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This programme contains some strong language
A few weeks ago, something interesting,
well, surprising, happened.
A raspy-voiced Jack-the-lad, born and raised round here
above a sweet shop on the Archway Road in north London
was knighted by the Queen.
Tonight, we're here to honour that man
by showing once again the film we made about him three years ago.
So, here's to you.
Rock on, Sir Roderick David Stewart.
# Think I know now what's making me sad
# Yearning for my old back yard
# I realise maybe I was wrong to leave
# Swallow up my silly country pride
# Going home, rolling home
# Down to Gasoline Alley where I was born
# Going home and I'm rolling home
# Down to Gasoline Alley... #
Rod Stewart was born with a voice that sounds shot to pieces,
but in the spring of 1965, he had no sense yet
of where that voice would take him.
I've been a professional singer now for the last nine or ten months.
Before that, I worked with my brother.
If it lasts a year and a half, I shall be happy,
which I think it will do. I'll get another 18 months.
He would go on to become one of the most successful singers
of all time.
# I don't want to
# Talk about it
# How you broke my heart
# If I stay here just a little bit longer... #
He's been famous for a lot of things -
mayhem on stage...
..rearranging hotel rooms...
and misbehaving with women.
In the back of one of those limousines, was a journalist.
Were you shagging Susan George, was the question.
I ask you only to look at it at some point and reflect
-on what was going through your head.
-Don't put me on the spot, Alan.
I'm trying to be a gentleman here!
# Mother don't you recognise me now? #
But how much of this
has just been playing up to the Jack-the-lad image?
-Intrepid fox, Rod!
-Tell us a story, Ronnie.
# I was singing in the clubs Singing in the pubs
# Then along came Maggie May... #
Almost five decades on and he has a new album out of his own songs,
that tell the story of his life.
# I will climb this mountain With this God-given gift
# If it's the last thing that I do And I remember thinking... #
He's broken most of the rules and just about got away with it
and he shows no sign of stopping now.
That's what I thought we might call the film - They Can't Stop Me Now.
I love the idea of that. I love it.
-# So proud
-They can't stop me now The world is waiting
# So proud Oh, yeah!
# They can't stop me now The tide is turning... #
Last year saw the publication of Rod's autobiography,
a very honest and entertaining romp through his eventful life.
I wondered if it was writing the book that had enabled him
to create these new songs, his first in over 20 years.
You're writing your autobiography and, somehow or other,
that did make you dig deeper and deeper. Is that what happened?
That is exactly what happened.
My family were instrumental in helping me with this book
and that's what helped the songs, in so many ways.
But my favourite is You Can't Stop Me Now,
cos it is a tribute to my dad.
# Thanks for the faith Thanks for the patience... #
Do you ever worry about him getting mixed up with all these
purple heart-types you read about in the papers?
No, we never worry about that sort of thing. Not with Roddy.
I think he's too sensible for that sort of thing.
At least, I think so.
Rod lives with his parents in a small flat above their shop
in Archway Road, Highgate.
He doesn't usually get up before lunchtime, but on Good Friday,
he was up and dressed by 11.30.
-I'm in my house.
-I told you, I recognised it,
-with the washing line.
This is where me dad used to have a shop underneath.
He seems to be doing quite well at singing. Were you disappointed
-when he gave up football?
-No, I wasn't disappointed.
-Do you think he could have gone further as a footballer?
-I think so.
# You can't stop me now The tide is turning... #
How long have you been playing?
Footballing family. Since about five, you know.
Footballing family. They all play football. The brothers, you know.
And my sisters play football! My dad was the best of the lot.
# Thanks for the love Thanks for guidance... #
The game itself, we lost 4-2, unfortunately,
but it doesn't really matter to me. It's just a workout.
His dad told him that every man needed a job, a sport and a hobby.
The sum of Rod's hobbies would become legendary,
but one lifelong love has been building model railroads.
And you've got a view from your bedroom window of the, sort of,
of London's railway network.
I did see the marshalling yards of Highgate and Archway
and beyond that, my next love, was the football pitch,
so I had the two things right in front of me.
All I needed was a nude blonde in the distance
and that would have been all three!
And those early years, you were probably a pretty spoilt child,
given that you were the youngest?
Spoilt with attention, not with gifts, because we didn't have...
It was just after the war. We didn't have that much money,
but certainly spoilt with attention, by my two brothers and two sisters.
-Because he was the youngest, was he spoilt?
You didn't hesitate there, at all.
-No. And I don't hesitate now!
-He's still spoilt?
-I think so, yes.
Haven't you ever thought about moving out of home
and getting your own flat?
-No, no. You know, life's too hard. I've done it before.
It's terrible, you know. At night, always having to wash your clothes.
Good old mum always washes my clothes. You can't go wrong.
Dinner's always there. It's terrific.
And how did music come into your life?
# This here's a story about the Rock Island Line... #
Rock Island Line, I believe that was the first time I'd ever heard
anything that resembled rock and roll.
In actual fact, it was skiffle music and that was brand new.
We'd all been listening to Bing Crosby and Al Jolson and Sinatra.
That was the only music - and big band stuff - that existed for me.
So, when Lonnie Donegan came along with this mad...
AS LONNIE DONEGAN: # Oh, the Rock Island Line is a mighty fine line. #
..it sort of, changed everything.
# You gotta ride it like you find it
# Get your ticket at the station on the Rock Island Line. #
My dad got me my first guitar, for really no apparent reason.
He just, for some unknown reason,
brought home a guitar and gave it to me.
At what point did you discover your voice, for instance?
Probably, when I realised I had a voice was when I was about 16 or 17
and I was a beatnik on Brighton beach
and I'd learnt quite a few songs on the guitar, American folk songs,
and people would say "Hey, Rod, open your guitar up and give us a song."
And people would gather round to listen to me play.
# I am a man of constant sorrow
# I've seen trouble all my days... #
And how did you become a beatnik?
Why I became a beatnik, I don't know.
Probably because it was all the go.
So I said, "I'll jump on this bandwagon."
And also, I'd been joining in the Aldermaston marches.
# Through this open world I'm about to ramble
# Throughout snow sleet and rain... #
About two years ago, we all used to support the CND.
We used to go down Trafalgar Square, to see Bertrand Russell.
# Perhaps I'll die on that train... #
Were you a lefty? Did you read The Daily Worker?
Ooh, serious lefty, yeah, yeah.
I was a real communist, I must admit.
Not a real communist. I think it sprang out of the fact
I just wanted to be different to everybody else.
I think that's why I became a beatnik.
I think that's why I read the Daily Worker,
just to upset people.
But Rod's communist leanings were short-lived.
This time last year,
they had all those demonstrations in Trafalgar Square. It was very good.
But it's just had it now.
It's a drag, you know. Quite honestly, to spend Easter last year
marching back from Aldermaston, it's not as good as people think.
