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.