In the vibrant landscape of the 1960s, Rod Stewart emerged as a distinctive voice, weaving his way through the music scene with a unique blend of rock, soul, and pop. From his early days with the Jeff Beck Group to his solo triumphs, Stewart’s musical journey has been nothing short of legendary. At the age of 78, he continues to command global stages, reflecting on a career that spans decades and genres.
Stewart’s breakthrough came in 1971 with “Every Picture Tells a Story,” featuring hits like ‘Maggie May’ and ‘Reason to Believe.’ Since then, his musical repertoire has evolved, showcasing a staggering variety that David Byrne aptly described as, “Well, how did I get here?”
In this curated list, Stewart’s eclectic taste is on full display, offering a glimpse into the diverse musical influences that have shaped his illustrious career. As he continues to captivate audiences worldwide, Rod Stewart’s journey through music remains an enduring testament to the power of musical exploration and evolution.
Eddie Cochran – ‘Three Steps to Heaven’
Kicking off the list is a classic from Eddie Cochran, setting the stage for Stewart’s rock ‘n’ roll roots.
Muddy Waters – ‘Feel So Good’
Delving into blues-based rock ‘n’ roll, Stewart’s admiration for Muddy Waters becomes evident, with a special nod to the haunting ‘Live at Monterey.’
In a nod to his roots, Stewart revealed his early admiration for American blues-based rock ‘n’ roll. On BBC Radio 2’s ‘Tracks of My Years,’ he singled out Muddy Waters as a foundational influence, particularly praising the live album ‘Live at Monterey.’
“It was one of the first albums that I bought,” he reminisced. “Just lovely, Little Walter on the Harmonica, Francis Clay, Willie Dixon on bass, just haunting!”
Otis Redding – ‘Try A Little Tenderness’
Soulful and emotive, this Otis Redding track left a lasting impact on Stewart, even bringing him to tears during a 1967 concert.
Soul music left an indelible mark on Stewart’s early work, with Otis Redding standing out as a significant influence. Recounting a 1967 concert, Stewart emotionally shared,
“I saw Otis in 1967 at the Kuban State, and I cried my eyes out when he sang this song.”
Al Jolson – ‘Sonny Boy’
Stewart’s diverse taste takes a turn with Al Jolson’s classic, showcasing his appreciation for different eras in music.
Bobby Womack – ‘Lookin’ For A Love’
Continuing the soulful journey, Stewart pays homage to Bobby Womack, highlighting the depth of his musical influences.
Sam Cooke – ‘Cupid’
Another soulful gem, Sam Cooke’s ‘Cupid’ adds a touch of nostalgia to Stewart’s top 10 list.
Prefab Sprout – ‘Cars and Girls’
Shifting gears to a more pop-conscious sound in the mid-1980s, Stewart praises Prefab Sprout for their gorgeous and almost jazzy tunes.
As the 1970s unfolded, Stewart embraced a more pop-conscious sound. In the mid-1980s, Prefab Sprout caught his attention, and he professed his admiration for them on BBC Radio 2.
“Just gorgeous… it’s jazz almost. Long live Prefab Sprout!”
Billie Holiday – ‘These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You)’
Stewart’s playlist takes a timeless turn with Billie Holiday, showcasing his appreciation for the golden era of jazz.
Little Richard – ‘The Girl Can’t Help It’
Returning to the roots of rock ‘n’ roll, Little Richard’s energetic track adds a lively touch to the list.
Mark Ronson – ‘Uptown Funk (feat. Bruno Mars)’
Embracing contemporary sounds, Stewart acknowledges the brilliance of Bruno Mars, declaring ‘Uptown Funk’ as one of the best records ever made.
Proving his musical taste spans eras, Stewart’s final selection took a contemporary turn.
“Bruno Mars for me… He is doing something totally brilliant. This song, I believe, is one of the best records ever made into our world.”