Rod Stewart (born 10 January 1945) is a British rock singer-songwriter. He had six consecutive number one albums in the UK, and his tally of 62 UK hit singles includes 31 that reached the top 10, six of which gained the number one position. With his distinctive raspy singing voice, Stewart came to prominence in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s with The Jeff Beck Group and then with Faces. He maintained a solo career alongside a group career; his early albums were a fusion of rock, folk music, soul music, and R&B. Stewart is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold over 100 million records worldwide. (More from Wikipedia)
Other 1970’s recordings have danced around gay issues, such as Rod Stewart’s 1976 minor hit “The Killing of Georgie” – about the murder of a gay friend of his in New York back when he was in Faces – and it was an open secret that Freddie Mercury was gay though closeted; he was the frontman of a band called Queen after all. It was many years later though before openly gay songs and performers would arrive on the popular music scene, such as British musician Tom Robinson in the late 1970’s (he collaborated with Peter Gabriel on one EP that I own), and mid-1980’s sensation Frankie Goes to Hollywood. By the way, it is interesting that the first hit songs by arguably the two most famous Liverpool rock bands – the Beatles’ “Please Please Me” and Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax” – deal fairly openly with the topic of oral sex.
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Additionally, Pete Sears of the Sons of Fred has been a prominent session bass guitarist and keyboard player for more than four decades. He played on four early Rod Stewart solo albums, including the classic Every Picture Tells a Story (the album that includes Rod’s mega-hit “Maggie May”), plus Gasoline Alley, Never a Dull Moment, and Smiler. Pete Sears has also worked with Steamhammer, Stoneground, Long John Baldry, Los Lobos, and three of the founding members of the Grateful Dead: Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, and Phil Lesh.
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Kris Kristofferson also co-wrote another major gospel hit song in the 1970’s, “One Day at a Time” (also the motto of Alcoholics Anonymous and other similar organizations). He co-wrote the song with a Nashville songwriting legend, Marijohn Wilkin. With Danny Dill, Wilkin co-wrote “The Long Black Veil” for Lefty Frizzell – this standard is such a cultural touchstone that it was even mentioned in an opinion by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1979. Other songs that Marijohn Wilkin wrote or co-wrote include “Waterloo”, a #1 hit for Stonewall Jackson; “Cut Across Shorty”, which was recorded by Eddie Cochran, Rod Stewart, Faces, and Freddie and the Dreamers; and “I Just Don’t Understand” that was covered by Ann-Margret and the Beatles.
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By September 1963, the Rolling Stones had outgrown the local club scene and had begun to tour; their replacement at the Crawdaddy Club was another of the major British Invasion bands, the Yardbirds, whose line-up at that time included Eric Clapton. Other major bands and artists who performed at this club include Led Zeppelin, Long John Baldry, Elton John, and Rod Stewart.
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Singer and band combinations like this were fairly common in this era; past UARB the Soul Agents backed Rod Stewart during the first half of 1965 for instance. The backing band for the major English rock star Cliff Richard for many years was one of Britain’s top instrumental rock bands, the Shadows.
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