ROD: The Autobiography by Rod Stewart
The definitive life story from the ultimate rock star
The raucous road to fame. The supermodels. The hair.
In his first book, legendary rocker Rod Stewart delivers an all-access pass to his career, his love life, his experiences as a father and a son, and his chart-topping music, which continues to make history.
Beginning with his early days as Rod the Mod and his rollicking tours with the Faces, Rod Stewart has enjoyed a trailblazing career that has included being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, playing the world’s largest-ever concert (New Year’s Eve 1994, Copacabana Beach, Brazil), and continually making hits as a solo artist, ranging from “Maggie May,” “Young Turks,” and “Hot Legs” to “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy” (his brief flirtation with disco), not to mention his recent great American standards series, which accounts for more than 20 million of his staggering 200 million in lifetime record sales. Not bad, as he says, for a guy with a frog in his throat. Now, in his hugely entertaining storytelling style, he takes us behind the curtain in ROD: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY (Crown Archetype; On Sale October 23, 2012; Hardcover; $27.00).
• From north London to the world stage: The working class son of a Scottish plumber, Rod was raised in a working-class neighborhood that was slowly rebuilding itself after the Blitz. ROD captures the culture of 1960s London—where Rod stoked his lifelong love of Celtic football and his devotion to his Scottish roots (which he paid tribute to in the hit “Rhythm of My Heart”) while immersing himself in a vibrant R&B scene. He recalls the chance encounter with iconic front man Long John Baldry, who heard Rod playing “Smokestack Lightnin’” on the harmonica on a train platform, leading to stints with the Hoochie Coochie Men. Rod also recounts his days with the Ray Davies Quartet, The Jeff Beck Group, and his U.S. breakout touring with the Faces, who were famous for their antics on and offstage. (They were especially notorious for wrecking hotel rooms and having a full bar onstage, while punting footballs into the audience.) Rod also reveals the story behind his 1971 chart-topper “Maggie May,” which was originally released as a B-side song.
• The sizzling Seventies: “A rock star: what a thing to be. But, particularly, what a thing to be in the mid-1970s,” Rod writes. “I was so fortunate in the timing of it—to serve my apprenticeship in the 1960s and to break through in the 1970s, when everything in this area was new and surprising and when you seemed to be on a largely unbeaten path.” Unlike many superstars of the era who burned out fast in drug-fueled tragedies, Rod enjoyed roaring success no matter how hard he partied, forging a lifelong friendship and hilarious mock rivalry with Elton John. ROD dishes on it all, while revealing the rocker’s shrewd business sense, which secured his jet-setting future for life.
• The love(s) of his life: And then there is Rod’s not-so-private love life: marriages, divorces, and affairs with some of the world’s most beautiful women. With self-deprecating wit, he describes the romances that stole his heart, starting with the art student who made him a father while he was still a teenager (their baby girl was raised by adoptive parents). Setting the record straight on the high-profile relationships that have carried him through the years, ROD recounts life with model Dee Harrington, Bond girl Britt Eklund, quasi-Texan Alana Hamilton (his first wife), cover girl and full-blown Texan Kelly Emberg, Rachel Hunter (his wife for eight years), and photographer Penny Lancaster, whom he married in 2007.
• When he almost saw it all slip away: In poignant detail, ROD describes the 2000 thyroid cancer diagnosis that threatened not only the superstar’s voice but also his life. Years earlier, his inimitable voice survived another threat as Rod overcame an addiction to steroids; he got hooked when his grueling tour schedule began to take a toll on his vocal cords. His self-medication led to hallucinations during a 1991 performance. He was whisked off stage and, after a physician treated him, he finally discovered a healthier solution that has kept him going ever since.
• Top 20 parenting tips from a father of eight and grandfather of one: In 2011, Rod became both a father once again, with the arrival of his son Aiden in February, as well as a grandfather, when his daughter Kim gave birth to a daughter six months later. In ROD, he serves up wisdom Dr. Spock never thought of, including what to do if your child is embarrassed by the sight of you in your Versace swim trunks, and how to outsmart even the shrewdest little prankster.
• Rod’s hair and its history: From sugar treatments to backcombed bouffs and revolutionary blow-drying techniques, Rod devotes a complete chapter to his crowning glory.
With a staying power and a work ethic few can rival, Rod Stewart has been center stage for contemporary music’s most epic eras and has scored hits in all of them. As he recalls the complete journey, ROD takes us on an exhilarating, captivating, ride with a consummate entertainer who always has a song in his heart—and a riotously good story to tell.
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ROD STEWART was born in 1945 in north London. He is a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and a Grammy Living Legend, and in 2007 he was bestowed the prestigious CBE (Commander of the British Empire). He has garnered an estimated 200 million album and singles sales with hit songs including “Maggie May,” “Tonight’s the Night,” “Hot Legs,” “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?,” “Young Turks,” “Rhythm of My Heart,” “Stay with Me,” and many more. He lives with his wife, Penny Lancaster, and their children in Beverly Hills, California, and Epping, Essex.