Rod Stewart has got a new blonde in his life – but wife Penny Lancaster isn’t worried.
The famously blonde-loving rocker and Penny have adopted rescue dog Blondie, who has become a close member of the family – and a Celtic fan.
Rod Stewart and I are sitting on comfortable cream armchairs in the gym on his sprawling Essex estate. It stands beside the main house at the top of a long driveway that sweeps up from the wrought-iron gates, and was a cowshed, choked in weeds, before it was fitted out with state-of-the-art equipment.
Rod, now 74, has just been put through his paces by his personal trainer. He's still in his tracksuit sipping a glass of water. With Christmas looming, he tells me he loves to follow all the festive traditions.
'We all go to church on Christmas morning. Not that we ever go during the rest of the year, but I like to on the day itself,' he says.
'Then it's home to play football with the boys on the lawn. I like to wait until 6pm for the main meal, otherwise you've had a few glasses of wine and then you're asleep. We always have turkey and all the trimmings. We're just like anybody else.'
Rod Stewart, 74, will spend Christmas in Palm Beach, Florida, with his wife Penny Lancaster and their sons, Alastair, 14, and eight-year-old Aiden. They'll be joined this year by Rod's daughter Kimberly and son Sean, from his first marriage to Alana Hamilton, and Kimberly's daughter Delilah, by the actor Benicio del Toro. Pictured, Rod in a festive outfit
Well, not quite. For a start there are three homes to choose from. 'We take it in turns,' he says. 'Sometimes we're here in Essex. Sometimes we're at our home in Beverly Hills. But this year it will be in Palm Beach, Florida.'
And who does the cooking? 'Either my chef from here in Essex, or the one in Los Angeles. This year, it's the one from the UK. It's a big operation getting all the available Stewarts together.
'The Ferrari has to be driven from LA to Florida on a trailer so it's there for me to use.' But Rod makes no apologies. 'I earned it,' he smiles. 'I'll spend it.'
After his current tour finishes on 20 December he's off to Florida with his wife Penny Lancaster and their sons, Alastair, 14, and eight-year-old Aiden. They'll be joined this year by Rod's daughter Kimberly and son Sean, from his first marriage to Alana Hamilton, and Kimberly's daughter Delilah, by the actor Benicio del Toro.
Wherever he is, he always listens to the Queen's speech, although the time difference means he'll catch it later if he's in the US. 'You can find it easily online,' he says.
He'll also watch his favourite seasonal films. 'The one I like best is The Polar Express, with Tom Hanks, about the young boy going to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus. That always gets me in the mood. We open our presents before we eat.
'I don't know how anyone finds something to give me. I've got everything. It used to be paintbrushes for my model railroad. Now I tell them to give the money to charity.'
And what about his gift to Penny? 'I've got it already,' he says. 'I know she'll really love it. She also likes a bit of jewellery but I could pick something and it might not be her style.' There are always alternatives. 'Last year I bought her a white Bentley.'
Does he have any idea what Penny's going to buy him this year? 'No. But she's always great. She plans it months in advance. A few years ago she had a beautiful rowing boat built which we put on our lake in the other house in Essex before we moved here.
'I named it Celtic Pride.' He pauses and looks around the gym with its Celtic FC scarves and signed players' shirts adorning the walls. 'You'd never guess which football club I support, would you?' he says with a chuckle.
Penny also takes charge of the Christmas music, so what will be playing in the Stewart household? 'Me,' he says, with a grin. 'Penny insists on it. But it must be my Christmas album. Nothing else all day, although she might occasionally allow something of mine from the Great American Songbook.'
Rod and Penny are educating their sons, Alastair, 14, and eight-year-old Aiden, pictured, in the UK. The family will head to Palm Beach, Florida, for Christmas
She'll have more choice this year, as Rod's just released his new album You're In My Heart, a combination of his vocals from his greatest hits, with fresh orchestrations by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
'I can't take any credit,' he says. 'The record label came up with the idea. I didn't have to lift a finger. They just took my vocal tracks and then, under producer Trevor Horn's guidance, accompanied them with all these lush strings.
'I couldn't imagine them on a track like Maggie May or Tonight's The Night, but it works beautifully.'
It's clear he dotes on Penny, and after a somewhat hectic love life that's given him eight children, he's more settled today than he's ever been.
'Penny's great,' he says. 'She's very grounded, but I don't want to say normal because she's extraordinary. She keeps the family together. When she first came into my life, the older kids were very suspicious.
'"Another bird trying to get her hands on Dad's money. Less for us." That sort of thing. But she won them all over. And now they all look to her for advice – especially the girls.
'She doesn't beat about the bush. She'll tell them what she thinks and they'll listen. And her judgment's always spot on. She's the glue in the Stewart family.'
He's extremely proud of the stint Penny did as a special police constable in Peterborough for a TV reality show earlier this year. She found the experience so rewarding she's now in talks to take on the job part-time for real, with the prospect of six months
Before he flies off to Florida for Christmas, there's one shopping trip that’s always on Rod's list.
He was a fifth child, 14 years younger than his eldest brother Bob and an afterthought who left his mum exhausted.
'So my sister Mary, who'll be 91 this year, more or less brought me up,’ he says. The two remain very close and each December, as a sort of delayed thank you, he takes Mary off to Harrods on a Yuletide shopping spree. '
She’ll say, “Oh Roddy, you can’t possibly buy me that,”' he smiles.
'And I'll say, “Of course I can. I'm rich.”'
Rod pictured with his sister Mary
Wherever he is for Christmas, self-described monarchist Rod always listens to the Queen's speech, although the time difference means he'll catch it later if he's in the US
What does Rod think about it? 'No one's ever been able to stop Penny if she's decided she wants to do something. And I'm always behind her all the way. But am I scared for her? Yes, a little.
