Rod Stewart: 10 Interesting Facts About Vegas’ New Resident Performer

Rod Stewart: 10 Interesting Facts About Vegas’ New Resident Performer

Starting in late August, your efforts at the craps table may earn you complimentary tickets to hear the world’s most famous raspy voice in concert.

Legendary rocker Rod Stewart has just announced a two-year residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” gushed Stewart. “You have to work them a bit more especially the mid-week crowd. Friday and Saturday night you are fine because they’re usually all drunk anyway”

Rod Stewart: The Hits officially kicks off August 24, 2011. Promoters boast that the concerts will be extremely intimate with no attendee sitting more than 120 feet from the stage.

“We’ll try to give people what they want which are the songs that made me famous, plus a few surprises,” noted Stewart. “There won’t be any magicians or midgets, just a good rock show.”

Tickets for Rod Stewart’s Las Vegas shows (at least the first 18) go on sale in mid-May. To celebrate Sin City’s newest attraction, Land of Punt has complied ten interesting facts about “Rod the Mod.” These tidbits range from before he was famous to the present.

1. “If you want my body and you think I’m sexy come on sugar let me know…”
Most singers that emerged from Rod’s era have a confident and commanding stage presence. Certainly Rod is at home on the stage and that’s apparent by the above quotes. However, Rod wasn’t born with that self-assurance he had to learn it. During his first tour of the United States, way back in June of 1968 with the Jeff Beck Group, Stewart suffered a debilitating case of stage fright. It was so bad that in order to sing he had to hide behind a stack of amps. What got Rod loosened up and out in front of the audience? Why it was a shot of brandy, of course.

2. “You’re Celtic, United, but baby I’ve decided…”
We all know Stewart loves football. His Scottish team is Celtic F.C. and his English side is Manchester United. We also know that Stewart was a pretty good footballer and at one time played with Brentford F.C. in what Americans would call the minor leagues. It’s disputed just how much involvement he had with the club but what is not questioned is how much he hated cleaning the boots of the so-called “first team” (an English football tradition). Ultimately, Stewart chose singing in a rock and roll band over football because you can be a musician and still get drunk. Plus, you don’t have to clean anyone’s shoes.

3. “…the handbags and the gladrags that your poor old Granddad had to sweat to buy”
This is the portion of the article where I discuss all the odd jobs Rod had before hitting it big. Yes, it’s a cliché but in Rod’s case it’s pretty interesting. Before becoming a legendary rock singer Rod was a silk screen printer, worked in his father shop, delivered newspapers, and dug graves. According to his biographers, he became a grave digger to overcome his fear of death.

4. “Some guys have all the luck…”
Rod and his romantic relationships have been making headlines for decades, but do you know that he fathered a child in 1963 when he was just 18-years-old? The child, who was put up for adoption, is older than Stewart’s last two wives. Rod married Rachel Hunter in 1990—he’s 24 years her senior—and in 2007 he married Penny Lancaster—he’s 26 years her senior. Not all of Rod’s relationships involve robbing the cradle. His first wife (Alana Hamilton) was his age and the mother of his third child (Kelly Emberg) was only 14 years younger. In the mid-1970’s, Rod actually had a relationship with an older woman—granted it was Britt Ekland.

5. “…Take me back, carry me back, Down to Gasoline Alley where I started from”
As with most big-time musicians, Stewart has performed with oodles of other big-time musicians. Some of his collaborators are fairly well known like Jeff Beck, Ron Wood, Bryan Adams, Sting, Tina Turner, Stevie Nicks, Diana Ross, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, and Cher. There are some Stewart collaborations that are a little obscure. For example, when he was just starting out Stewart worked with Ray Davies, Long John Baldry, John Paul Jones, Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green, and Andy Taylor.

6. “…All my dreams fall like rain, On a downtown train”
Stewart is one of the greatest rock and roll singers of all-time and the epitome of cool. Yet, he does have a nerdy side: he’s a huge model railway enthusiast. One of his scale layouts was featured in the magazine Model Railroader… not once but twice! Rod actually admitted that he’d rather be in a model railroad magazine then in a music magazine (and if that music magazine is Rolling Stone who wouldn’t). Surely it’s in jest, but Rod also said his model railway hobby led to the dissolution of his marriage with model Rachel Hunter.

7. “…You Really Got Me”
Yes, that’s a line from a Kinks song. And yes, this is an article about Rod Stewart. But no, it’s not a mistake. In 1962, Stewart joined the precursor to The Kinks, a band called The Ray Davies Quartet. Stewart had known several of the band members from school and at the time Ray Davies wanted no part of singing lead. Stewart wasn’t with Davies and company for long. I guess you could say they were never able to work out the kinks: there were musical differences, complaints about Rod’s voice, and Davies’ fear that Stewart would eventually become the bigger star (he was right). Still, how different would rock and roll have been if Rod Stewart had stayed with The Kinks?

8. “Oh no not again, It hurts so good, I don’t understand, Infatuation…”
Stewart had a nice run in the 1970’s and 1980’s but by the time the 1990’s rolled around he was having trouble selling records. It was also during this time that he stopped writing songs. He publicly stated that his new material was being so poorly received that composition wasn’t fun anymore. Had Stewart stopped right then and there he still would have been one of the best selling artists of all-time, but he didn’t. In 2002, he released the first of his five Great American Songbook albums. These albums featured Stewart singing pop standards from the 1930’s and 1940’s. In all, the series has sold more than seven million copies in the United States and who knows how many Rod Stewart concert tickets they’ve helped to sell.

9. “Wake up Maggie I think I got something to say to you…”
“Maggie May” was Rod’s first big hit as a solo performer and its success made him a household name. The song, released in 1971, was originally the B-side to “Reason to Believe” (kids, if you don’t know what a B-side is ask your grandmother). The single was number one in both the U.S. and the U.K. at the same time his album, Every Picture Tells A Story, was number one in both the U.S. and the U.K. (that’s a very rare feat). “Maggie May,” written by Stewart and Martin Quittenton, tells the true story of Rod’s first sexual encounter. While Stewart likes the song he doesn’t understand how it became such a big hit—he claims it has no melody.

10. “Tonight’s the night, It’s gonna be alright…”
They’re called jukebox musicals. What they are is a musical that uses previously released tunes to tell a story. So instead of writing new songs, producers just use other people’s music, generally material that is already popular. Artists like The Beatles, ABBA, Billy Joel, Queen, and hair bands from the 1980’s have all heard their tunes turned into musicals. Another artist you can add to that list is Rod Stewart. Tonight’s The Night opened in 2003 on the London’s West End and closed after a year long run. A scaled down version toured the UK in the first half of 2006. While Stewart provided the songs, the book was written by Ben Elton (Blackadder, The Young Ones, Love Never Dies). The musical didn’t feature a character named “Maggie May” but it did feature characters named “Satan,” “Stoner,” and “Stuart Clutterbuck.”

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