So that was politics.
He then found himself on Brighton beach
and fell in love for the first time, with a girl called Sue.
# You were the finest girl that my eyes had ever seen
# I guess you found it hard to simply just ignore
# This scruffy, beat-up working-class, teenage troubadour
# So we fell in love and I toured your heart
# With my out-of-tune guitar... #
Brighton beach has got particular memories for you.
Is it true that Sue Boffey broke a guitar over your head?
No, she didn't break it over my head.
She was pregnant at the time and we were on Brighton beach and I think
she decided that I wasn't giving her enough attention and she threw
one of those great big rocks that you get on Brighton beach at me.
I wish it had hit me, but it hit me guitar and split it
right up the middle.
In actual fact, I think she was quite in order,
because I was being selfish.
She was pregnant and I was busy entertaining, you know.
So, good on you, Sue.
# Seems like only yesterday
# Under the stars
# On Brighton beach... #
Soon after, Sue gave birth to a daughter, Sarah,
and Rod went off busking round Europe.
The young parents decided to put the baby up for adoption,
but eventually, Sarah was reunited with her father,
and at a recent concert, he dedicated Brighton Beach to Sarah.
# Kennedy and King... #
Over the years, I've been to loads of concerts,
but I think this was probably one of the best.
And he dedicated a song to me.
# Oh, how I long for yesterday
# Under the stars on Brighton beach... #
Yeah, that was, um, very nice.
ROD: True story.
My favourite song is Pure Love,
a song that I think has beautiful lyrics,
which he's written for his children.
I don't know if he was thinking of me when he wrote that -
I'd like to think he was - but, whatever, it's just a beautiful,
beautiful song and it actually made me cry when I first listened to it.
# Just open up that great big loving heart
# And you'll always be You'll always be
# You'll always be a part
# Of me... #
The song is a tribute to fatherhood and to his eight children,
who range in age from 50 to two years old.
But young Rod, now returning from Europe,
had to face his own parents.
When I came back, me mum and dad burnt me outfits,
burnt me beatnik outfit, so, then, I became a mod.
'I usually get treated very well in these big stores.
'I've been there a few times. They even call me "Mr Stewart", now.
'I like tweed. The country gentleman appearance
'appeals to me a lot'
That's a completely different look from the scruffy look, isn't it?
-That's more of a manicured, tailored look.
-Also quite self conscious.
-You want to look sexy, you want to look appealing.
-Yeah. Always, yeah.
Always, even when I was a beatnik, I wanted to look appealing.
It was just, erm, a search for identity.
This is another model. This is the up-to-date boot.
This is what the Beatles wear. I've been wearing them about three years.
-I've only just caught on.
-All his money goes on clothes, practically.
Clothes and boots, shirts. He's got about two dozen shirts upstairs,
he must have.
What I was thinking of was a, sort of wool. It's a woolly thing.
Rod's fashion sense would become notorious and it all began here.
-It suits me, don't you think?
-But what do girls think about it?
Oh, they love it. Can't go wrong.
His look might have appealed to the girls,
but not to the record companies.
I went for many auditions.
I went to Decca Records, I think I went to EMI,
and got turned down by most of them,
because they didn't know what to do with me.
They didn't know what to do with me hair, me nose, clothes,
and especially the voice.
But the record companies were not always keeping up
with the fast-moving times.
the transition from jazz to blues was happening in clubs and basements
and it would take his fellow musicians to recognise
the gravely, cracked voice that would become his trademark.
And there's a very, very vibrant club scene,
so were you hanging around that club scene at that time?
Yeah, there was a place called Eel Pie Island, you know,
that was in the middle of the Thames and I remember seeing
some of the great bands. The Stones were there, they were fabulous,
I saw them when there was only 12 people in the audience.
There was the Downliners Sect and The Yardbirds and The Animals
were brilliant. Some brilliant bands.
So, then I kept watching them and thinking, you know, "I can do that.
"I could be like Eric Burdon or Mick Jagger
"or Keith Relf from The Yardbirds."
So then, I definitely got my mind set on becoming a rock singer.
And then young Rod the mod got his lucky break.
He was discovered by the legendary blues performer Long John Baldry,
after a late-night gig on the Thames.
I don't know who we'd been over to Eel Pie Island to see,
but I was on the train coming back to Waterloo.
I'd had a couple of bevvies and it was in the middle of winter
and I was on the floor, covered up with me coat and scarf, playing a
harmonica, and John saw me there and listened to me playing harmonica and
singing and prodded me, He said, the way he describes it, he said,
"I saw this heap of clothes, old rags on the floor, with a nose
"sticking out. I thought it was an old tramp." But it was me playing
the harmonica and he said, "Would you like to join my band?"
But I think, to be serious, I think he saw potential in me
as being a... just a good blues shouter.
We play blues in this band. We play blues and we sing blues.
That's it. At the moment, we are only the nucleus of a band.
But what I have in mind, in about a year, maybe two years' time,
this is going to be about a 12-piece, 14-piece orchestra.
And he had to hire you, via your mum,
-he had to ask your mum's permission?
-Yeah, he did, yeah!
Yeah, I remember, I said, "Well, you better go talk to me mum,
"me dad, me mum". And, I think, the next day or the day after
he turned up at me mum's sweet shop with a bunch of flowers
and said, "I'd like Roddy to join the band", and she said,
"Well, you make sure you look after him. Make sure he's in by 11."
I think blues is more or less human feeling, whether you are
black or white. I think a white person can sing blues
with just as much conviction, if he knows what he's singing about.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very, very much, thank you.
Now, it gives me great pleasure to introduce to you
once more, with feeling, our wonderful young singer, Rod Stewart.
Let's give him a big warm welcome, come on, please!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
This one's called I'm Going To Put A Tiger In Your Tank.
'I wanted to sound black.
'Anything from Big Bill Broonzy, to Muddy Waters,
'right up to Sam Cooke, Chuck Berry.'
# I put a tiger in your tank
# I put a tiger in your tank
# I put a tiger in your tank
# I put a tiger in your tank
# I don't care what people think
# I put a tiger in your tank... #
I used to lose me voice a lot in the old days.
I was totally self taught, when it came to the breathing
and using your diaphragm. No-one ever taught me how to do that.
# I don't care what the people think
# I put a tiger in your tank. #
Take it away now!
It was a tremendous band to be in, because they were all superb
jazz musicians, because the jazz era, the trad jazz era just finished
and these guys just went straight into playing the blues, no problem.
# I can raise your hood I can change your oil... #
# Above my head
# Up above my head... #
Not only were these brilliant musicians,
Rod had found the perfect mentor in Long John Baldry.
# Above my head above my head I see trouble in there
# I really do believe it I really do believe it
# Somewhere up above my head Up above me head
# I see angels everywhere See angels everywhere... #
It was John that instilled the confidence. Thank you, John.