'Did you see that drug addict who threatened to stab her with a needle on the TV show?' He's suddenly very serious. 'As long as she's accompanied at all times by another constable, she'll be OK.'
Not everyone could have entered Rod's complex life and not only coped with it, but taken charge the way Penny has. A good example is the way she juggles the former wives and girlfriends, not to mention the children, and sometimes all under one roof at the same time.
'I don't know how she does it. I get on well with all of them, although it can be a bit awkward if Alana and Kelly [Emberg, mother of Rod's daughter Ruby] and Rachel [Hunter] are all in the same room. But Penny keeps all the plates spinning.'
It's all very different from a couple of decades ago when in 1999, after two children together, Renee and Liam, his second wife Rachel Hunter told him she wanted out.
'I couldn't believe it,' he tells me now. 'I was a rock star. You don't dump a rock star! It knocked me for six. It was a huge shock. But she was just 21 when we married and a mum a year later. My sister Mary told me she was too young for me as we were walking down the aisle. And she was right.'
It made him far more cautious when he met Penny, who's 26 years his junior, shortly after Rachel left him. They dated for eight years before they married in 2007, and when they had their two sons he approached fatherhood very differently too.
'With Kimberly and Sean, I was deeply in debt to the US taxman. So I was away a lot on tour to earn much-needed money. Did the kids suffer? Yeah, they must have done. Their dad wasn't there. But I didn't have much choice.'
These days he plans his schedule around Alastair and Aiden's holidays, and he and Penny have chosen to have the boys educated in the UK. 'They're taught more here,' he says. 'They learn quicker. They go to school six days a week and they love it.
'They're at the same school now. It's wonderful to see them go off every morning in their uniforms. They've given me a new lease of life. And they're mad on football too. We play on the astroturf pitch I've had built in the grounds.'
Recently there's been a new addition to the household – a rescue dog from Battersea. She's a Labradoodle originally called Blondie, though she's been re-named Lily by Aiden, who says she responds better to that.
Rod's busy home life is counterbalanced by the demands of his career, and there's plenty coming up in the run-up to Christmas with his new album just out.
He's hugely enjoying his current tour which ends with three nights at London's O2 on 17, 19 and 20 December, each of which will see him accompanied on stage by the Royal Philharmonic for the first time.
As well as singing with Robbie Williams on his new album You’re In My Heart, Rod’s previously recorded plenty of duets perfect for downloading at Christmas...
WINTER WONDERLAND (with Michael Bublé)
Rod and the popular Canadian crooner give this Christmas classic an easy-listening makeover.
WE THREE KINGS (with Mary J Blige)
Rod teams up with the Grammy winning soul singer for a remake of the 1857 Christmas carol.
IT TAKES TWO (with Robbie Williams)
Robbie returned a favour to Rod by duetting on this new version of Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston’s 1965 hit.
There was a report recently that he was going to drop some of his raunchier songs – Hot Legs, Da Ya Think I'm Sexy? and so on – from his live shows because they were no longer age-appropriate. Rod snorts.
'Nah! Where did that come from? Of course I'm going to keep singing them. Anyway, they were appropriate when I first sang them. It was a different time. You could smack a girl on the bum then and it wasn't the end of the world.'
He does approve of the #MeToo movement, though. 'Course I do. Not that I've ever had to throw myself at a woman. It's always been the other way around,' he chuckles.
The only track on the new album that doesn't involve the Royal Philharmonic is a duet with Robbie Williams on the Marvin Gaye/Kim Weston Motown hit It Takes Two.
'I know Robbie through football, and his wife Ayda is on Loose Women and so is Penny. Also, my chef is married to his housekeeper. He emailed me and said he'd got a Christmas song, Fairytales, and he'd be honoured if I sang it with him.
'It's on his new album. Once we'd recorded it, I told him he owed me a favour. He'd have to duet with me on It Takes Two, so that's what we did. But we've never sung it together.'
That's because they both recorded their vocals at separate times. They were due to perform the song together at this year's Royal Variety Performance, but Rod had to pull out with a throat infection.
It would have been his third Royal Variety show, although he's performed for the Queen privately too. 'I'm a monarchist,' he says. 'I think the Queen is wonderful. And I know Charles quite well. He's great fun.
'I was a bit disappointed that Harry and Meghan have decided not to spend Christmas with the Queen this year. If I was Harry, I'd think there was plenty of time in the future to have Christmases on my own or with Meghan's mum.
'The Queen's 93. I flew around the world to be with my mum and dad at Christmas because I knew they didn't have many left.'
Rod, who was knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2016, recalls how nerve-racking it was when he once sang in front of her in a room no bigger than the gym we're sitting in.
'It was a fundraiser at the palace. There were about 40 guests and the Queen sat with the Duke of Edinburgh 15ft away from me. I was so bleeping nervous! I sang five standards. Actually, I announced in front of her that Penny and I were getting married. She had a big smile on her face.'
The lifelong footballer is having his right knee replaced in January, before a string of dates in Las Vegas in March. There's never any shortage of new projects, but how would he feel about a film of his life following the recent Bohemian Rhapsody, about Freddie Mercury, and Rocketman, about Elton John.
'No one's asked me yet,' he says. 'But would I be interested? You betcha. And my youngest, Aiden, who's the spitting image of me at that age, could play the young me. I don't know who they'd get for the adult version, but that's not my problem.'
He thought the Queen film was 'just brilliant', but he had one or two misgivings about Rocketman.
'The chronology wasn't always right. When they showed Elton singing at the Troubadour he was performing songs that were released 20 years later. And it was a bit too Mamma Mia! for me,' he says, waving jazz hands.
The recent pictures of Rod's astonishing model railroad (you call it a train set at your peril) attest that he's clearly got a forensic eye for detail.
'To me, making it was more fun than running it,' he says. 'I can only explain my love for it by saying the sense of fulfilment it gives me comes from the fact I created it with my own hands.'
