in -» bed)?“ _
- ‘ ‘“ j .. and now he wants to, bum Scottish scluli
With the bitterness of hindsight Britt Ekland confessed. ‘I deceived myself into believing that Rod would never stray back into the environmental hazards of the pop world.’ Specifically. ‘the environmental hazards‘, at least as far as (Miss Ekland were concerned, were leggy pneumatic blondes upon whom Stewart‘s eyes and other parts of his anatomy would incorrigably rest. Judging by recent interviews his taste hasn‘t matured. Now 4|, the cactus-coiffured, biological freak (‘the sexiest beanstalk on two legs‘, according to the rejected Swede) is
in the process of making a COME
BACK and to launch it has chosen US. He will play the 10,000 capacity
Scottish Exhibition Centre on June 30 and July 1 and, for good measure
has released a new single, ‘Love Touch‘.
Quite why anyone without a gun to his head would want to adopt Scottish nationality beats me but no one ﬂaunts his tartan more passionately than Rod Stewart. True
he is of Scottish parentage but he was
5 born in Highgate in North London, his sole formative experience of
‘ Scotland being pictures of tanner ba‘
heroes on the walls of his brother‘s
; He has a fanatical love of football.
In 1961 he signed professionally for
i Brentford Town but he soon
1 abandoned it because the wages
; were so low. He follows the Scottish national team around the globe in his private jet and has recently returned from Mexico. Now he has said he
8 The List—2T June - 1‘0July
would like to do an Elton John and buy a soccer club. Ayr United had a lucky escape last year.
It‘s all a far cry from the early Seventies, when summer was more than just a break in the clouds, when it seemed that everyone had swapped their styluses for Brillo pads, and Stewart belted out the hits which made him Rolling Stones’ rock musician ofthe year 1971, ‘the best white soul voice in the business’. Even as late as 1979 he was being referred to, authoritatively, as ‘rock music‘s reigning male sex symbol‘.
His music career began in the sixties after he had thrown the spade in on gravedigging, a job whose working class cred added to his ‘one ofthe lads‘ image, but which, in fact, he stuck for only one week.
He infiltrated the London club scene, at the time dominated by the Stones, the Yardbirds and the Who, and began playing harmonica, which was employed to some effect on Millie‘s shockingly cheerful ‘My Boy Lollipop‘. Consolidation ofthat success was slow in coming but by 1964 he was vocalist for Long John Baldry’s Hoochie Coochie Men where he acquired the nickname Rod the Mod because of his dandyish style ofdress.
Though more conservative on stage these days — or is it because everyone else is more outrageous? — he still prefers sprayed-on trousers, the hallmark of his seventies stage shows. When he and Ekland were doing their Burton and Taylor act - the swanning not the spending, for Rod keeps his hands in his pocket —
i he took to wearing Britt‘s knickers : over leopard skin, adding even
i greater piquancy to a performance
l not normally lacking in libido.
After Baldry disbanded the Hoochie Coochie Men, Stewart joined the Jeff Beck Group and toured the States. Then there was The Faces which he joined with Ron Wood and to which he was attached for seven years and cut seven albums. But these were overshadowed in 1971 when Stewart launched his solo career with an anthem to doomed love, ‘Maggie May‘. That year it was second best selling single to George Harrison‘s saccharine ‘My Sweet Lord‘ but it edged out ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep' by a group whose name shall not be immortalist in black ink. The album on which it appeared, Every Picture Tells a Story, with its ~ combination of the sepulchral (‘Amazing Grace‘) and the soulful, reached Numero Uno both sides of the Atlantic. In Britain there have been five more chart-topping singles, six L.P.s. A phenomenon was born.
1971 was the start ofthe Rod Stewart years, an epoch of philandering, and fruity, throaty songs. Not for nothing is he known as the King of Bedrock. With Stewart there truly was ‘never a dull moment‘ as he promoted his hard-drinking, hard loving, keepie uppie image. He wore it well and hits followed blondes (Susan George, Bebe Buell, Joanna Lumley, Alanna Hamilton, Liz Treadwell and the ubiquitous Britt) with monotonous regularity
The return of the Tartan Terror. Alan Taylor on Rod Stewart, the front-stage, front-page rock star.
6 We given up asing wome
and little variation the 8-bar theme. In 1975 he had a massive hit with one of the few pop records to be promoted by the Royal Navy. ‘Sailing‘, but it brought in its wake criticisms. Was the proles‘ pet losing his earthy qualities in the dolce vita ofshow biz? In fact, Tinsel Town always appealed to Stewart from the days when he listened to Al Jolson. Fading fast was the ‘folk‘ side of his nature which had led him to join the Aldermaston ‘Ban the Bomb' marches in the early seventies. Seventies-style Rod the Mod veered pro-Tory and only lately was he removed from the United Nation‘s Centre Against Apartheid register of entertainers who have performed in Apartheid South Africa. For his appearance in Sun City Stewart was reputed to have pocketed $1,000,000. He went, he said, ‘because I wanted to see what it was like for myself.‘ He‘s similarly defensive about his non-participation in Live Aid, though he has been conspicuous at other benefit concerts, particularly those AIDS related.
His last hit was a typically raucous ditty, ‘Some Guys have all the Luck‘ which spent ten weeks in the charts in 1984, reaching 15. Stewart is used to better but his assertion that, ‘I‘ve got so many musical ideas I want to follow through — like an album of ballads or an album ofFifties hits.‘ lends weight to one critic‘s assertion that he‘s ‘musically bankrupt‘. But if he is at least he has something to fall back on. (Alan Taylor)