# Yes, I do believe you Yes, I do believe it
# Yes, I do believe it Yes, I do believe it
# Yes, I really believe it Do you believe? #
The great thing was that Long John encouraged everybody and so people
were free. It was a very creative environment.
Rod started to develop his own particular style,
but his stagecraft, because Baldry would step out of the way -
"Go on, Rod", whatever - he got really good at connecting
with the audience and because of his dressing from Carnaby Street,
these kids would come and they would dress like him.
Long John's new incarnation, Steampacket, allowed Rod
to experiment with all kinds of musical styles -
Motown, soul, blues and gospel.
Motown had melody and soul music had melody
and this was something I was beginning to really, really
fall in love with.
We were doing the university circuit. Just playing universities.
It was wonderful, wonderful stuff.
And we were earning big money.
I remember our agent said, "You are up to £500 a night.
"This is about what the Small Faces get and they've had three hits."
Rod would sidle up to us at the bar, being extremely thrifty
at the time, and say, "Brian, buy us a drink."
I'd say, "What do you want? A beer?"
"No, I want a double port and a double brandy."
"Wait a minute. Where's your money?"
"My mum made me put all my money in my Post Office account."
I'm saving up to buy a car at the moment.
Somehow, I manage to put away about £20-25 a week of the money I earn.
It's a regular thing. Every Saturday, I pay it in
at the Post Office. I don't believe in banks.
Listen, I think it's like most boys, you want cars and girls.
And that was utmost, one comes with the other.
You get a nice fancy car, you got a slim chance of pulling a girl.
-Definitely will leave your name on the door.
-If you're not there...
-I'll be there, don't worry.
Obviously, we know that it was around this time you met Ronnie,
-when you were still...
-Oh, that ponce!
Yeah, my old mucker.
For Rod's next chapter, he had a well-known partner in crime.
Yentob's looking at us, Ronnie. Get tuned up, mate.
Let's just sing the blues!
# It takes a worried man to sing a worried song
# It takes a worried man to sing a worried song
# It takes a worried man to sing a worried song
# I'm worried now But I won't be worried long. #
In the beginning, there was Rod and there was Ronnie
-and Rod and Ronnie met in a pub.
-Yeah. The Intrepid Fox, Rod!
-Tell them the story, Ronnie.
-Can you remember that story or..?
-Yeah, yeah, I can remember it.
It was The Intrepid Fox, as Ronnie said, in Wardour Street.
-Wardour Street. We bumped into each other and I think we were
vaguely aware of each other, through the business.
He had Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl, which was new
on the scene to me - Rod The Mod.
And he was with The Birds and we recognised a nice big nose
and a fairly similar haircut, when we saw each other.
He came up to me, we had similar hair, and he said, "Hello, face".
And I'll never forget it and, years later, we were Faces.
-You really do look like brothers.
-We're bookends or a pickaxe.
-Let's see the pickaxe.
That's the pickaxe.
-You did actually write songs, didn't you, in Rod's room?
And we tried round my old mum's house, as he would say.
No, Ron, we used to go round his mum's house.
We went round there and we had a yellow page
and we'd sit there and nothing would happen.
Just sit there, get a bottle of wine out and get pissed as a fart
and both of us would fall on the floor.
And his mum came in and said, "Well, you're not going to be much
"of a challenge to The Beatles like that, are you?"
By the mid '60s, the music scene had exploded,
with many bands emerging, such as the Small Faces and The Yardbirds,
whose innovative guitarist Jeff Beck would now become a catalyst
for Ronnie and Rod.
When Jeff left The Yardbirds, I rang him up.
I said, "What are you going to do?" and he went,
"Oh, hello, mate, Don't fancy getting together, do you?"
I said, "Sure". Then, he said, "I've got this idea
"for this vocalist, Rod Stewart."
Jeff said, "Listen, The Beatles are writing their own songs
and The Stones had just written one of their own songs and why don't we
"start trying to write songs?"
Back in Ronnie's mum's council house,
the boys' writing now took off.
Soon, they were heading, into the studio with Jeff.
-I want to sing it in harmony.
-However you want.
-I'll try something
on this first few chords. If it sounds duff, stop me, right?
Make the voice nearly in the background.
But, musically, that was also very... It was very potent stuff.
When it was good, it was really, really good.
# I've woken up on mornings such as this
# And thought exactly as I'm thinking now
# Every night for a year I've slept alone
# My cold bamboo looks worse than me
# I got a fear of death that creeps home every night... #
How loud do you want it? Here we go.
With Jeff, we were always good.
They make you a better vocalist
and you use up the space, because Jeff was good at that,
leaving space for me.
Yeah, and you talked about that ability to have that dialogue,
-if you like, with the guitar.
-Yeah, shout and response.
Rod was now becoming aware of how he could use his voice
as an instrument.
# I wonder how you could cheat me so low down and dirty... #
With Jeff Beck's backing, the band were now ready to take to the road.
Their first stop was New York and a daunting venue, Fillmore East.
So, Rod, you were particularly nervous?
Well, I've always wanted - Woody's always wanted to play like
Big Bill Broonzy - I wanted to sound like Muddy Waters or Otis Redding.
They're all black and we're not.
So I thought, when the curtain opens at the Fillmore,
never having been to America, it will be all full of black people
and they're going to go, "Fraud, fraud, fraud!"
-Of course, it wasn't.
-They loved it. We used to blow them away
and we'd be selling them their own music, but unknowing to us.
We were selling them songs we loved, but it all came from America.
# The shapes of things before my eyes
# Just help me to define... #
Robert Shelton, from The New York Times,
wrote "the interplay of a Pinter play between Rod and Jeff Beck"
and that went front page, New York Times.
We had it copied and it was sent from coast to coast.
So in Chicago, in Detroit and by the time we got to LA,
we'd already set a precedent.
The Jeff Beck Group were blazing a trail across the United States.
It was a chance for Rod to develop his stage presence
and play to much larger crowds.
The band had created the template for a new kind of performance,
that others wanted to emulate.
I remember we was in Houston and Jimmy Page would show up
and then Jimmy Page would show up with Peter Grant, the manager,
the two of the would show up with Robert Plant and they just,
sort of, based Led Zeppelin on The Jeff Beck Group.
But good luck to them.
Hugely influential, The Jeff Beck Group and first album, Truth,
became the blueprint for the heavy blues rock bands
that would follow.
It was a groundbreaking album in a groundbreaking moment.
You sensed that, again, you've got artists here with fabulous vision,
they've got energy, great ability,
but you can just hear the way that they work off one another.
You know, that was the springboard, wasn't it, for Rod's career, really.
I think the Truth album was massively important for him.
But despite the brilliance of the music, the band was falling apart
because of poor management.
So, it was girls, booze and hair, basically, and clothes. That was it.