Yet until now he's always been rather shy about discussing it. Might that be because he felt it was a bit geeky – not very rock'n'roll?
'Absolutely. I thought it was a bit dodgy. I didn't want anybody to know about it. But it's incredibly absorbing. I've lost more hours than I could count constructing it in my attic in LA. Penny would stand at the bottom of the stairs. "Rod," she'd shout. "There are children down here, growing up." But she knows what it means to me.'
Though his passions keep him young, he leaves nothing to chance. Gary, his personal trainer, keeps him in trim, though Rod's not a man who puts on weight.
'But I did because of the prostate cancer,' he says. Earlier this year he revealed he'd been having treatment for a couple of years. 'I'm the right side of that now, but it was caught early. Look at this, though...'
He lifts his T-shirt and pinches a modest roll of midriff, which he says is disappearing. 'As part of the treatment you're given a female hormone which makes all the fat go to your tummy. Apart from that, I'm in full working order.'
For a man his age he's remarkably unlined. Yet there's no evidence he's a fan of Botox.
'No, but I'll tell you a secret. Every morning, after I shave, I rub Oil of Olay into my face. Ronnie Wood and I used to do that when we were 19 and I never stopped.'
Ronnie said recently that one of the reasons they've both stayed at the top of their game is because they each still sport a full head of hair.
'When we were on tour together, we'd know when each other was sick,' says Rod. 'I'd look at him and say, 'Ron, your barnet's collapsed.' It was an indication of the state of our health.'
Penny walks in, back from a shopping trip with some friends. Rod jumps to his feet and gives her a big hug. 'Ah, the love of my life,' he says.
'Listen,' he chuckles, turning to me. 'I've got such a ridiculously great life. I must be the luckiest man alive.'
Best Foot Forward: Rod Stewart shows no plans for retirement ahead of two Irish gigs
He has battled cancer and is about to turn 75, but Rod Stewart’s two gigs in Ireland next week are a sign he has no plans to retire any time soon, writes Richard Purden
ROD STEWART is preparing to take training for a U10 football featuring his son Aiden. The team are wearing a full Celtic kit, not surprising given their temporary coach’s longstanding love of the Glasgow side.
“We play in a football league with a floodlit pitch and astroturf. The lads come here because the coach is away so I’m taking training tonight,” says Stewart.
Before he does, the singer explains there is no suggestion of retiring from the music business as he is already making plans for a 2020 album before arriving in Dublin for two shows at the 3Arena next week.
“It’ll be 20 of the best folk and country songs ever written by people like Hank Williams, Carter Family and Johnny Cash. There will be some Scottish folk and Irish rebel songs in there as well.”
Stewart is still sore at the BBC for, as he suggests, “banning” his version of ‘Grace’, written by Frank and Seán O’Meara in 1985. He first heard Celtic supporters sing the romantic ballad and was entranced.
On his 30th long-player released last year Blood Red Roses, Stewart also paid homage to left-wing folk hero Ewan MacColl, who like Stewart also came from Scottish working-class roots.
“I first saw him when I was 16 years old in the West End of London at a folk club in Oxford St and I was mesmerised. It’s a whaling song from when we relied on oil to light our houses and it has stayed with me ever since. The track on the album is the chorus of his song and I wrote new verses but he is credited on the album with a percentage of the publishing. I don’t want people to think I’ve ripped him off; I wouldn’t do that.”
The track has taken Stewart full circle having recorded ‘Dirty Old Town’ for his 1969 debut album An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down. Stewart is naturally cautious when it comes to decisions about celebrating his 50-year-old back catalogue.
He initially balked at the idea of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra adding new arrangements to classic solo cuts and his work with The Faces.
“When I heard they were going to put an orchestra behind ‘Stay With Me’ I said: ‘Oh no they’re not!’. Trevor Horn, the producer, asked me to just give it a try so I let them do it and I was astounded; it’s beautiful. I was surprised especially by the beginning of ‘Maggie May’. There’s a different feel to the songs, they are not too syrupy and the strings represent the tracks well.”
Purists shouldn’t be offended by the orchestra’s treatment of Stewart’s much-loved hits that have helped define popular culture over five decades. The collection is also a reminder of Stewart’s abilities as a solo writer.
He explains how ‘The Killing of Georgie’ “was a song about a homosexual, a friend of mine and back then it really was taboo but the words just came out. I wish I could explain it, you just open up the brain and sing whatever you want — it’s just hit and miss. I had a descending chord sequence and put the lyrics over it. I usually think of a title first like with ‘Young Turks’ but ‘Maggie’ was different, I just sang and it came down an aerial, it does seem magical to me … you write something that wasn’t there the day before.”
As a vital interpreter of song, his voice continues to be lauded, with Bruce Springsteen recently tipping his hat to the singer.
“It’s a lovely compliment, I do look after my voice more now than ever by warming up and drinking tonnes of water. The older you get it does become tougher but I’ve still got the stamina even though I have to get a knee operation in the New Year. The voice is my crown jewels and I really have to look after it.”
The Anglo-Scot cites Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, and Van Morrison among his favourite song-writers recording ‘Have I Told You Lately’ and ‘Crazy Love’ by the latter.
“What a great lyricist, I love his stuff, when Astral Weeks came out with the string bass, acoustic guitars, and mandolins it was a big influence on Every Picture Tells A Story. We go back. The last time I saw him I was with my ex-wife (Rachel Hunter) at the Langholm Hotel in London, we got so drunk I don’t remember much about it.”
t’s been a reflective year for the singer who united The Faces for the first time on stage since 2015. “We did it for a prostate cancer charity,” he explains. “I made an announcement that I’ve beaten it, although I don’t know if you ever beat cancer but I was on the mend let’s put it that way. It was a lovely night, Kenney Jones (Faces/Small Faces) was on the drums and we had Jim Cregan (Stewart’s musical collaborator at various points since 1976) on guitar. Both of them have recovered from prostate cancer and of course, Ronnie Wood (The Rolling Stones) on guitar has had lung cancer, we’re all still battling away up there. To play with them again was a real joy.”
