Friday, October 06, 2006

Rod Stewart Must Be Stopped

I've mostly ignored Rod Stewart's foray into the Great American Songbook. I love the standards, I love great singers like Frank Sinatra and Ray Charles and Ella and Dinah and so on, I always enjoy being happily surprised when pop stars tackle them and do a good job (like Boz Scaggs and Sting, for instance) and the songs I've heard by Rod have been so horrific and the reviews so consistently scathing I know the less I hear them the better. Why spoil my admiration for the great album 'Every Picture Tells A Story" by listening to that stuff?

But now Rod has recorded classic rock songs for his new album and I just saw him performing on Leno. He sang Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Have You Ever Seen The Rain" and it was truly horrifying. Rod pranced about the stage in a silky smoking jacket sort of thing, he had three female black backup singers so he wouldn't miss a cliche, he literally danced off-stage like a cartoon character for the guitar solo and every time he sang about the "rain coming down on a sunny day" he mimed rain falling down with one hand like a very bad contestant on Star Search. Oh, and he was flat and out of tune and out of breath. It was absolutely horrifying. It gave a bad name to rock and roll, to singers, to senior citizens, to just about everyone. I don't say this to be mean. But Rod Stewart has been coasting for 30 years on the good will engendered by his great album "Every Picture Tells a Story" (buy it, really) and its immediate sequels, especially "Gasoline Alley." Every time he tries to make a comeback, the nice critics say it's in the spirit of that classic. I could ignore his tawdry ravaging of the standards because it seemed so far afield of his real work that it seemed to have little to do with him. But watching Stewart gasp through a CCR gem like "Have You Ever Seen The Rain" was upsetting and awful. Rod Stewart must be stopped.


Anonymous said...

people actually listen to Rod ?
huh... who knew ?

Anonymous said...

I found the "American Songbook" albums Rod Stewart did absolutely dreadful. I agree that the Leno performance was unmemorable, but I did not think it was that offensive. My expectations from the new album are not very high, but will still check out the Nokia Theatre show next week. He was one of the best singers of all time and I don't want to accept that he's completely gone just yet.

Worst thing about the Internet is that every idiot with a keyboard can write super-creative comments like "huh, people actually listen to [enter anybody]."

Michael in New York said...

Yes, he was a terrific vocalist. But it's been a long, long time since he delivered a good album and really that performance was just cheesy. I'd go for free if given tickets and hope for the best, but it doesn't look promising.