I only have a couple Rod Stewart albums. One is probably one you could guess, the classic “Every Picture Tells a Story” LP. I also have the preceding LP, “Gasoline Alley”, and a 1976 greatest hits CD. I didn’t pay that much attention to his subsequent career, though one couldn’t help hearing “Tonight’s The Night” on the radio. His various phases neither interested me or particularly irritated me: discoish “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”; his more middle of the road stuff, and so on.
Recently, I received Still the Same…Great Rock Classics Of Our Time. Here’s the songlist.
1. Have You Ever Seen The Rain
2. Fooled Around And Fell In Love
3. I’ll Stand By You
4. Still The Same
5. It’s A Heartache
6. Day After Day
7. Missing You
8. Father & Son
9. The Best Of My Love
10. If Not For You
11. Love Hurts
12. Everything I Own
13. Crazy Love
These songs are 20, 30, 40 years newer than the tunes of his popular The Great American Songbook series, none of which I own, of course. The tunes came out primarily in the 1970s at a point when Rod Stewart’s greatest music was produced.
For the most part, I like the SONGS on the album, and on most of them, he did (just) OK, but it would have been just as well – or better – if someone put together a compilation album of those songs by the original artists – I’m sure someone has, somewhere.
As a friend put it: “It was almost like he was doing karaoke – all fine and good, but adding little to the originals. And this was the guy who, early on, did dynamite versions, reworking Street Fighting Man, Country Comforts, Reason To Believe, I’m Losing You, Twisting the Night Away, and Pinball Wizard, making them his own. This just sounded like he came in, they gave him some lyric sheets, and he sang what was there–no real passion to put his stamp on it.”
So, I don’t fault him for the dance stuff, or his “Forever Young” period or his “It Had To Be You” stretch. I DO fault him for putting out a rather boring album of music from a time period in which he should have excelled that he never made his own. I suppose it’s a bit unsporting to beat on the bloke on his 62nd birthday, but there it is. At least, the Queen appreciates him…and Hugh Laurie.
Based on the answer to one of my many questions to Lefty, he doesn’t have any recent Rod Stewart, either.