After turning 75 in January, Stewart will tour the US with Blondie in the summer and by autumn he’ll be on the road in Australia.
Of the recent illness, he adds: “I never felt any different. I had treatment for two years and was working all through that time. I went to Harley St five times a week for a month and no one ever found out, which was a miracle really but I wanted people to know because it’s a horrible cancer to have because it gives you no warning whatsoever.
Sharing a Scottish diaspora connection with US President Donald Trump, he admits the pair’s friendship has dissolved in recent times.
“I have a house in Palm Beach just up the road from Trump. I used to go to his Christmas party down the road — he used to have two or three different balls — but my wife (Penny Lancaster) said ‘No’. There was stuff he was coming out with, what he was saying about women he had known in the past and she said ‘You’re not going; he’s a disgrace’, which I suppose he is really.”
Whatever about the US president, Rod Stewart is as reliable as ever.
Rod Stewart plays 3Arena, Dublin, next Weds and Thurs. You’re In My Heart: Rod Stewart with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is out now
He has battled cancer and is about to turn 75, but Rod Stewart’s two gigs in Ireland next week are a sign he has no plans to retire any time soon, writes
Rod Stewart put on a merry display in the early hours of Tuesday morning when leaving a private members club in Mayfair.
The Maggie May singer, 74, looked in high spirits as he left the venue in a black fur trim coat over the top of a white shirt and a festive gold embellished tie.
The rock and roll legend was sporting some polka dot socks with satin slip on shoes with a silver detail on top flaunting his unique sense of style.
Rock-star: Rod Stewart, 74, put on a merry display in the early hours of Tuesday morning when leaving his private members club in Mayfair
His trademark blonde hair was tousled in its usual style.
He was escorted out of the venue by a door man holding £20 notes in one hand as he made his way into the back of a car.
Sir Rod Stewart has revealed he wears socks in bed and a vest - and will be fleeing the colder UK climes for a sunnier Christmas
Rod Stewart wears it well in bed – as long as he has his socks and vest on.
And the Hot Legs singer, 74, makes sure he stays toasty under the covers by switching on his electric blanket.
He revealed: “I really feel the cold now.
"I go to bed with a vest, an electric blanket. Socks, the lot.”
Do Ya Think I’m Sexy? star Sir Rod said the cold forced him to flee to warmer climes for Christmas, adding: “I’m spending Christmas in Palm Beach, just down the beach from Donald Trump .”
SIR Rod Stewart has revealed that he wrote You're In My Heart on the day that Elvis died.
The Celtic-daft rocker takes to Hydro stage in Glasgow later this month.
And ahead of his biggest ever UK tour Sir Rod has been talking about some of the stories behind his greatest hits.
Speaking in a video on his social media channels, Rod discussed You're in My Heart.
He said: "There's a sad story attached to You're in My Heart because I wrote that the day Elvis died.
"I was in Canada and we were just laying down the track and it was on the television in the studios.
"So every time I think of that song when I wrote it Elvis crops up."
Maggie May became Rod’s first big solo hit on both sides of the Atlantic, topping the UK charts for five weeks.
But Rod revealed record label bosses didn’t rate it because of its lack of chorus.
He added: "Maggie May, when it was first recorded, the drummer on the track Mickey Waller showed up without a drum kit.
"It's unusual for a drummer.
"So we had to run around all the other studios and borrow equipment.
"There were no actual cymbals so when we did Maggie May we had to dub the cymbals on another day afterwards.
"It's not a very professional way to go about it."
Rod Stewart has been forced to pull out of singing at The Royal Variety Performance just a few hours before the show, due to a throat infection. The singer shared the news in a lengthy statement on Instagram, admitting that he was "devastated" that he wouldn't be able to be there. He wrote: "Due to a throat infection and on strict doctor's orders I'm absolutely devastated to say I'm unable to perform at The Royal Variety Performance tonight, an amazing show which I love being part of. It's going to be a great evening with some fantastic talent and I'm very disappointed that I can't be there to give my support. Varitey4Charity."
SIR Rod Stewart has revealed playing football saved him from the rocker lifestyle of drink and drugs.
The Celtic-daft singer, 74, said he wasn't committed enough to become a professional footballer, despite having trials with London outfit Brentford FC in his teens.
But he insisted he remained so dedicated to his regular kickabouts that he was always clean before games.
He said: "Football sort of saved me a little bit."
Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland's Billy Sloan, the Maggie May star admitted that he downed copious amounts of alcohol as a young rocker.
But he turned his back on drugs -- and said the most important reason was his twice-weekly football matches.
He said: "Up until seven years ago I was still playing football Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights.
"Especially Sunday mornings, I couldn't do drugs and drink too much, because it would have ruined my game.
"So football sort of saved me a little bit.
"I got arrested in Los Angeles on a Saturday night because they thought I was drink driving. I got taken to the police station and there was nothing in my system.
"Any other night they would have done me but as it was a Saturday night I was going home early, getting rested up for a game at 11am the next morning.
"But football has helped me so much and I miss it so much, not playing."
The Celtic supporter told how his Scottish father, a former amateur player, had wanted him to become a professional footballer.
He famously attended trials with Third Division outfit Brentford -- now in the English Championship -- but admitted he already had a "burning desire" to be a singer.
He said: "I wasn't good enough to be a footballer, although I tried -- I had trials at Brentford but just to keep my dad happy really.
"Music had entered my soul and I couldn't commit to football, and the hours -- as a musician you can stay in bed all day."
Asked if he could wave a magic wand and go back and become a world class footballer -- and play for his beloved Celtic or Scotland -- the music legend admitted he would not change a thing.