Yeah. And sleeping. That was about it.
I'm surprised there was much time for sleeping.
Not with the shagging we did, Ronnie, eh?! Yah!
Shut up, Rod! What about all the miserly money?
-We used to scrimp and save and steal eggs.
-It wasn't Jeff's fault.
-He was a great musician.
He wasn't really interested in the band, as such.
-He let Peter Grant run it.
-Peter Grant was a horrible slave driver.
-He used to put us on a pittance.
Pittance is the word, Ronnie. We had to steal, sometimes,
-to get some food.
-We did, yeah. From Horn & Hardart in New York.
Every time I drive by there, I point out, "We used to nick food
"from there, cos we weren't getting paid"!
What was it, where things went wrong?
We broke up two weeks before Woodstock and it was all money.
We were all making a stand and all that and it all went so sour,
'In 1969, Ronnie left the band, and joined the Small Faces.
'Rod left soon after, and his first album came out that same year.
'An Old Raincoat Won't Ever Let You Down
'became a model for his solo sound.'
# Ever seen a blind man cross the road
# Tryin' to make the other side?
# Ever seen a young girl growin' old
# Tryin' to make herself a bride?
# So what becomes of you my love... #
'He was just a great singer with a fantastic voice.
'I mean, whatever, wherever it all went from then on,
'the one thing that you could centre back into
'was the fact that Rod has this absolutely amazing voice.'
He was delivering these songs, you know, touching your heartstrings
with the way that he was interpreting the songs.
And yet, at the same time, it was as good as effortless for him.
He could just reach these notes.
If he set himself to hit a note, he'd just hit it.
There was no effort to it at all, it was just...
I always used to think, "Wow, blimey,
"one of the great, great vocalists is emerging here."
And how did that album do? It did well?
Yeah. I thought, "They're never going to sell 30,000 records," but they did.
And the song that sort of stands out for a lot of people
is Handbags And Gladrags, cos I kind of sense that that's a song,
that melody really, really got to you.
It feels like that when you listen to it.
Yeah, it, erm, it was written by Mike d'Abo,
who was the singer with Manfred Mann.
I always had it up there and I thought, "I'm going to do that song one day," and I did.
# The handbags and the gladrags
# That your poor old grandad had to sweat to buy... #
'It showed his talent for finding and chasing a song
'that he knew was right for him.'
'But for all the success of his solo career,
'he loved being part of a band.
'Luckily, Ronnie Wood was now with the Small Faces,
'who had lost their lead singer.'
'When the Small Faces split up,'
the three of us used to get together, me, Mac and Ronnie,
and we went down to...
The Stones had a warehouse in Bermondsey Street,
and down the bottom they had a soundproof room,
so we went in there to play and jam once a week.
'And the following week, Woody brought down his best mate,
'which was Rod.'
-No, well, we were down there and I said, 'Well, look, Rod's upstairs..."
And they were, "We don't want another bossy vocalist."
'He's not bossy. He's really like one of us'.
Anyway, eventually Kenny went up and asked him, and he came down.
Rod was sitting on the amps most of the time, waiting for us to have a break.
'And I was sitting there looking at a great vocalist and I thought,
"Yeah, there you go. We've got to have him."
# I don't need no-one's opinion
# On the matter concerning my dress
# I was raised in a clinic down in Oklahoma... #
You were asked to join. I forced my way in.
# I never complained because my father said
# You'll get your chance before you're my age... #
'The other Faces recognised a kindred spirit,
'another working class lad who loved rhythm & blues,
'and one of the most influential British rock-and-roll bands was born.'
'It's interesting, then, that what it is that somehow wasn't working
'for the Jeff Beck band was absolutely at the heart of the Faces, really.'
'In other words, that relationship...'
I felt the Faces were like a brotherhood...
'The Faces were a gang of yobbos.'
'A lot of these songs, I gather,'
you're practically writing them as you went on stage, is that right?
Lots in the dressing room, didn't we? Stay With Me, with The Faces, we wrote in the dressing room.
So Stay With Me, which is the sort of anthem of The Faces,
-you wrote in the dressing room?
-Yeah, I had the riff and Rod said, "Hold that, I've got the words."
# In the morning
# Don't say you love me
# Cos I'll only kick you out of the door
# I know your name is Rita
# Cos your perfume's smelling sweeter
# Since when I saw you down on the floor... #
'Where would the lyrics come from on those occasions?'
'You just your imagination, or just base it on, on truth,'
or just be inspired by something, you know?
Yeah, and it often might suit a situation that you're in at the time, you know?
You might be missing home, or missing your girlfriend, or whatever.
-Or missing a penalty.
-Missing a penalty in his case, yeah.
# So Mother when you see me
# Don't forget that I'm your boy
# I know my brother has done you proud
# But he's one foot in the grave
# Mother don't you recognise me now? #
'And if the rumours were true of The Faces' life on the road,
'hotel managers can't have been too pleased to see them checking in.'
'Clearly what The Faces got up to on stage and off stage was...'
One and the same.
It was just an extension.
We used to give the audience a bottle of, a crate of Liebfraumilch
'or on a special occasion it would be champagne.
-'They'd all be in the same mood as we were.'
-'Are you serious?'
Yeah. That was our backing group a lot of the time, was cases of booze.
This is an arena that holds about 13,000, 14,000.
Look at all the audience just wandering around the stage, sitting on the stage.
-We used to have them on stage with us.
-You wouldn't get that any more.
-And then back at the hotel.
'How mad did it get? How crazy did it get?'
'Here's how mad... Detroit always used to be a stronghold for us.'
-'It was fabulous there.'
-'Detroit, Cobo Hall and...'
'And the Grande Ballroom. We used to invite the audience back to the hotel.
'So it was a Holiday Inn, they'd let about 300 in on our floor,
'cos we'd have the whole floor.'
But the great thing about it, everybody had wine,
everybody would bring wine. These were good old days.
And you could actually leave your room open, nothing would get nicked.
There was loads of girls going up and down the corridor, it was just...
-Pool parties, you know.
'We had private planes sometimes. The pilot would end up in the pool.'
'Now, as you can see, this is a charming piece of tapestry,
'which hangs upon the wall in the Ramada Inn here.'
'Now, I know that everyone thinks that The Who were most destructive,
'but you broke up a fair number of hotel rooms in your time?'
'Very politely, and we used to rearrange more than break them up.
'One of mine, what we all participated in,
'was actually constructing the room in the corridor.'
'Oh, that was a good one, yeah.'
So, we would just sit, you know, having a fag
and playing a bit of football and having a cup of tea,
and people would come out the elevator and they'd be like going into somebody's room.
-We arranged all the pictures, all the furniture.
-Everything would go into the corridor
-and we'd all just sit round and enjoy an afternoon cup of tea.
-And I remember one hotel manager came up
'to witness it, and he just folded his arms, and he just walked along and he just smiled.'
