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Rod Stewart

When Rod Stewart, AKA "Ol' Rooster Head" for his famous bristly 'do, released It Had to Be You ... The Great American Songbook, in 2002, the BBC's Michael Fitzsimmons somewhat cattily remarked, "Rod has long refused to let musical credibility stand in the way of kitsch, and has passed from the position of vital artist to the status of karaoke favourite." Fans saw it otherwise, embracing both singer and album with fervor, but indeed the latter-day Stewart has landed somewhat far afield of his roots in the London blues scene. The raspy-voiced crooner first emerged into the spotlight in the band Steampacket, with Long John Baldry and Julie Driscoll -- a band that fell apart right after its successful tour opening for the Rolling Stones. Stewart soon landed in the Jeff Back Group with the legendary ex-Yardbird as well as future Stone Ron Wood. That group pioneered the guitar-wizard-with-charismatic-frontman style that was to inspire droves of heavy metal bands; it disintegrated shortly after the legendary album Beck-Ola's release in 1969. From there, Stewart and Wood joined the remaining members of the Small Faces in a new group known simply as The Faces. For the next few years, Stewart released solo albums concurrently with Faces albums, both enjoying modest success; then his Every Picture Tells a Story went to #1 in both the U.S. and the UK, spawning numerous hit singles in the process, in 1971. By 1975, as Stewart's solo career continued to soar and the singer relocated to Los Angeles, The Faces had disbanded. In his own career, Stewart successfully managed to adapt to changing trends from psychedelic to disco to new wave well into the '80s. And despite occasional periods of being more in the tabloids than on the charts, Stewart remains an active and well-received performer today.

Written by: Mary Eisenhart

http://www.rodstewartonline.com

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