He said: "No, not in a million years because I'm 74 -- do you know any footballers that are still playing at 74? The longevity of my career could not have gone on if I was a footballer.
"It's a wonderful notion. I love the Hoops and I love Scotland, but I'm glad. I am dedicated to music. I don't think I ever was when I had my chance to be a footballer and I went for my trial at Brentford. I was never dedicated to it."
Sir Rod Stewart has said it would be "a shame" if Scotland became independent when asked about the UK's political situation.
However, the singer said he would support Scotland leaving the union "if it was good" for the country.
Speaking to BBC Scotland's The Nine programme, Sir Rod also said he believed Boris Johnson "will sort it out", when asked about Brexit.
He said: "I'm somewhat of a traditionalist. It would be a shame to see the British isles break up, it would be a shame to see that blue off the Union Jack.
"But if it's good for Scotland then I'm happy."
The Forever Young singer also spoke about his love for Celtic, and his amazing model train city which he has been making for 23 years.
Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck are both rock icons with long and impressive resumes. Though the two found success when combining forces within the Jeff Beck Group during the late-'60s, Stewart doubts the musicians will ever record another album together.
“We’ve got opinions that don’t seem to blend somehow, my idea of what an album should be and his,” the singer noted during an interview with Rolling Stone. “It doesn’t work. We both want to take the helm, so one of us has to stand down.”
Stewart elaborated, saying that the only scenario that would lead he and Beck back into the studio together would have to involve a neutral third party. “The answer to that would be to find a producer," he explained. "And then we can just work on the material. We can get in the studio and do it. That would be a great idea because Jeff fancies himself a bit of a producer and so do I. Maybe that will bring us together and we’d have to listen like a couple of schoolboys.”
Despite his doubts regarding a new album with Beck, Stewart spoke highly of his musical comrade. The two recently shared a stage for the first time in roughly 10 years, performing a handful of songs together at the Hollywood Bowl.
“It was everything I wanted it to be and, I think, everything that Jeff wanted it to be,” Stewart said of the performance. “The sound we get with just his guitar and my voice is quite remarkable. We filled the room. I sort of stood back and didn’t do any of my jumping around onstage. I wanted it to be his evening, and I think it worked.”
The singer admitted he and Beck may perform together again in 2020, though no specific plans have been made. For now, Stewart is focusing on his new symphonic LP You’re in My Heart: Rod Stewart With the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, due on Nov. 22. Tours of the U.K., Australia and a residency in Las Vegas also highlight the rocker’s plans in the year ahead.
Rock star Sir Rod Stewart is to be made an honorary
member of Market Deeping Model Railway Club.
Club chairman Peter Davies revealed the move in a message read out on today's (Weds) Jeremy Vine radio programme.
At the end of a section about model railways on the Radio 2 show, which featured unscheduled phone-ins by enthusiasts Sir Rod and fellow musician Jools Holland, Jeremy read out a message from Mr Davies.
Mr Davies highlighted how Sir Rod had 'very kindly and very generously' donated £10,000 to the club after this year's vandal attack at Stamford Welland Academy.
Mr Davies said the club is 'now in the process' of making Sir Rod an honorary member.
In May Market Deeping Model Railway Club's annual exhibition at Stamford Welland Academy had to be cancelled after drunken teenage vandals wreaked havoc hours before it was due to open.
Years' worth of work was destroyed and thousands of pounds worth of damage caused.
The model railway club's crowdfunding page closed mid-June with 5,461 supporters - including Sir Rod - donating a total of £107,947.
The club is now in the process of organising its 2020 exhibition, which will be returning to Stamford Welland Academy as a two-day extravanza on 16 and 17 May.
In the wake of the attack, professional overnight security will be in operation.
Hall of Famer also discusses reuniting with Jeff Beck and the possibility of a Bohemian Rhapsody-styled biopic
Rod Stewart is still weeks away from the release of his new symphonic LP You’re in My Heart: Rod Stewart with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, but he’s already looking ahead to his next record. “I’m trying to put together a country record,” he tells Rolling Stone. “Not just country music, but folk music and older stuff I was brought up on. It’s an opportunity to let people hear another side of me.”
He hasn’t picked out the exact songs he wants to record on the LP yet, but he’s eying the deeply obscure 1963 Bob Dylan studio outtake “Walls of Red Wing” alongside Willie Nelson covers and a few Irish Uprising folk songs. “I want to do songs that aren’t necessarily catchy,” he says, “but have the most wonderful lyrics. One reason I want to do it is because my wife says she always loves it when I do my acoustic set in concert because she can really hear me sing as opposed to the rock & roll stuff.”
He went back to some of his earliest rock roots in late September when he reunited with Jeff Beck for a special show at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. It was the first time the former Jeff Beck Group bandmates had played together since a surprise two-song set at L.A.’s El Rey Theater in 2009. They did five songs this time, including some they hadn’t done in decades like “Morning Dew,” “Blues Deluxe” and “Rock My Plimsoll.”
“It was everything I wanted it to be and, I think, everything that Jeff wanted it to be,” says Stewart. “The sound we get with just his guitar and my voice is quite remarkable. We filled the room. I sort of stood back and didn’t do any of my jumping around onstage. I wanted it to be his evening and I think it worked.”
Stewart says they kept rehearsals to a bare minimum even though Beck had to adjust the songs to accommodate Rod’s current singing voice. “No singer can sing as high as they did 40 or 50 years ago,” he says. “The voice naturally drops a little bit. Mine has only dropped a half a tone, but he had to learn things he knew in new keys. All the keys I was singing in were not great for the guitar, but he did it anyway and he sounded fabulous.”
