11.10.2012

Rod Stewart: Singer, Writer, Art Lover

Handbags and gladrags and morning sun when it's in your face, etc.

Perhaps it's spandexing the bounds of "literary" to include a review of a podcast in which Rod Stewart promotes his autobiography (entitled, deliciously, Rod:

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but I was lyrically disillusioned by "Maggie May" as a kid (I can still picture the room in my dad's Upper West Side apartment where I first heard it over the radio) and I was popmusically imprinted by Stewart's cover of Cat Stevens' "The First Cut Is The Deepest" as a teenager. When I chanced across Stewart's 13-minute conversation with Kirsty Lang on the BBC's Front Row podcast  I was snookered all over again by the raspy organ and Rod's laid-back candor.

Here are a few of the choice items from the interview, but if you have time, listen to Rod tell them as only Rod can (see links below for online listening & iTunes downloading*):

1) Although his lyrics take some factual liberties, there was a real "Maggie May" and a somewhat momentous event for young Rod at a jazz festival in Beaulieu, England. [You'll notice Beaulieu is pronounced "beeuwlee" by Rod à la British convention. Irrelevant fun fact: Beaulieu, located in the lovely New Forest, was an important RAF base in WWII.]

2) "Maggie May" was an underestimated B-side (let's pause for a moment of 45 rpm nostalgia), and owes its début to a curious Cleveland DJ.

3) Young Rod was "discovered" at train station, playing harmonica and dressed in rags, by Long John Baldry.

4) Rod collects art, particularly Pre-Raphaelite paintings (because they often portray mermaid-torsoed, long-haired damsels??) and has hung many examples across his four domiciles. Check out the one on his wall in Beverly Hills. Wow.

I'll leave you to discover the remaining lightly scandalous (no airplane stories) Rod bits on your own.

Fear not, intellectual types: Litagogo will resume its regularly-scheduled pretentious literary posting next week.

*Online link to Rod's interview with Kirsty Lang on the BBC's Front Row programme.
iTunes link to Rod Stewart on the BBC's Front Row Daily podcast of 10/18/12.

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