Many have long found it difficult to take Rod Stewart seriously. However, once we get past the awkward stuff—leopard-skin leggings, bum-wiggling stage schticks, and a hairstyle unseemly for a man of his age—there remains the undeniable fact that the "Caledonian Cockney" is responsible for some of the greatest recordings ever made. Again and again, the combination of his heartwracked songs and gravelly, sensitive vocal delivery have conjured sonic magic.
The bulk of Stewart's classic recordings were made in the 1970s. His string of albums for the Mercury label across the first half of that decade sent critics into raptures. His 1971 album Every Picture Tells a Story is considered by some of them to literally be the best album of all time. Said semi-decade also saw Stewart front the Faces, whose often likeably ramshackle albums gave his fans a double dose of their idol each year. On top of this are solo-Stewart classics that are neglected because he released them after a point where his increasingly outlandish image caused some of his original fans to disdain to any longer take him seriously. They include the splendid 1976 LP A Night on the Town and his peerless confessional love songs of 1977 "You're in My Heart (The Final Acclaim)" and "I Was Only Joking." All of this and more is the subject of Rod Stewart: The Classic Years.
Sean Egan has interviewed at length many of Stewart's colleagues, collaborators, and cohabitees from the period, including musicians Micky Waller, Pete Sears, Ray Jackson, Ian McLagan, Kenney Jones, and Jim Cregan, recording engineer Mike Bobak, manager Billy Gaff, and Stewart's then-girlfriend and muse Dee Harrington. The result is a striking and evocative portrait of the most fecund and vital stage in the life and career of one of popular music's most important artists.
Sean Egan has contributed to Billboard, Book Collector, Classic Rock, Reader's Digest, Record Collector, Tennis World, Total Film, Uncut, RollingStone.com, and more. He has written or edited two-dozen books, including works on the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Clash, Manchester United, Coronation Street, Tarzan, James Bond, and William Goldman. His critically acclaimed novel, Sick of Being Me, was published in 2003, while his 2008 collection of short stories, Don't Mess with the Best, carried cover endorsements from Booker Prize–winners Stanley Middleton and David Storey. His 2002 book, Jimi Hendrix and the Making of "Are You Experienced," was nominated for an Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research. Sean lives in London.
“Persuasively recovers Stewart as an important artist … Encylopaedic in knowledge yet sprightly in tone, this is an engaging read for even the deepest sceptic” ~ Shindig!