We were banned from the Holiday Inn chain.
We used to have to check in as Fleetwood Mac.
Yeah, we did that for a while, yeah. Just before they got famous, we'd book in as Fleetwood Mac.
Yeah. For years!
'But, back in London, this was the early '70s,
'and the Faces weren't just rock icons, they were fashion models, too.
'At last, Rod was getting proper recognition for his hair and fashion flair.'
Is it true to say, one of the reasons this caught fire, the Faces,
was because there was a sort of denim and beards mob
coming up in music at that time? It was all rather po-faced?
Yeah, serious. Yeah.
We came along, we were all loud jackets, loud trousers,
-loud mouths, loud haircuts!
-Yeah, velvet and satin.
'Where did we used to go and get the clothes? Granny Takes A Trip, wasn't it?'
We both had jackets, I had a pink one, you had a yellow one
with the big cherries on it, do you remember?
'We used to meet Mick and the boys in King's Road.'
"Can't buy that one, no. Old Mother Bowie's got it.
"Can't buy that jacket."
And Marc Bolan, with the feather boas.
CROWD: # We'll meet again
# Don't know where... #
'You've got your solo career going,
'and sometimes you'd see the Faces on stuff which was your gig,'
and sometimes it would be the other way round.
How, from your point of view, Ronnie,
the fact that Rod was becoming more and more successful
and more and more known as a solo performer...
How did that, what did it make you feel?
We used to have respect for anybody in our age group
that was a couple of years older, if they got famous first you'd go,
"That's OK." In fairness, he'd always ring me up and say,
"I'm going to make another album, have you got any songs?"
-He'd always make me part of his solo album.
-Number one man.
# Wake up, Maggie
# I think I've got something to say to you
# It's late September and I really should be back at school... #
'In 1971, Rod's third solo album came out.
'One song, Maggie May, was a sensation.'
# Oh, Maggie, I couldn't have tried
# Any more... #
'It shot Rod into the realms of superstardom,
'and changed his life forever.'
CROWD: # You stole my heart
# And that's what really hurt... #
'The Faces management now saw Rod as the star,
'and the Faces as a glorified backing band.'
'The six-year party that had been the Faces
'was coming to an end.'
'What happened was, after Maggie May, it became Rod Stewart And The Faces.'
And I was embarrassed, I really was embarrassed.
-I mean Maggie May, that...
-That was number one both sides of the Atlantic,
-one of the first records that...
-Mmm. Album and single.
-I mean, it was explosive, Maggie May, its impact, wasn't it, really?
-Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
So, was it very difficult after that to...?
Yeah. It was the seed that was sown that I think really started breaking the Faces up.
-Not for me, though.
-No, not for me.
-It was like, "Well done, great. This is great."
'Rod's career was shifting slowly more to a solo career.'
We were touring so much, it kind of slipped by us,
it just overtook us, Rod's career.
What happened was, we lent Woody to the Stones.
I'd have stayed with the Faces for the rest of my life.
He was the first one who left, didn't you? You left first.
Well, cos Rod left the band, yeah.
-No, I didn't! You left first!
-Yes, he did!
Jagger asked you to join the group.
Well, that was a year before I joined.
But he didn't want to split up the Faces either.
When Woody came back, he came back a Rolling Stone, really
and that was... And Rod had moved to America,
so the whole thing was falling apart in a sense, you know?
We're in the United States now, we've been here ten days, we've got nine days to go,
then we go home for nine days, then we come back for three weeks. Did you get all that?
Yeah, I think I did.
'After that last American tour, the band returned to England,
'but Rod stayed behind.'
Yeah, so after Rod announced, viewers, that he was going to leave the band...
-No, it was just that it was in the air.
-I got sucked into it a little bit, I suppose.
He was off sailing, literally.
# I am sailing
# I am sailing
# Home again... #
'In the spring of 1975,
'Rod met the most glamorous woman of the moment,
'Swedish actress and movie star Britt Ekland,
'and the working class lad from London felt that he'd arrived.'
# To be near you
# To be free... #
'Rod has lived here in Los Angeles since that time,
'returning for only three months a year to England,
'where he also has a home.'
We're coming to the Britt period.
"Britt broadened my outlook in everything," you said.
Yeah. Yeah, she did. She was, er...
not only a fabulous film star at the time, she had that, er...
-The Bond film?
-..Bond film out, so it was a real feather in my cap.
'And that was really your Los Angeles moment.
'You'd kind of left England.'
You're laughing cos you can see it coming.
Well, it's cos I... I really felt I'd arrived, you know?
In Los Angeles, with a film star,
and I'm rock star, and, you know, a few shillings in the bank,
'sun is shining, love is in the air.'
He's a very generous person, emotionally.
And I think...
-In an emotional way I was really swept off my feet.
What do you think of her?
"She's all right, I guess, for a girl!"
She's magnificent. I mean...
The thing that I am more impressed with more than anything is
her insight into my business.
She was extremely worldly. She knew...
Because I'd earned a few shillings getting in to trying to
invest my money in art, which I've always wanted to do
if I ever earned any money but she was way out there.
She knew everything so I owe her a great deal.
# Cos I tried to love ya
# But I didn't fit in... #
No, there was a reason for those. If you remember the reason.
And actually if we did it the two of those would make
the shipping and custom of all the rest worthwhile.
# My little baby is calculating
# What these lamps are going to cost!
# Ba-doo-doo-doo-doo.... #
Rod had entered the heady world of glamour and celebrity.
He appeared to have left his working-class roots far behind.
And for the first time, his music was getting negative press.
The albums had done brilliantly, you were still absolutely
at the top of your game at that point and then the song that people
-recall at that time was Tonight's The Night.
Not necessarily in a flattering way, some people don't say it is
but it's a great song, which even now is a great song.
# It's gonna be all right... #
-Didn't the BBC ban it?
-Yeah, yeah, yeah. For a little while.
Yeah, just because I sang, "Spread your wings and let me come inside."
What's wrong with that, Alan, I ask you?!
# Spread your wings and let me come inside
# Tonight's the night... #
If popularity is measured in champagne, I know who wins.
Look at that. How do you like that?
Look at that. See?
Sometimes it pays to be a pop star.
During that period, in the back of one of those limousines was
-a journalist where you were asked about Susan George.
I ask you only to look at it at some point
and reflect on what was going through your head!
What about you, Rod, you've got a great reputation as a womaniser
and we all read the scandal, you were chatting up Susan George
and got a smacked face for it. Do you get annoyed?
It's not true, I have to point out at this time,
it was absolutely not true.
It was one of several totally and utterly fabricated stories about us.
Yes, darling. It's quite true. What she says is very true.
-No, it is true.
-What she says has made it very clear, hasn't it?
It has. You're a very good boy.
Were you shagging Susan George was the question.