No more shows with Beck are in the works, however, as Stewart remains on the road with a run of UK arenas the month, a long string of Las Vegas shows throughout 2020 and an Australian tour that fall. He’s also having his right knee replaced in January, which will force him to work hard to be back in touring shape for the Vegas kickoff on March 6th.
Despite all of that, he still think it’s possible that next year he’ll find the time to play another show or two with Beck. Recording a new album with him, however, is a very different situation. They tried about a decade ago and abandoned the project very quickly. “We’ve got opinions that don’t seem to blend somehow, my idea of what an album should be and his,” he says. “It doesn’t work. We both want to take the helm, so one of us has to stand down.”
As he says this, an idea flashes into his head. “I just though of this,” he says. “The answer to that would be to find a producer. And then we can just work on the material. We can get in the studio and do it. That would be a great idea because Jeff fancies himself a bit of a producer and so do I. Maybe it would be good to get someone neutral in. Put that out there for me. Maybe that will bring us together and we’d have to listen like a couple of schoolboys.”
A biopic is also in the realm of possibility. “I’d love to do that,” he says. “My two youngest boys are 8 and 10. They say, ‘Dad, we look like you! We can be the young you!’ I’d love to see it happen. I wouldn’t want to do it like Elton’s [movie Rocketman]. That turned out a bit like Mama Mia!, but the Queen one [Bohemian Rhapsody] was bloody marvelous. I loved it. Now, whether it will or won’t happen, I don’t know. I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.”
He has long been known as a model railway enthusiast — even if at times he didn't want to talk about it.
But now Sir Rod Stewart's legendary layout — 26 years in the making — can be seen for the first time in all its finished glory.
The rocker's astonishingly detailed 124ft long x 23ft wide model depicting an American city and its industrial hinterland in the 1940s contains hundreds of buildings, from trackside switchman shanties to vast factories and skyscrapers.
Called Grand Street And Three Rivers City, it also features a railway station crossed by numerous bridges at rush hour. There are period cars and lorries as well, of course, as trains, and it is all surrounded by lush landscape and dramatically lit in the colours of late afternoon sunshine.
Sir Rod told Railway Modeller magazine that scenery and structure modelling, rather than locomotives, trackwork or electrics, are his forte.
'It's the landscape I like. Attention to detail, extreme detail, is paramount. There shouldn't be any unsightly gaps or pavements that are too clean,' he said.
This also extends to soccer fan Sir Rod referencing his beloved Celtic FC in the name of the Celtic Coal & Steel firm building. There is another nod to his Scottish roots with his Great Caledonian Steel & Iron Co.
The 74-year-old's now demolished childhood home at 507 Archway Road in North London overlooked train tracks.
Yet, he was inspired by American railways because that is where he was living when he began the model in 1993. At the time, he had recently built a new house in Los Angeles and included an attic room specifically for the layout.
But he told the magazine, which features Sir Rod as its cover star in its new December edition along with an in-depth feature, he does not think American railways are better than British ones. 'They're bigger, the locos are bigger but not any better,' he said.
While life on the road as a rock musician and its temptations has led to many contemporaries going off the rails, for Sir Rod railway modelling became an escape from the pressures of touring — he would take kits, tools and paints with him and book an extra hotel room for a workshop so he could pursue his hobby in between concerts wherever he was in the world.
'We'd tell them in advance and they were really accommodating, taking out the beds and providing fans to improve air circulation and ventilation,' he said.
Many a skyscraper was completed that way on afternoons before a show, and Sir Rod believes he may have never finished the model if he had not done so.
Despite its vast scale, he said 'none of it was really planned' and he 'just winged it', with the help of two friends.
His photographer and model wife Penny Lancaster, 48, also played her part. Sir Rod used photos for reference when making the layout and they would often stop to take pictures of a scene that caught their eye.
Sir Rod, whose hits include I Don't Want To Talk About It, You Wear It Well, Downtown Train and Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?, said: 'I find beauty in what everyone else sees as ugly — rugged skyscrapers, beaten-up warehouses, things that are very run down.'
While Sir Rod acknowledged it took a while for him to publicly admit he was a railway enthusiast, he agreed in his interview with the magazine that attitudes now appear to be changing towards model railway making.
But he added that he was still wary about answering questions on TV about it because 'it's hard to talk about something so all- encompassing' if he was meant to be discussing his music.
His passion was first inflamed when he was 'eight or nine' on a family holiday in Bognor Regis where he saw a 'marvellous' railway layout in a model shop.
He said his father had once given him the advice that 'every man needs a hobby'.
'Mine's model railway,' said Sir Rod, who had a toy railway as a child. When he wanted a station for it, his dad bought him a guitar instead, which many might think turned out to be a shrewd move.
His fortune stands at £190 million, according to the Sunday Times' UK Musicians' Rich List, and he has had nine No 1 albums and 62 hit singles in the UK.
Sir Rod said guests are stunned by his magnificent model railway when he runs it for them at his LA home. He said: 'When I take on something creative like this, I have to give it a 110 per cent. For me, it's addictive. I started, so I just had to finish.
'I'm lucky I had the room. If I'd realised at the start it would have taken so long, I'd have probably said No! No! Nah!'
Wake up, Maggie, I think I got something to say to you...about this 'fit.
Rod. Fuckin'. Stewart. Never before have I felt compelled to call the singer behind "Maggie May" and "Do You Think I'm Sexy?" Rod Fuckin' Stewart. And considering the fact that he was knighted in 2016, it is probably wildly inappropriate for me, an American, to call him Rod Fuckin' Stewart.
But look at this man! Look at his joy and his Toasted Coconut Fit and his wild hair and his repp tie and his sneakers. This, right here, is none other than Rod. Fuckin'. Stewart.
Rod Stewart seen leaving BBC Radio 2 on November 11, 2019 in London, England.
