Name: Roderick David Stewart
DOB: January 10, 1945
Where: North London, England
Years Active: 1964-present
Occupation: singer-songwriter, musician
Nickname: Rod the Mod
Instruments: Vocals, guitar, harmonica
Roderick David Stewart was born in Highgate, North London, the youngest of 5 children of Robert Stewart and Elsie Gilbart. His father was a Scottish master builder in Leith, Ediburgh, while his mother Elsie was English and had grown up in Upper Holloway in North London. Something a little strange about the time when he was born is he was born at home during WWII, right after a German V-2 missile warhead fell on the Highgate police station. Growing up, he listened to things like Al Jolson, Little Richards, Bill Haley and His Comets. In 1960, he joined a skiffle group called the Kool Kats, playing music from Lonnie Donnegan and Chas McDevitt
He left school at age 15 to briefly work as a silk screen printer. Since his father was a great fan of football, he thought about becoming a football player. He didn't like the early morning travel to West London and he was hindered by his height, 5'11'', and sometimes pushed himself so hard he threw up on the course. His job was to clean the boots of the first team. So he decided to go into music. Stewart concluded, "Well, a musician's life is a lot easier and I can also get drunk and make music, and I can't do that and play football. I plumped for music ... They're the only two things I can do actually: play football and sing."
1961-1963 Early efforts
He worked in the family shop, then as a newpaper delivery boy then a grave digger in Highgate Cemetery. He later worked in a North Finchley funeral parlor and then as a sign writer and fence erector. He started listening to more British and American folk music, like Ewan MacColl, Alex Campbell, Woody Guthrie, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Derroll Adams. At the time, he became involved in Nuclear Disarmament protests on Trafalgar Square and was arrested 3 times. And he thought these protests were a way of taking girls to bed.
In 1962, he began hanging around with folk singer Wizz Jones. He took up playing harmonica, and on several trips over the next 18 months, Jones and Stewart took their act to Brighton and then Paris, sleeping under bridges over the River Seine and then Barcelona. Stewart was arrested and deported from Spain for vagrancy in 1963. In 1963, his look dramatically changed. He took in the 'Mod' style that was sweeping all over England at the time. He styled his hair in the rooster style that would become a tradmark, and from seeing Otis Redding in concert, he became fascinated by R&B and soul music. He joined up with an R&B group called The Dimensions in October 1963 as a harmonica player, ans was still living at home and working in his brother's painting and frame shop. The group played weekly at the Studio 51 club, where The Rolling Stones often played, and by watching Mick Jagger play harmonica, his skill increased on the instrument.
1964-1967 Rod the Mod
Around Jan. 5, 1964, he was drunk and waiting on the Twickenham railway station, playing Smokestack Lightnin on his harmonica after seeing a show by Cyril Davies and the All Stars at Eel Pie Island. All Stars singer Long John Baldry offered him a job. So by quitting his dayjob at 19, he overcame his shyness and nerves, and became a visible part of the group, which earned the nickname Rod the Mod, which came from his haircut and style of dress. He went on a solo career and played some concerts in 1964 and early 1965. And Giorgio Gomelsky, known for being the manager of The Crawdaddy Club, where the Stones often played, put together a band called the Steampacket, which featured Baldry, Stewart, Brian Auger, Julie Driscoll, Micky Waller, Vic Briggs, and Rick Brown. They played a warm up act for The Rolling Stones in July 1965. They toured that summer with The Walker Brothers and The Rolling Stones, ending at the London Palladium.
1967-1969 Jeff Beck Group
In Ferbruary 1967, he joined the Jeff Beck Group. This band featured Ronnie Wood, who he met in a London bar in 1967, who would later go on to join the Rolling Stones. This band went through frequent changes in drummers and problems with manager Mickie Most.
1969-1971 Solo Career
When Steve Mariott left the Small Faces, Ronnie Wood was announced as the replacement for the guitarist, and Stewart joined as new lead singer. They joined up with existing members Ronnie Lane, Ian McLagan, Kenney Jones who decided to call the band just Faces. Their debut album, First Step, came out in early 1970, with a rock and roll style similar to The Rolling Stones.
1974-1975 Smiler and Faces tour
In 1975, Stewart released his Smiler album. In Britain, it went to #1 and the single Farewell went to #7, and the single Mine for Me went to #91 on Bilboard pop singles. In 1975, The Faces toured the US twice, with Ronnie Wood occasionally playing with The Rolling Stones in between, before Stewart announced the break up of the band.
Rod applied for US citizenship in 1975, ending his relationship with Britt Ekland and protested the UK tax taking 84% of his income. In 1976, he did a cover of the Beatles hit Get Back for his album All This and World War II. In 1977, his cover of the Cat Stevens hit The First Cut is the Deepest went to #1 on the UK charts, and his hit The Killing of Georgie was a Top 40 hit for him because it was about the murder of a gay man
His 1977 hit Hot Legs got alot of radio airplay along with the song I Was Only Joking. His look once again changed, this one changing to a more glam rock look, including spandex clothes and make up. His cross ove rhit Do Ya Think I'm Sexy reached #5 on the Billboard black charts due to it's disco rhythm.
He was criticised for breaking a widely observed cultural boycott of aparthied South Africa by playing at the Sun City resort as part of his Body Wishes(1983) and Camoflage tours(1984). In 1994, he was inducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and on Dec. 31, 1994, he played a concert on the Copacabana beach in Rio De Janeiro to 4.2 million people and this got in to Guiness Book of World Records for largest outdoor concert in history.
By 2002, he had sold over 100 million records. He was still singing 1930s and 194os pop hits from the Great American Songbook, which featured people like George Gershwin. In 2004, he reunited with former Faces member Ronnie Wood for concerts with Faces material. In 2005, he released the Great American Songbook 5, which included covers of CCR's Have You Ever Seen the Rain? and he also appeared on Dancing with the Stars. On July 1, 2007, he performed Maggie May, Sailing, Baby Jane, at a memorial concert for Princess Diana at Wembley Stadium in London.
In may 2000, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and underwent surgery the same month. Since this threatened his famous voice, he had to learn how to sing again.