I don't know what the answer might be.
At that time, no, Susan George was a lot later.
Oh, come off it.
Yeah, it was. It was a lot later.
Don't put me on the spot, Alan. I'm trying to be a gentleman here!
I wasn't the most faithful of boyfriends in the world.
That, to be honest, is something that I'm, to this day, very embarrassed about.
I treated women very shabbily
and didn't break up relationships very well.
In fact, I didn't break up relationships I just ran away.
You know, which is terrible. It's embarrassing.
That was the last time you ran away.
-No, there's been a few running aways!
Do you ever sit back to yourself and say, "How the hell did I ever get this?"
Oh, yes, sometimes you sit back and think am I really worth
being paid X amount of pounds for achieving whatever on a record?
-Sometimes it makes you a bit depressed...
I suppose you get a feeling of, a feeling of guilt really -
which is very stupid but I've come from absolutely nothing
and I've done it all on my own back.
Rod had come a long way from the football terraces to the
But although he'd developed a taste for the finer things in life,
he still kept his family close beside him.
His love of football was a constant and he would fly in to
watch his beloved Scotland, together with his brothers and dad.
There's a journalist called Penny
and she said to you, "You used to be a lad from London,
"who used to be a working class lad and you've turned into a posh git!"
And you sort of defended yourself.
You don't think the way you live gets in the way of that image?
I don't know what my image is.
We've established it's changed three or four times in the last four years.
Yeah, but not so noticeably as it has in the last two years.
There was a point of identification with, say, the Faces,
that was very like the crowd on the terraces. It was...
Why should that change now I've moved to Los Angeles?
Because now they read about you not living here and having more
money and having a different kind of life.
That hasn't changed the person.
The music is more sophisticated, it's a different kind of music
and you're a different person, you are. You've changed a lot.
Oh, well... it! I'll play the London Palladium
and if they don't turn up I'll sing to my mum and dad!
I suppose you were thinking, I think,
the look on your face is I'm so successful, I'm doing so well,
I've got this beautiful woman at my side, what are you on about?
Yeah, that was more or less it.
I did what most guys would have done in my position
coming from my background. I didn't know how long it was going to last.
I enjoyed myself. Every hour of every day.
Now solo in LA, Rod was free to go in his own musical direction.
Sam Cooke used to say...
I said, "What do you think about this artist?"
He said, "Well, right now he's... He's an entertainer."
He says, "He grow older, he become an artist."
# Sweet little rock'n'roller
# Sweet little rock'n'roller
# Her father doesn't have to scold her
# Her partner can't hardly hold her
# She never gets any older
# Sweet little rock'n'roller
# Sweet little rock'n'roller... #
To watch somebody, this is before black was in.
The soul singer meant black, it was the soul singer.
When I look, I say Rod has been soulful all his life
and even though people say, "He's trying to sound like this,"
I say, everybody tries to sound like somebody else but I say
they are blessed with what they have.
All you can do is cultivate it.
And so I watched Rod Stewart, it was like watching myself become
more sure of himself, he recognised who he was and he cultivated it.
But the critics were less sure.
And perhaps his lifestyle was getting in the way
of his credibility.
# But if anything should happen and my plans go wrong... #
Back in the UK, his fans felt left behind.
He's getting too big, it's got into him, that Hollywood stuff.
-It's not right.
-You think he's left you all behind a bit?
Yeah, he didn't even do a farewell concert.
He thinks he's left us behind but he's not, though!
But then in 1976 Rod surprised everyone.
The Killing Of Georgie, tell me about that and how that came about.
Well, first of all it was a true story and Georgie was a black guy,
a dear friend of the Faces, very handsome guy.
And he would bring us, bring us, you know, music -
great singles and albums and turn us on to all that stuff.
So, the facts are nearly absolutely correct.
He got killed on 43rd and 3rd it was, I think, I'm not sure.
# Pa said there must be a mistake
# How can my son not be straight?
# After all I've said and done for him... #
First of all, that was an incredibly brave song.
Secondly, you've made yourself up,
you're incredibly seductive on camera and it's an amazing song.
# Leavin' home on a Greyhound bus
# Cast out by the ones he loves
# A victim of these gay days it seems... #
I did look a bit of a tart in some of the videos, I must admit.
Eye make-up on galore. But it was all the go at the time.
The band used to shout out, "Avon Calling!"
when I walked on the stage!
It's so hard for me to analyse songs because I didn't sit down
and say, "I'm going to write a song about my dear friend Georgie."
It's just the chords... I still do it to this day,
I will sing along with the chords until something comes up.
And I don't know what sparked the song, I really don't. I wish I did.
I dedicate this tune to the newspapers.
I Don't Want To Talk About It.
# I don't want to talk about it
# How you broke my heart
# If I stay just a little bit longer
# If I stay won't you listen?
Despite the fact that you're incredibly successful,
it's the arrival of punk soon afterwards
and there is Joe Strummer and others are very condescending towards you.
I think you refer to it that you'd got a kick in the harem pants.
# Tommy gun
# You'll be dead when your war is won
# I can see it's kill or be killed
# A nation of destiny has got to be fulfilled
# Whatever you want you're gonna get it... #
What do you feel about what you are doing at that time
and what this new wave of music was, what punk was doing?
Well, it was a question of I'm doing my thing,
there's no reason why they can't do what they do.
We can all live on this planet making different music,
that's the way I looked at it.
And I think they used me
and stabbed me in the back to get publicity.
There's nothing wrong with that. We're all big boys, we can take it.
-It was a good kick up the arse for the likes of me and...
Elton and Bowie and everybody that was around at that time.
# There's no future
# In England's dreaming
# God save the Queen! #
God Save The Queen was in the charts and you, of course, put out,
I Don't Want To Talk About It and The First Cut Is The Deepest
and you got to the top of the charts and God Save The Queen didn't,
so you got your revenge.
# The first cut is the deepest
# Baby, I know the first cut is the deepest... #
But far removed from punk and the London riots, Rod was still loving
the LA life and he had met Alana who would become the first Mrs Stewart.
I saw him across the crowded table,
we were sitting at the same table and no, I thought he was very
cocky and sure of himself and I thought, "Who does he think he is anyway?"
I can't remember what we talked about - sex and drugs probably.
-In that order.
-Yes. No, I can't remember.
I don't remember what we talked about. What I do remember was
I realised he was really a terrific person,
very bright and sensitive and all the things I hadn't thought
he was and had a wonderful sense of humour
and we stayed up till six o'clock in the morning talking
and I had a completely different impression of him by the end.
-Then what did we do, darling, from six o'clock onwards?!
-Don't be rude!
The rest is not history.
# Hot legs, you're wearing me out
# Hot legs you can scream and shout! #
But Rod as partygoer and Casanova was beginning to overshadow Rod the musician.
