Rod Stewart is a renowned British singer-songwriter, largely popular in the US and the UK. After having brief stints with various bands, he got his first slice of success with the Jeff Beck Group and eventually rose to prominence with the band, Faces, introducing the blues-rock genre. Along with a group career, he launched his solo career and released albums that infused rock, R&B, soul music and folk music. Some of his best-selling albums included ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’, ‘Never a Dull Moment’, ‘Blondes Have More Fun’, ‘Tonight I’m Yours’, ‘Atlantic Crossing’, and ‘Great American Songbook’ series. He became a household name with some of his chart-topping singles, such as ‘Maggie May’, ‘Tonight’s the Night’, ‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?’, ‘Have I Told You Lately’, and ‘Downtown Train’, with his signature raspy singing voice. During his over five-decade career, he became a superstar in the rock and pop genre, giving numerous solo hit singles across the world, especially in the UK and the US. With over 130 million records sold worldwide, he is regarded as one of the best-selling British singers of all time. He has been honored with several awards for his services to music
Childhood & Early Life
Roderick David Stewart was born on January 10, 1945, in Highgate, North London, to Scottish father Robert Stewart and English mother Elsie Gilbart.
After failing to clear his eleven-plus exam at Highgate Primary School, he was enrolled at William Grimshaw Secondary Modern School, Hornsey.
He learnt playing the guitar at the age of 14 and started performing on hit songs of Lonnie Donegan and Chas McDevitt with his school friends in a skiffle group, Kool Kats.
After quitting school at 15, he took up odd jobs to support his family, working as a silk screen printer, newspaper delivery boy, grave digger, and fence erector.
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Starting 1961, he worked with different bands, namely, Jimmy Powell & the Five Dimensions, Hoochie Coochie Men, Steampacket, and Shotgun Express, and had his share of flop releases.
He joined Jeff Back Group in 1967 as a vocalist and got his first dose of success. In 1968, the heavy blues-rock group rose to popularity with their first album ‘Truth’, which reached No. 15 on the US albums chart.
The group disbanded after the release of its second album ‘Beck-Ola’ in 1969. Soon after, he joined the English band, Faces, and released its debut album ‘First Step’ in 1970.
He launched his solo career with his debut album ‘An Old Raincoat Won’t Let You Down’ in 1969, followed by ‘Gasoline Alley’ in 1970.
The band got its first Top 40 hit with the single ‘Stay with Me’ from ‘A Nod Is as Good as a Wink… To a Blind Horse’ in 1971.
His thriving solo career aroused tensions within the band which continued while touring in 1972. The release of his chart-topping 1973 album ‘Never a Dull Moment’, added to the fury.
In 1973, the band recorded their final album ‘Ooh La La’, after which they embarked a world tour and broke-up in 1975.
In 1975, he shifted base to Los Angeles and recorded hit albums - ‘A Night on the Town’ (1976) and ‘Foot Loose & Fancy Free’ (1977), with singles ‘Tonight’s the Night’ and ‘You’re in my Heart’ topping the music charts.
His 1981 platinum album ‘Tonight I’m Yours’ included elements of new wave and snythpop, after which his career started slowing down.
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He bounced back with his 1988 album ‘Out of Order’ with its entire singles hitting the Billboard Hot 100, while his single ‘Downtown Train’ from ‘Storyteller’ (1989) reached No. 3 on Billboard Hot 100.
He recorded an MTV Unplugged concert, with Ronnie Wood, in 1993, which resulted in the top-selling album ‘Unplugged… and Seated’, featuring the hit single ‘Have I Told You Lately’.
His other albums included ‘A Spanner in the Works’ (1995), ‘If We Fall in Love Tonight’ (1996), ‘When We Were the New Boys’ (1998), and ‘The Story So Far: The Very Best of Rod Stewart’ (2001).
He recorded four volumes of ‘The Great American Songbook’ series – ‘It Had To Be You’ (2002), ‘As Time Goes By’ (2003), ‘Stardust’ (2004), and ‘Thanks for the Memory’ (2005), with remakes of the classic songs of 1930s and 1940s.
In 2010, he recorded a fifth edition of the Great American Songbook series – ‘Fly Me to the Moon’.
He published his autobiography ‘Rod: The Autobiography’ in 2012, following which he released his Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart topper ‘Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!’
In 1971, his third solo album ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’, featuring the single ‘Maggie May’, made him a superstar overnight with both the album and single topping the charts in the US and the UK.
His 1978 album ‘Blondes Have More Fun’ blended disco with his music formula, evident from his smash hit single ‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?, which sold over 4 million albums and topped the Billboard album charts.
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In 1975, he released his chartbuster album ‘Atlantic Crossing’, featuring the top UK hit single ‘Sailing’, which remains his best-selling single in the UK till date.
Awards & Achievements
In 1971, his single ‘Maggie May’ was included in the ‘500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll’ at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
He won the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Music’ award at the Brit Awards in 1993.
In 1994, he was inducted into the ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’ and made a Guinness Book of World Record for performing the largest free rock concert attracting 4.2 million people at Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro.
He won the Grammy Award for ‘Stardust… The Great American Songbook Volume III’ in the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album category in 2005.
He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005 and was inducted into the ‘UK Music Hall of Fame’ in 2006.
In 2007, he received his Order of the British Empire medal towards his contribution to music.
He was voted #17 on the list of ‘Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Pop Artists’ by Billboard magazine in 2008.
He was ranked #33 and #59 in the ‘Top 100 Greatest Singers of all Time’ by Q Magazine and Rolling Stone respectively.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1962, he had a brief affair with London art student, Suzannah Boffey, which ended after the birth of their daughter, Sarah Streeter, in 1963, who was put up for adoption.
He had two children from his first marriage to Alana Hamilton in 1979 – daughter Kimberley Alana Stewart (1979) and son Sean Roderick Stewart (1980). The couple divorced in 1984.
He fathered a daughter, Ruby Stewart (1987), from his model girlfriend Kelly Emberg, whom he romanced during 1983-1990.
He married model Rachel Hunter in 1990 and had two children – daughter Renee Cecili Stewart (1992) and son Liam McAlister Stewart (1994). The duo separated in 1999 and divorced in 2006.
He started dating covergirl-turned-photographer Penny Lancaster in 1999 and had a son, Alastair Wallace Stewart, in 2005. The couple married in 2007 and had another son, Aiden Patrick Stewart, in 2011.
He was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2000 and underwent successful surgery soon after.
Rod Stewart has a net worth of about $235 million