The talented Rod Stewart Part Seven
I’m doing The talented Rod Stewart Part Seven, today, but you might be reading it tomorrow, which will be your yesterday.
2002–10: The Great American Songbook series and Soulbook
Performing in Zaragoza, Spain, November 2006
In June 2002, Stewart performed “Handbags and Gladrags“ at the Party at the Palaceheld at Buckingham Palace Garden, a concert which celebrated the Golden Jubilee ofElizabeth II and featured stars from five decades of music.
By 2002, Stewart had sold over 100 million records during his career. Heconcentrated on singing 1930s and 1940s pop standards from the Great AmericanSongbook, written by songwriters such as Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and Georgeand Ira Gershwin, with great popular success. These albums have been released onClive Davis‘s J Records label and have seen Stewart enjoy album sales equal to the1970s.
The first album from the songbook series, It Had to Be You: the Great AmericanSongbook, reached number four on the US album chart, number eight in the UK andnumber ten in Canada when released in late 2002. The track “These Foolish Things“(which is actually a British, not American, song) reached number 13 on theBillboard adult contemporary chart, and “They Can’t Take That Away From Me“ wentTop 20.
The second series album, As Time Goes By: the Great American Songbook 2, reachednumber two in the US, number four in the UK and number one in Canada. “Bewitched,Bothered and Bewildered“, a duet with Cher, went Top 20 on the US adultcontemporary charts. “Time After Time“ was another Top 30 track on the US adultcontemporary charts. A musical called Tonight‘s The Night, featuring many ofStewart‘s songs, opened 7 November 2003 at London‘s Victoria Palace Theatre. It iswritten and directed by Ben Elton, who previously created a similar production, WeWill Rock You, with music by Queen.
In 2004, Stewart reunited with Ronnie Wood for concerts of Faces material. A RodStewart and the Faces best of album, Changing Faces, reached the Top 20 of the UKalbum charts. Five Guys Walk into a Bar …, a Faces box set compilation, wasreleased. In late 2004, Stardust: the Great American Songbook 3, the third albumin Stewart‘s songbook series, was released. It was his first US number one albumin 25 years, selling over 200,000 albums in its first week. It also debuted atnumber one in Canada, number three in the UK and Top 10 in Australia. His versionof Louis Armstrong‘s “What a Wonderful World“, featuring Stevie Wonder, made theTop 20 of the world adult charts. He also recorded a duet with Dolly Parton forthe album— “Baby, It‘s Cold Outside“. Stewart won his first ever Grammy Award forthis album.
2005 saw the release of the fourth songbook album, Thanks for the Memory: TheGreat American Songbook 4; it included duets with Diana Ross and Elton John.Within weeks of its release, the CD made it to number two on the Top 200 list. Inlate 2006, Stewart made his return to rock music and his new approach to countrymusic with the release of Still the Same … Great Rock Classics of Our Time, anew album featuring rock and southern rock milestones from the last four decades,including a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s “Have You Ever Seen theRain?“, which was released as the first single. The album debuted at number one onthe Billboard charts with 184,000 copies in its first week. The number one débutwas helped by a concert in New York City that was on MSN Music and an appearanceon Dancing with the Stars. He performed tracks from his new album live from theNokia Theater on 9 October. Control Room broadcast the event Live on MSN and in117 cinemas across the country via National CineMedia. In November 2006, Stewartwas inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame.
On 1 July 2007, Stewart performed at the Concert for Diana held at WembleyStadium, London, an event which celebrated the life of Princess Diana almost 10years after her death. He performed “Sailing“, “Baby Jane“ and “Maggie May“. On 12December, he performed for the first time at the Royal Variety Performance at theLondon Coliseum in front of HRH Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall,singing another Cat Stevens number, “Father and Son“, and Bonnie Tyler‘s song“It‘s a Heartache“. On 22 December 2006, Stewart hosted the 8th Annual A Home forthe Holidays special on CBS at 8:00 pm (PST).
On 20 May 2009, Stewart performed “Maggie May“ on the grand finale of AmericanIdol season 8. On 2, July 2009 Stewart performed his only UK date that year atHome Park, Plymouth. On 29 September 2009 a 4-CD, 65-track compilation entitledRod Stewart Sessions 1971— 1998 was released; it is composed of previously-unreleased tracks and outtakes from the bulk of his career. Stewart has alsomentioned plans for a compilation of covers of soul classics, the possible releaseof another edition of the Great American Songbook album and a country coversalbum.
On 17 October 2009, Stewart released the studio album Soulbook which was composedof covers of soul and Motown songs. On 14 November 2009, Stewart recorded a TVprogram in the UK for ITV that was screened on 5 December 2009. The music in theprogramme featured tracks from his new album and some old favourites. On 14January 2010, Rhino records released Stewart‘s Once in a Blue Moon, a “lost album“originally recorded in 1992, featuring ten cover songs including the RollingStones‘ “Ruby Tuesday“, Bob Dylan‘s “The Groom‘s Still Waiting at the Altar“ andStevie Nicks‘ “Stand Back“, as well as Tom Waits‘ “Tom Traubert‘s Blues“. On 19October 2010, Stewart released another edition of his Great American Songbookseries titled Fly Me to the Moon … The Great American Songbook Volume V on JRecords.