You've added to that mythology, that sort of anthem for tall blondes with
beautiful legs, which has certainly been a regular element in your life.
-Nothing wrong with that, Alan.
-I take that, absolutely.
-It is a great promo, that promo of...
Shot between the girls, yeah.
# Hot legs wearing me out... #
'It was my idea to shoot it through the legs and then I think
'they copied that idea with a Bond film a couple of years later.'
# ..I love you, honey! #
Not everyone got the joke
and the next hit was the last straw.
Around that time also you brought out Do Ya Think I Am Sexy?
And this was probably one of the most successful songs
you wrote at the time.
Yeah. It was an absolute tearaway, it really was.
# If you want my body and you think I'm sexy
# Come on, sugar let me know
# If you really need me Just reach out and touch me
# Come on, honey Tell me so
# Tell me so, baby... #
'I went down to Brazil for the carnival in Rio,'
and I heard this melody.
# Da-da-da-da-da-da Da-da-da-da-da-da
# Da-da-da-da-da-da-dad-da. #
And when we came to record, I don't know, eight months later,
that melody was still in my head
and I didn't know where I had got it from, and I just went for it.
# ..If you want my body and you think I'm sexy... #
But Rod didn't realise what he was setting himself up for.
It was a skit on the Kenny Everett television show
and it was the time when Rod was turning his back on the audience
and doing a lot of wiggling and all of that kind of stuff.
# ..If you want my body and you think I'm sexy
# Come on, sugar, let me know... #
He turns round and wiggles and then his buttocks have inflated.
And then they inflate again and then they inflate again.
Until finally, Rod is drifting up to the ceiling,
propelled by these massively inflated buttocks.
It is so funny as a sketch. It is absolutely brilliant and,
of course, it did pin public opinion of Rod at that particular moment.
But it was also, of course, that was the moment of disco
and you had somehow captured the mood of the moment.
Yeah, and I think that is why it is so popular today.
What is that noise coming in the background here?
I think you have got some tea here.
Hi, boys. Thank you. Let's do it together now.
# Come on, you boys in green!
-# Glasgow's green and white!
-How is that then?
-It is good?
-Can you open that, please?
-You can have some raisins.
Daddy is going to have a nice cup of tea. Thank you, boys.
The critics now had it in for Rod Stewart.
Punk had redefined the musical landscape
and authenticity was all the rage.
What Rod was doing for many people was selling out.
Selling out, to me is trying to be somebody else.
He just went wherever the music flowed, just like Stevie said,
"Well, if I hear it, there is no bad music."
You know? So Rod has been in many different bands,
but when it all come out on top, stood Rod Stewart.
One thing about any career that demonstrates genuine
longevity is the longer that career goes on
and the more, particularly, as time goes by, it begins to rethrive,
you have to have respect for that
because it demonstrates resilience,
commitment and talent, sheer talent.
# ..Now you're moving in high society... #
OK, you can lose track, you can lose yourself in this strata
of parties and shopping at Prada,
or whatever it is, girlfriends,
it is the way you come out the other side of that
that then becomes important.
Musically and business-wise, I mention two things,
in the early days, the Faces' business was
hopeless, apparently, completely hopeless
and I take it it was not very good around this time
when you're with Alana because that is when you bring Arnold in.
It is so easy to,
when you hit success, take your eye off the ball and forget about,
you know, who's running the band, who's doing the finances,
who's doing anything because you're so flushed with success.
In the mid-'80s he and Alana broke up, and he went on to
have a daughter with model Kelly Emberg.
Once again, his lifestyle was counting against him.
Clearly Rod was suffering from er... a backlash,
and being seen suddenly as no longer that troubadour street singer,
but a fancy guy with sports cars and gorgeous blondes
and, living, you know, a life that didn't seem as real as those
people who were his core audience wanted it to be.
And at the top of the list were the music critics.
They were really unhappy.
So at the very beginning, what was your conclusion about what
did Rod need next?
What I thought we had to do was build a pyramid that would get him
back to what he should be doing, and what he did so well.
Did you feel you'd been sort of lost for a while and somehow recovered?
-Erm...through the '80s?
-Through those mid-'80s, yeah.
It was cloudy, the '80s. I can't remember too much about me that...
-I'm moving on a bit now and I am moving to...
-We are moving on.
I am moving on to a period where those mid-'80s were
-not your finest hours, where they?
-So let's just move on.
-Shall we gloss over them?
-Yes, let's just do that.
Post Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?
Pre Downtown Train, I think
that was the lost years as far as Rod going into the studio
and making great music was concerned.
You carried on into the '80s and everything,
but Downtown Train just redefined all of that.
# ..Will I see you tonight?
# On a downtown train? #
But then you take a Tom Waits song and it is a brilliant success.
-Downtown Train, yeah.
# ..On a downtown train... #
# ..I know your window and I know it's late
# I know your stairs... #
Rod was back. The critics loved him and that same year he fell in love.
She was the stunning 21-year-old New Zealand model
and fitness instructor Rachel Hunter.
You fall in love with Rachel and then the marriage doesn't succeed.
-It was good for a few years.
Do you want to talk about the good years?
They were great, they were good years.
We had two wonderful children, we were madly in love
but, to be honest with you, she was far too young.
I remember my sister said at the wedding that she was too young,
"Far too young for our Roddy, you know,"
she said as she sat in the church and she was right.
# ..The congregation sang We knelt and prayed
# As we stood before God... #
And Mary was right.
The relationship lasted eight years
and then Rod was hit with the news that Rachel wanted to leave him.
But he had just started a two-week run at Earls Court when Rachel came
and gave him the news that,
as a song on the new album says, it's over.
And he was devastated but he played every one of those shows.
Came offstage in tears and he really went into a quiet depression.
# ..I don't want our kids to suffer
# Can we talk to one another?
# I was once your wife, your lover It's gone now
# All the pain and all the grieving
# When did we stop believing?
# Too late now, stop the bleeding it's gone now... #
You were rejected and it pulled you down, didn't it?
Yes, it did.
-It was hard.
-And you went to therapists.
-How was that?
Fucking therapists! I can't tell you what they said. It is in the book.
I will have to swear to tell the story.
You can swear, it is all right.
The first therapist I went to said, "Why don't you get yourself a cat?"
"Is that the best you can come up with?"
And the male therapist I went to, get ready for this, girls,
I walked in, he said, "Don't worry about it.
-"You have seen one
-you've seen them all." That was therapy for me.
That was therapy? It sounds like that was in Beverly Hills.
-Beverly Hills therapy, yes.
-Within months, of course...
Yeah, I went for a routine check-up
and they found a little node on my... Not on my vocal cords,
on my thyroid cord, thyroid, so I was whipped into hospital
and out of the hospital all in the space of 48 hours.
I was very, very, very lucky.
Not only that, but you had to learn to sing again?