Stewart was seen exiting BBC Radio 2 in London this week, and because he is who he is, he was thronged by fans upon his departure. This is why, I presume, he raised his arms in the air and let forth what looks to be an ebullient whoop as soon as he hit the sidewalk. This is a man having a good time. This is a man, quite possibly, having the time of his life.
And you know what? His outfit looks like it's having a damn good time, too. This isn't the young Rod of The Jeff Beck Group or Faces, nor is it the riding-high Rod of the '70s and '80s. This is an elder Stewart. Sir Rod. Gone are the elaborately printed, flowing shirts. Absent are the arm garters and neckerchiefs. Instead, we've got a tan suit, tan overcoat, a boldly striped tie, and a pair of Chuck Taylors. Oh, and don't forget the big ol' mirrored aviator sunglasses.
His tie bar? It says "Celtic." It's for the Scottish football club, of which Stewart is an avowed fan. As a rule, this sort of accessory is not a great idea for normal guys. But remember: This is no normal guy. This is Sir Rod Fuckin' Stewart. Long may he reign.
EXCLUSIVE: The Rolling Stones legend has been friends with singer Rod for the last 50 years after they bonded on tour together
Striding across a smoke-filled stage, Ronnie Wood flung an arm around Rod Stewart as the two men shared an emotional hug.
It appeared a simple, friendly gesture but the embrace held a deeper meaning for both. Just moments earlier Rod had confessed he, like Ronnie, had endured a battle with cancer.
“I join Ronnie now who’s had lung cancer,” Rod told the crowd. Ronnie added: “Someone up there likes us.”
For the hundreds of people packed into Surrey’s Wentworth Golf club for a charity Faces reunion, 74-year-old Rod’s admission he’d had prostate cancer sparked headlines around the world.
Ronnie, 72, was diagnosed with cancer in May 2017 and went public three months later. The Stones legend got the all-clear after a five-hour operation.
Rod found out he had prostate cancer in February 2016 during a routine check-up and got the all-clear this year.
It was a comfort for them to talk about it openly. They were shocked when Faces drummer Kenney Jones and Rod’s long-term guitarist Jim Cregan also said they had had prostate cancer.
Rod had fretted shortly before the gig about going public about beating cancer. Ronnie says: “He was like, ‘Should I mention that I’ve had cancer?’ I said, ‘Rod, it’s personal, do whatever you want. If you want to tell them, tell them.’”
Ron’s friendship with Rod dates from 1969 when the Faces formed after the Small Faces split. Their hell-raising antics on tour cemented their relationship and, despite the band splitting in 1975, they’ve stayed pals.
Rod was Ronnie’s best man at his 2012 wedding to theatre producer Sally Humphreys. And Ron can sum up their long friendship: “Humour, and respect, for the same kind of musical tastes and similar lifestyles such as all the girls – we go right back to the council house, really. You can’t take that away.” Like Rod, Ron feels “blessed”.
He says: “I was so lucky to have my cancer removed from my left lung and for it not to be anywhere else in my body. I had a check-up the other day; got the all-clear again. You have to keep checking. I have a scan every six months but it’s worth it.”
Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster have promised “lots of little connections” to them at a charity evening for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
The couple have invited 180 guests to the Memories that Matter event in London and hope to raise as much as a £1 million. Billed as a private dinner party, they have designed the cocktails, drawn-up the menu and Stewart will perform live.
Model and photographer Lancaster, who has two sons with Stewart aged eight and 13, told the Evening Standard that teenagers often face lots of difficulties without the added trauma of cancer. She said: “Since our boy has just turned into a teenager he’s come along to a couple of charity events. You think teenagers are going through so much as it is... and the idea of having to deal with cancer on top as well — I could not think of anything worse.”
The night revolves around a silent auction with prizes including a trip to jewellery firm Swarovski’s HQ in the Austrian Alps and dinner at the Ritz with Rod and Penny. Other prizes include memorabilia from Celtic, Stewart’s favourite club, a print by his former Faces bandmate Ronnie Wood and a five-night stay in a castle in Umbria, Italy, donated by Evening Standard proprietor Evgeny Lebedev.
The fundraiser on November 22 is the idea of marketing expert Mark Aldridge, who plans to make it a regular event. The Trust’s chief executive Kate Collins said: “Every day, seven young people, aged 13-24, are diagnosed with cancer.
“Teenage Cancer Trust’s specialist nurses, hospital wards and support teams work hard to help young people and their families cope with the huge impact that a cancer diagnosis and treatment has on their lives. But none of this work would be possible without our wonderful supporters.”
Rod Stewart says he is ready to see a film made about his colourful life and career – and knows exactly who should play him.
The superstar singer, this year celebrating his 50th year as a solo star, wants to follow in the footsteps of Freddie Mercury, Elton John and Judy Garland, who have all had movies made about their lives.
The Bee Gees are the latest music legends to be given the big-screen treatment and Rod revealed he’s also been in talks about a biopic.
“I would love to have a film made and my two youngest sons, who are similar looking to me, to be offered to be in it, playing the young Rod.
“I have four sons and my nine-year-old really does look like me.
“I would love it and the film would have my full co-operation. There have been tiny moves towards it, but nothing concrete.”
Dad-of-eight Rod is playing three nights in Glasgow’s SSE Hydro this month and a date at Aberdeen’s new P&J Live arena in December. The dates are part of his biggest ever UK tour, which included football stadiums in the summer.
While he has no plans to slow down anytime soon, he’ll be forced to lay low for a while after Christmas.
“In the New Year I need to have a total knee replacement. Playing football so much has caught up with me,” he revealed.
“I’ll have six weeks off in January going into February, and then I’ll start again. I have a big American tour planned with Blondie, and then I’m out to Australia and New Zealand, and then South America.
“I try to plan all my tours around the school holidays of my two youngest, so they can be with me because I really miss them. That was something I couldn’t do when my other kids were growing up.
