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Monday, October 29, 2012


One of the most enjoyable books I have read in a long  time. (Review by Keith Millar)

Rod Stewart’s autobiography is one of the most enjoyable books I have read in a long time. It is written with wit, and in an unassuming and self-deprecating manner, which is both very entertaining and engaging.

Certainly no stone is left unturned as he recounts his colourful life and a career which has spanned five decades. The result is a wild rock ‘n roll adventure which is at times riotous and at other times deeply moving. In the process Rod Stewart reveals himself to be a thoroughly likable, loving and caring human being.

Rod Stewart was born into a working class family in North London in 1945. He was a “laatlammetjie” who was warmly welcomed by his parents and four older siblings. He enjoyed a secure upbringing and has remained close to his family throughout his life.

In the early 1960’s, after a few unsuccessful attempts at diverse career paths, Rod started performing in London’s R&B clubs. His distinctive raspy voice caught the attention of Long John Baldry and recruited him as the vocalist for his group The Hoochie Coochie Men. This was followed by stints with Steampacket and the Jeff Beck Group. Then along with Ronnie Wood, he formed the rock group the Faces. For the next five years, the bands offstage antics with alcohol, wrecked hotel rooms and groupies were the stuff of which legends were made.

During this period he also found time to write Maggie May, among a few other hit songs, which launched a solo career which has seen him sell an estimated 200 million records, be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, play the world’s largest ever concert, receive a Grammy Award and be awarded a CBE by the Queen. Not bad, as he says, for “a kid with a frog in his throat and a rooster haircut”.

The book also deals candidly with his marriages and divorces and his love affairs with many beautiful woman from movie stars to super models. Rod has had eight children and talks about them with great love and compassion. He also talks about his brush with cancer which so nearly saw a premature end to his career.

Rod is a passionate football fan and has played the game all his life. At the age of 67, he says he is still good for the occasional 45 minutes on the pitch. He is a fanatical supporter of the Scottish team – something he got from his Scottish father. He loves the camaraderie of the sport and has formed lifelong friendships with fellow players.

He is also a zealous model railroad collector and has built extensive layouts at his home. Whenever he goes on tour, three flight cases of models goes with him so that he will have something to do in his down time.

Rod Stewart is highly appreciative of his God-given talent and believes he has a duty to make the most of it. He has lived his life to the full and the good news is that he has no intention of retiring just yet. His autobiography, mostly light hearted, good humoured and full of fun, is an apt celebration of a life well lived.

Music icons such as Rod Stewart define a generation. I am sure that there are many of that same generation of old rockers who would be overjoyed to find ROD The Autobiography in their Christmas stockings this year.

Rod The Autobiography is published by Century 2012. ISBN is 9781780890531. Suggested retail price is R230.00. – Keith Millar