1960-1969 "Rod the Mod" Early CareerBorn in London, Stewart started as an apprentice soccer player with Brentford F.C. based in West London. He soon switched to a career in music joining folk singer Wizz Jones in the early 1960's being deported from Spain for vagrancy. On his return to England, he went to Birmingham to join Jimmy Powell & the five Dimensions as a vocalist and blues harp player. The band would record a single for Pye Records with Stewart on blues harp. He would also play the instrument on Millie Small's "My Boy Lollipop" which became a huge hit in 1964.
Rod Stewart returned to London in 1964 to join Long John Baldry's Hoochie Coochie Men which recorded a single "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" which failed to chart. The Hoochie Coochie Men evolved into Steampacket featuring Stewart, Baldry, Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger, Mickey Waller and Rick Brown. Steampacket supported the Rolling Stones and the Walker Brothers in the northern summer of 1965 and would also record an album that would not be released until 1970 when Stewart had become well-known in musical circles. Stewart would also earn the nickname "Rod the Mod" in that period after an appearance on a documentary on the Mod movement.
Steampacket broke up in early 1966 with Stewart joining Shotgun Express as lead vocalist with Beryl Marsden. Shotgun Express also contained Mick Fleetwood and Peter Green who would go on to form Fleetwood Mac and Peter Mardens. Shotgun Express would release one single before breaking up.
Stewart then joined Jeff Beck's the Jeff Beck Group as vocalist. In 1968, their first album Truth which became a hit on both sides of the Atlantic and the group toured extensively. The second album Beck-ola also was a hit in the middle of 1969 but the group broke up by the end of the year.
Never A Dull Moment Career Success 1969-1975The US band Cactus offered Stewart a job as lead singer but he decided to join The Faces with Ron Wood who was a bass player with the Jeff Beck Group switching to guitar. The Faces were previously the Small Faces until the departure of Steve Marriott. Stewart also signed a solo contract with An Old Raincoat Won't Let You Down being his first solo album in 1969 - known as the Rod Stewart album in the US.
The Faces released their debut album First Step in early 1970 with a rock and roll style similar to the Rolling Stones. While the album did better in the UK than the US, the Faces quickly earned a strong live following. Stewart would release his second album Gasoline Alley with Martin Quittendon as his lead guitarist supplying a mandolin sound. He also launched a solo tour
Stewart's 1971 album Every Picture Tells a Story made him a household name when the B-side of his minor hit "Reason to Believe" "Maggie May" started receiving radio play, the album and the single hit #1 in both the U.S. and the UK in September. "Maggie May" was also named in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll, which is his only song to appear on that list.
The second Faces album "Long Player" was released in early 1971 which enjoyed greater chart success than First Step. The Faces also got their only U.S. top forty hit with "Stay With Me" from their third album A Nod is as Good as a Wink to a Blind Horse released in late 1971. This album reached the top ten on both sides of the Atlantic on the back of the success of Every Picture Tells A Story.
The Faces had an extensive tour in 1972 with growing tension in the band over Stewart's solo career enjoying more success than the bands. Stewart released Never A Dull Moment in the same year reaching number two on the US album charts and number one in the UK and enjoyed further critical success.
The Faces released their final album Ooh La La which reached number one in the UK and number 21 in 1973. The Faces went on their final tour in 1974 to support Ooh La La and the single "Pool Hall Richard." Growing tension in the band over Stewart being more successful than the band. The band would formally break up in 1975 with Ron Wood joining the Rolling Stones as their guitar player and Stewart pursuing his solo career.
Stewart would release the Smiler album in late 1974 which proved to be a disappointment reaching only number 13 on the Billboard pop album charts with the single "Mine For Me" only reaching number 91 on the Billboard pop singles charts. Smiler is generally regarded as Stewart's weakest album of the seventies.
Atlantic Crossing 1975-1981Later in his career 1970s, Stewart began to produce more pop-oriented music. He recorded Foolish Behaviour and Hot Legs, and got another #1 hit with 1978's "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?"
Out of Order 1981-2001After a slump during the early 1980s, Stewart started spending less time recording music and playing the role of famous rock star. In 1993, he recorded the hit song "All For Love" with Sting and Bryan Adams for the soundtrack to the movie The Three Musketeers.
A musical featuring many of Stewart's songs opened November 7, 2003 at London's Victoria Palace theatre. It is written and directed by Ben Elton, who previously created a similar production, We Will Rock You, with music by Queen.
Rod and Ron are still friends and say they are collaborating on an album. The working title is I'll Struth, You'll Sing and will be a back to the roots collage off songs written by Rod Stewart/Ron Wood.
Stewart has been known for his liaisons with attractive women, including Britt Ekland and was later married to Alana Hamilton and Rachel Hunter. He fathered six children. He was quoted as saying that he'd rather have his penis cut off than cheat on her. He was later sued for divorce on the grounds of adultery.
On May 25 Rhino Records releases a box set of four CDs with work from the Faces called Five Guys Went In To A Bar.
Crooner 2002-In recent years, Stewart has concentrated on singing 1930s and 1940s pop standards from the "Great American Songbook", written by songwriters such as Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin, with great popular success but middling critical success.
In 2004, Stewart is reuniting with Ron Wood for concerts of Faces material.