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Few stars have embodied the cliché of sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll with more gusto and good humor than Rod Stewart, famed for such hits as “Maggie May,” “Reason to Believe” and “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” There’s never been a dull moment for Roderick David Stewart, 77, who began busking with a harmonica in 1962, exploded to stardom with his third solo album, Every Picture Tells a Story, in 1971, and released his 32nd studio album, The Tears of Hercules, in November.
On Friday, March 25, at 8 p.m. ET, Stewart will perform LIVE in concert as part of AARP’s three-day AARP Celebrates You! virtual festival.
Meanwhile, here are 10 reasons Rod Stewart remains the ultimate rock star.
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1. He’s the brown-eyed duke of blue-eyed soul
Stewart’s raspy voice, a whiskey-soaked croak flooded with emotion, set him apart from the start. James Brown called him the greatest living white soul singer. Rolling Stone enshrined him as one of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, and The New York Times called him “about the best male singer in rock, with a fervent, husky, plaintive tenor that he can phrase with real musicality.”
2. He’s sung it all (almost)
While he’s yet to tackle death metal or opera, Stewart has navigated a variety of genres with ease and defiance. Mastering rock, pop, soul and folk early in his career, he dabbled in disco, took a symphonic spin with 2019's You're in My Heart: Rod Stewart With the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and released five big-selling Great American Songbook collections. Acclaimed these days for his interpretations, his songwriting also wowed critics. “Nobody writes songs like Rod Stewart,” wrote critic Greil Marcus about the 1972 album Never a Dull Moment. “There is probably more affection, more truly authentic love in his songs than in the rest of the rock and roll scene put together.”
3. He’s solid gold on every level
Stewart has nailed superstardom. In 2001, he became the first artist to receive the Chopard Diamond Award for sales exceeding 100 million records. He’s sold more than a quarter billion records worldwide, generating 31 top 10 singles in the U.K. and 16 top 10 singles in the U.S. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice — as a solo artist and as a member of Faces. In December 1994, his show in Rio de Janeiro drew 3.5 million fans to Copacabana Beach — the largest free rock concert audience in history. In the first 24 hours that MTV was on the air, the channel played 16 of Stewart’s videos. He’s won numerous international music awards, including a Grammy for best traditional pop album (his only win out of 14 nominations).