Yeah, because what they do is they cut all the way through
your muscles in your throat to get to the thyroid.
I really wasn't even speaking very well.
It was like I was a drunk
because I could not pronounce the words correctly.
It took me nine months to be able to get back to be able to do a concert.
Was it scary? Did you ever think, "Am I going to get better?"
You bet your life I did, yeah. I really did.
It was...something I love so much, to this day
and I think people know that when they see me in a show.
It is who I am, it is what I was put on this earth to do
and to have it taken away so abruptly...
But I had plans, I was going to be a landscape gardener. Jesus!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Miraculously his voice came back and with a deeper range,
more suited to a style of singing he had always longed to try.
# The way you wear your hat
# The way you sip your tea
# The memory of all that
# No, no, they can't take that away from me... #
The night before the first album came out,
I said to Arnold, "I feel like a rock and roll traitor.
"They are going to hate me." And I did. I just...
But, you know, I try to explain to people
if songs are good enough for Billie Holiday and they are good
enough for Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra - these songs are beautiful.
They are beautiful lyrically, the way they are created,
they are just gorgeous.
# I see trees of green
# Red roses too
# I see them bloom for me and you
# And I think to myself
# What a wonderful world... #
And that proved to be an extraordinary new scene for Rod.
Amazing. It has become the largest-selling, continuous series
of record albums ever recorded, ever.
We've sold over 23 million of them already.
# ..No, you can't take that away from me... #
Killed the critics.
The music critics didn't know how to hate it more
and the more it sold, the more they hated it.
On tour, he never sang very much of The Great American Songbook,
but just the halo effect of it really increased his touring.
# Someone like you makes it easy... #
Everybody cherishes their fantasy of what
they loved about Rod Stewart and people remember where
they were the first time they heard Maggie May.
People know what they were doing it the first time
they heard Tonight's The Night.
It is like these are signposts in people's lives.
CROWD SINGS ALONG
# ..It's all true
# That you lied straight-faced
# While I cried
# Still I will look to find a reason to believe... #
I think the reason that Rod stopped writing as many
terrific songwriters do, and Rod really is a marvellous songwriter.
So many of our favourite Rod Stewart songs he wrote,
the music and the lyrics.
He had gotten so outside of life. In the rarefied space you occupy
when you are an international superstar, icon,
what is there to write about?
He would say to me, "What do you want me to write about?
"A song about the gardener charged too much?
"Or there is an incident in the rose bushes on the back lawn?
"What am I going to write a song about?" He had a point.
And then Rod surprised everyone, not least himself, by writing
a hugely popular and acclaimed autobiography.
And in doing so,
he unearthed a rich seam of material for a whole album of original songs,
his first in over 20 years.
His conflict within himself and the ease with which he wrote that book
made him realise that he indeed is a writer.
His relationship with photographer Penny Lancaster seems to have
given him the confidence to write both the book and the new songs.
He had first spotted her on the dance floor 14 years ago
and was again in love.
# These boots are made for walking
# And that's just what they'll do
# One of these days these boots are going to walk all over you... #
Penny has given Rod another two children
and brought the entire family together.
How did it come about, this album?
How did it emerge for him
because he had not been writing songs for years?
-Not for a long, long time.
-He didn't need to, of course.
-He didn't need to, no.
-The standards were so successful.
I think as the years had gone by he had lost a lot of confidence.
He had lost his belief in writing again,
but the need really sprung forth when he started doing
the autobiography and he started remembering his early years.
It was just one of those moments when all the stars collided
and the right chords and the right mood - it just happens.
He was getting up in the middle of the night with a scrap
piece of paper, a pencil, and writing down.
He would ring them in and say, "Record this.
"Record this message on your phone."
It came out in scraps and bits and you caught hold of it every time.
-Exactly. Catch hold of it and put it down.
-He kept surprising himself.
He was like, "I can't believe all these words are coming out."
And, "Quick, quick, quick!" We would be in a restaurant
and he would be grabbing a waiter for a notepad.
This melody, I'd go, "This is fantastic."
Haven't got a microphone, haven't got a tape recorder,
haven't got a pencil I can jot it down.
'That is how Can't Stop Me Now came around.'
I have the melody first, it sounds like a marching band melody.
# Da-da-da-da-da-da! #
# I stood up straight and sign for the record company man
# My enthusiasm filled the room... #
'I don't think with this album,'
I don't think I broke any new ground, but...
it is what I do best
and I have returned to what I do best.
This is perhaps what Rod does best.
Songs from the heart, simple lyrics about his own experience,
sung with a voice designed to deliver emotion.
# You can't stop me now The world is waiting
# It is my turn to stand out in the crowd
# They can't stop me now The tide is turning
# I am going to make you proud
# So proud, so proud, oh, yeah... #
And the new songs suggest that he has never strayed very far from home.
Throughout the rock and roll years,
his father's influence still hung over everything,
particularly Rod's sense of family.
This is Kimberly. Here is Kimberly.
-This is Ruby.
I don't normally dress like this. Hi, nice to meet you.
This is Liam.
His eight children from five different mothers are all
central to his life
and have kept their ties with the Stewart family home in Britain.
-Father and grandfather.
Sorry. Our dad has to be the make-up artist.
So the first question is a collective question,
if that is permissible,
which is his sense of family.
It is like we will have to take care of each other, we are like
a clan of some sort and we do.
-A football team.
-Yeah, a football team.
Dad definitely instilled that in us at a very young age,
that family was very important.
And so he gave us lots of brothers and sisters.
It is like Buster Keaton walking across the set, isn't it?
It is Sunday, somewhere in Essex, not so very far from the sweet shop
in north London, which was the Stewart family home.
# May the good Lord be with you
# Every road you roam... #
# And may sunshine and happiness... #
A typical weekend for Rod is getting friends and family together
for Sunday lunch and kicking a ball around in his back garden -
where he happens to have a full-size football pitch.
-How are you?
-How nice to see you.
-You too. Say hi.
-Say hi, Alan.
-Not playing football?
Today, former Celtic players have joined Rod
and his elder brothers, Bob who is 77 and Don the referee who is 83.
-Football is in the DNA of the Stewart family?
-Very much so.
Absolutely. All comes from my dad.
This sense of family that you all have and Rod has very,
very strongly, has it been all through your lives together?
I would say yes, definitely.
He seemed to like to get all his family around him.
He never seems to be without them and I think it is like that.
We do keep together, yes.
It is very clear to me, listening to him talk about all of you,
that he is deeply attached to all of you
and to his family in a way that quite a lot of people who go off on another
journey into a different world lose touch, but he has not lost touch.
No, he has not lost touch with his roots, definitely not.
-Wherever you go around Rod, he is surrounded by...
-Is he good at giving it as well as getting it?
He gives a lot of love and I always say to him,
"Mum and Dad are watching you. Dad especially."
# Forever young
# Ha... #