Rod Stewart turns seventy-six today. The singer’s raspy voice, songwriting skills, and captivating performances have brought him worldwide fame. Over the years, Stewart has been part of several bands, but his real success came when he went solo. From his first taste of success to his comeback at the dawn of the millennium, we’re going to look back at some of the rockstar’s biggest moments.
Early Days and First Taste of Success
Rod Stewart was born into a middle-class London Family. He was born at home during the final days of World War II. The youngest of five siblings, Rod was spoiled as a child. According to his autobiography, his childhood was fantastically happy.
While Stewart wasn’t the best student, he was a star athlete and even thought about playing professional soccer for awhile. His father played amateur soccer and managed local teams. His love for the sport influenced Stewart early on.
The thing that Rod Stewart’s family loved more than football was music. They had a shared love for classic American performer Al Jolson. Stewart collected Jolson’s records and the family would play and sing his songs together. At 14, Rod’s father gave him his first guitar. He learned to play quickly and by the next year, he joined a band with some friends called Kool Kats. For the next seven years, he would play in several different bands while trying to get his solo career off the ground as well.
In 1967, Rod Stewart joined former Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck’s band. The creatively named Jeff Beck Group is where Stewart would get his first taste of musical success, according to Biography. They did a six-week tour of the United States and people here loved them.
When they released their first album, it failed to chart on their home soil. It would, however, reach the top twenty in the United States. Their second album and American tour were both a success. The album saw top-twenty success in the States and broke the top-40 in the UK. By 1969, the band dissolved and Rod was hungry for more.
Jeff Beck wanted to form another band with Rod Stewart. The raspy-voiced vocalist had other plans, though. It’s like the Oak Ridge Boys said, “Second place don’t get it son winners got to come in first/ There’s nothin’ worse than to take a drink that leaves you with a thirst.”
Rod Stewart had a taste for success now and he was, most definitely, thirsty for more.
Rod Stewart’s Breakout Hit
After The Jeff Beck Group split, Rod Stewart continued working on his solo career. In 1971, Stewart released “Every Picture Tells a Story,” his third solo album. He released a cover of the folk song “Reason to Believe” as a single and saw minor success with it. It was the B-side of the single that gave Stewart his first number one hit. That song was “Maggie May.”
“Maggie May” topped the charts in the United States, Canada, The United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia for multiple weeks. Rod Stewart would ride this wave of feme until the end of the 1980s. At that point, his fame tapered off and he entered relative obscurity.
In 2002 Rod Stewart recorded the first of four “Great American Songbook” albums. The series features American pop, jazz, theater standards performed by contemporary artists. Since Stewart grew up with many of the songs slated to be part of the collection, he was a perfect fit to record them.
In 2004, Rod Stewart earned his first Grammy Award for “Stardust: The Great American Songbook”
In 2016, Rod Stewart was given one of the highest honors a British citizen can receive. He was knighted. In October of that year, Rod Stewart bent the knee and became Sir Roderick Stewart, Commander of the British Empire. Stewart received the title because of his contribution to music and his philanthropy.