rod Stewart Sessions 1971-1998” (2009).
Grammy: Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, “Stardust ... The Great American Songbook Volume III,” 2005
World Music: Diamond Award, 2001