“Rarely has a singer had as full and unique a talent as Rod Stewart — a writer who offered profound lyricism and fabulous self-deprecating humor, teller of tall tales and honest heartbreaker, he had an unmatched eye for the tiny details around which lives turn, shatter, and reform — and a voice to make those details indelible. His solo albums were defined by two special qualities: warmth, which was redemptive, and modesty, which was liberating. If ever any rocker chose the role of everyman and lived up to it, it was Rod Stewart.” –The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll (1980)
Typical. You wait decades for a brand new Rod Stewart song to show up, and eleven come along all at once.
Consequently this new collection from the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and Grammy Living Legend is a double landmark. It’s not just his first album of original material for nearly two decades; it also represents a concentrated burst of songwriting activity which is unprecedented in his five-decade career and signals the rediscovery of a gift that Stewart long since thought had deserted him.
The world knows Stewart to be a man of many facets: the fully paid-up, card-carrying rock star; the father of eight; the full-time curator of one of history’s most famous haircuts; the tireless Celtic fan; the extremely handy soccer player and provider, even now, of a devilishly in-swinging corner from the left-hand side.
The world also knows Stewart to be a songwriter – though not so much in recent years. True, in this area, Stewart has already logged more than his share of keepers – songs that will be around for as long as people listen to pop music. He is the lyricist and melodist behind such staples as ‘Tonight’s The Night’, ‘You Wear It Well’, ‘You’re In My Heart’, ‘The Killing of Georgie’ and the indelible ‘Maggie May’ – all of them miniature masterpieces of story-telling.
Yet somewhere along the way, the source of those lyrical yet direct and instantly nerve-touching narratives appeared to dry up. To the point, even, where, at the beginning of this
century, Stewart could look back at his own catalogue from a bemused and baffled distance. As he put it, ‘It was almost as if a person I didn’t know used to write those songs.’