Nearly 60 years after his career began, Rod Stewart is returning on 12 November with what he’s talking up as “by far my best album in many a year”, The Tears of Hercules – and he will answer your questions about it and anything else in his long career.
Stewart, 76, has had an astonishing life, starting out as a teenage busker and aspiring footballer who ditched the beautiful game for music: “I can also get drunk and make music, and I can’t do that and play football,” he later reasoned. He was a journeyman singer and harmonica player in London’s blues and R&B scenes in the mid-1960s, getting his break with the Jeff Beck Group alongside Ronnie Wood.
As a mod who had heard rock’n’roll come of age as well as soul, Stewart was a cosmopolitan figure whose hoarse voice made him legitimately bluesy. All this was brought to bear on his post-Beck phase, when he fronted the Faces (previously the Small Faces) while also starting a solo career, and had hits in each mode. 1971’s Maggie May topped the US and UK charts, as did its parent album Every Picture Tells a Story, while the Faces’ Stay With Me was also a transatlantic hit.
Juggling both roles couldn’t last – friction in the Faces grew, Wood was courted by the Rolling Stones, and the band split in 1975 – but Stewart consolidated his solo career, scoring major hits with the ballads Sailing, Tonight’s the Night, and his cover of The First Cut is the Deepest. He strutted through the glam and disco eras with hits like Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? and Hot Legs, and into the glossy 80s with Baby Jane.
His hit rate continued even as peers faltered – only one of the 27 solo albums since Every Picture Tells a Story has missed the UK Top 10 – and he spent a successful spell doing versions of songs from the Great American Songbook across five volumes, plus albums of rock, soul and Christmas covers. He admitted in 2013, “I backed myself into an alley because there’s not much left to do except write,” and returned to original songwriting, to further success. Collaborations have been wide-ranging, from Dolly Parton to Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder to ASAP Rocky.
Throughout, there have been a succession of invariably blond and statuesque partners alongside another acute passion: model railways. In 2019, he unveiled a creation 26 years in the making, a gargantuan 1,500-square foot railway based on industrial cities of 1940s America.
It’s a lot to take stock of, and Stewart will take on questions ranging right across his career – post them in the comments below before noon on Friday 12 November. We will publish his answers on Friday 19 November, online and in print in the Film & Music section.