It’s hard to believe but this January 10, 2016 was rock legend, Rod Stewart’s 72nd birthday! While he’s been in the press for various personal matters, it’s worth noting Rod Stewart’s presence in the pop and rock music world. From his beginnings in the British rhythm and blues rock scene of the 1960’s to being made a Commander of the British Empire, Rod Stewart has made a great journey through entertainment and left an indelible mark on popular music.
With a dry yet powerful voice and the ability to surround himself with some of the best talents, Rod Stewart is, as they say, a true rock icon. While many people might have decried him for some of his personal life matters that have been featured in the tabloids, Rod Stewart is rock and pop singer par excellence. He’s also written several of his own hits and toured extensively. Now that we’ve celebrated Rod Stewart’s birthday, it’s time to take a look at Rod Stewart, his life, and his music.
#1 Roots, Rock, & Rod—The son of a Scottish builder and an English housewife, Roderick David Stewart grew up in London. Rod Stewart’s family encouraged him in athletics and for a time, he played football (soccer) for his Middlesex boys’ team. After leaving school when he was 15, Stewart worked a variety of jobs, including grave plotting in a cemetery, silkscreen printing, and fence building. Eventually drawing on his love of music and early rock and roll, skiffle, blues, and soul, he began singing in clubs and busking on the street, often playing a harmonica.
#2 Classic Rock Roots—Some like the ballads, others love the disco, and some thumb their nose at all of it. Regardless, while fans and critics of Rod Stewart’s music in various incarnations praise or bemoan him, it’s important to note how raw Rod Stewart’s music was during his early years. Like Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Ginger Baker, Keith Richards, and other noted rock and roll alumni, Rod Stewart began singing during the 1960’s British rhythm and blues scene. Eventually, he fronted the Jeff Beck Group that garnered him some positive notices for his raspy vocals with both U.K. and U.S. audiences, inspiring many bands and creative types of that generation. For example, in Martin Scorsese’s Casino, the sequence where Sam Rothstein (Robert De Niro) spots two card table cheaters, Rod Stewart sings a cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s “I Ain’t Superstitious” as part of the Jeff Beck Group on the soundtrack. Later, Stewart fronted the band, Faces with future Rolling Stone Ron Wood, whose hits included “Stay With Me” and that curiously served inspiration for punk bands the Sex Pistols and the Clash.
#3 Big Breakthrough—While there are many classic Rod Stewart albums, it was his 1971 album, Every Picture Tells a Story that broke Stewart as a solo performer. The album was produced by Stewart and featured such notable music personnel including Ron Wood, Long John Baldry, and ex-Small Faces Ronnie Lanne, Kenney Jones, and Ian McLagan. It featured many classic Rod Stewart songs such as “Maggie May,” “Reason to Believe,” “Mandolin Wind,” and the album’s title track that he performs to this day. In 2012, it was included in Rolling Stone magazine’s top 500 albums of all time.
The 1970’s proved to be a great decade of success for Stewart, as he had further hits such as “Sailing,” “Hot Legs,” and “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” These commercial hits further presented Stewart as a stylish solo act, but less as a hard rock singer.
#4 Reeling in the Years…and Earnings—It’s no surprise that Rod Stewart has reaped the rewards of his many album productions and live appearances. While it’s not certain how much he’s worth as of 2017, Rod Stewart’s net worth was estimated to be at over $220 million. This puts him on par on Bruce Springsteen and Phil Collins as famous music performers with similar earnings.
#5 Outside of Music—As with Rod Stewart’s age, his family legacy has reflected a long life. A well-known ladies’ man, Stewart has had romances with actresses such as Britt Ekland, Alana Hamilton, and Kay Lenz, as well as models, Dee Harrington, Kelly Emberg, Rachel Hunter, and now his current wife, Penny Lancaster. Rod Stewart’s children include an early child named Sarah who was put up for adoption, plus Kimberly, Sean, Ruby, Renee, Liam, Alastair, and Aiden.