Born on this day, 10th January 1945: Rod Stewart.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Rod – The Faces were the first ever live gig I went to, and they didn’t disappoint. They fell onto the stage, clutching bottles of wins, cigarettes in hand and played a blinding if not somewhat shambolic show. But I didn’t find Rod sexy. I was a 14-year-old boy at my first gig; I was far more impressed with Ronnie Woods’s ability to hold a cig in his mouth whilst playing the guitar – for two hours. And I wanted a pair of bright yellow loon pants, just like the ones Rod was wearing, but luckily, my local C&A didn’t have them in stock!
Rod was born and raised in North London, England, (his father was Scottish, which explains his love of tartan!).
His introduction to rock and roll was hearing Little Richard’s 1956 hit “The Girl Can’t Help It” and then later seeing Bill Haley & His Comets in concert. Rod has stated that the first single he ever bought was Eddie Cochran’s “C’mon Everybody”.
With is love for rock & roll, his father bought him his first guitar in 1959; the first song he learned was the folk tune “It Takes a Worried Man to Sing a Worried Song”
In early 1962, Stewart joined The Ray Davies Quartet, (as their lead singer), later known as the successful British band The Kinks. On leaving the group Stewart worked with various acts including The Hoochie Coochie Men, Steampacket, and Shotgun Express, before caming to prominence in the late 1960s and early 1970s with The Jeff Beck Group and then Faces.
Stewart’s 1971 solo album Every Picture Tells a Story made him a household name when the B-side of his minor hit “Reason to Believe”, “Maggie May”, started receiving radio play. The album and the single hit number one in both the US and the UK simultaneously, a chart first. “Maggie May” was also named in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll, which is one of three songs by him to appear on that list.
Stewart has now sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best selling artists of all time. In the UK, he has had six consecutive number one albums, and his tally of 62 hit singles include 31 that reached the top 10, six of which gained the number one position. He has had 16 top ten singles in the US, with four of these reaching number one.
Stewart once said every man needs a hobby and he is a keen model railway enthusiast. His 23 x 124-foot HO scale layout in his Los Angeles home is modelled after the New York Central and the Pennsylvania Railroads during the 1940s. Called the Three Rivers City, the layout was featured in the cover story of the December 2007 and December 2010 issues of Model Railroader Magazine. In the 2007 article Stewart said that he would rather be in a model railroad magazine than a music magazine.
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