“It was 1.30am before I got home from watching Celtic play in Rome on Thursday night, but I was up again at 6.30am to get the kids to school.”
Sir Rod admits he regrets not being there as much for his elder children as he is for 12-year-old Alastair and Aiden, nine, his two boys with third wife Penny Lancaster.
“I’ve spoken to them, especially my two oldest, Sean and Kimberly. We’ve sat down and talked about it and I told them I missed them, that I wasn’t out having parties but rather I was working because I was so in debt to the taxman at the time. I had to keep working to get myself out of debt.
“Now they understand but there was a point where they were saying the old cliché of ‘Dad, you weren’t here for me’, and I said I wasn’t, but I was working really hard and they know that now.”
Rod says his life is an open book and he recently spoke out about a secret battle with prostate cancer.
While playing a fundraising gig with his former Faces bandmates Ronnie Wood and Kenney Jones in September, he told the audience he’d been battling the condition for three years and was only given the all-clear in July.
“I felt it would do more good to talk about it,” he explained.
“We have a show for Teenage Cancer Trust next week and I was going to wait until then before I talked about it, but this show was for prostate cancer, so I said to Ronnie, ‘I think I’ll tell everybody and get it off my chest and try to help others’. And he said, ‘go out and tell them and I’ll be right by your side’.
“So that’s what I did and it was a very emotional moment. My slogan was ‘a finger up the bum, no harm done’, meaning it’s totally painless to get checked. It’s a mean old disease, with no symptoms whatsoever. It creeps up on you and takes a lot of lives – it’s the second highest killer among men.”
Rod said the cancer treatment also left him feeling embarrassed, and so he wanted to set the record straight.
“When you have prostate cancer and need radiotherapy, you tend to put on a little bit of weight around your belly and I was becoming so self-conscious of it.
“It will disappear after a while, but with all the treatment the fat goes to your belly and it’s a weird experience. I was becoming so self-conscious of it on stage and wanted to let people know.”
With 200 million albums sold and a successful Las Vegas residency, Rod is one of the most famous singers in the world, but he is still able to live a normal life.
“It’s important to do so,” he said. “It’s quite remarkable – as long as I put a hat on, people will take a glance and say, ‘nah, it’s not him’. The minute I take that hat off they all know who I am – it’s the hair that’s recognised.
“I enjoy living my life and walking around the streets – I don’t have security guards. Nine times out of 10, people are polite.
“No one asks for autographs anymore, it’s all selfies. That’s OK, as long as I’m not having my dinner or trying to pay a bill in a shop.”
Rod has a theory about why he and other acts from his generation, like The Rolling Stones, are still going strong. “We were the first. When Elvis broke through we were the youngsters listening to Muddy Waters and all the great soul and blues singers,” he said.
“We had a head start on everyone, and now we have a tremendous catalogue of songs that people want to hear – they’re a part of musical history.
“We have lots of age groups coming to the shows, but mostly people in their 50s and 60s.
“I wish I was in that position, being able to go out and see Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, the guys I loved when I was a youngster.
“When I came into this business at 19, I thought if this lasts until my 21st birthday it will be tremendous.
“And here I still am – I still have to pinch myself.”
Rod Stewart, SSE Hydro, Glasgow, November 26, 28, 30, and P&J Live, Aberdeen, December 7
I WANT LEW
He hailed the Someone You Loved singer’s hilarious personality in interviews.
And the rocker hinted Lewis could follow in the footsteps of Robbie Williams, who he teams up with on his version of It Takes Two.
He said: “I like the young lad Capaldi.
“I love his sense of humour and the fact he’s like ‘f*** it — I don’t care’.”
Passing on tips to US chart-topper Lewis, 22, above, Sir Rod added: “I would say the reason me, Elton John and The Stones are still doing it is we’ve built an audience and we’re not one-hit wonders.”
We told how Celtic-daft Sir Rod slammed the Green Brigade for lighting flares at Celtic’s Euro glory night in Rome.
The rocker, 74, fears the ultras group stunt could see the champs clobbered with Uefa sanctions.
Sir Rod, in the stands for Thursday’s 2-1 victory over Lazio, said: “We’ve got to be careful. We don’t help ourselves.”
The rock idol also told how he watched on in horror with Celts chief Peter Lawwell as some of the 9,000-strong travelling army lit flares inside the Stadio Olimpico.
Sir Rod reckons the club could now face tough sanctions from Euro footie bosses following the powderkeg trip, which also saw three Bhoys supporters stabbed by masked Lazio thugs.
We told earlier how he was almost brought to tears after Celtic secured a historic victory over Lazio in Rome.
The song was written by Simon Climie, one half of the UK pop duo Climie Fisher that’s best known for their 1987 hit “Love Changes Everything.” “His manager is an ex-girlfriend of mine from way back in the 1970s named Dee Harrington,” says Stewart. “He’s a wonderful chap and writes beautiful songs. He came up with this one and she said, ‘You know who should sing this? Rod.’ They gave it to me and I immediately fell in love with it.”
Sir Rod is in Rome with Glaswegian songwriter pal John Mclaughlin.
Sir Rod Stewart travelled to Rome on Monday from his London home with Glaswegian songwriter John McLaughlin.
The Celtic mad legend told the Daily Record: “It has been a complete delight to be in Rome with all these dedicated Celtic fans.
“I identify with the club and its fans so strongly and I’ve spent a lot of time chatting to people and getting photos taken and just enjoying the good vibe. Trips like this are what it’s all about for the fans and I love it as much as they do.
“The supporters are doing Celtic proud by coming over here in such great numbers. They are a great bunch and they are so often the 12th man for the team when it comes down to it.
“I read that there might be more Celtic fans than Lazio fans in the stadium and that made me feel really proud.”
Sir Rod’s latest tour, kicking off this month, includes three Scottish dates at the SSE Hydro.
He said: “Scottish gigs are always so special to me and I mean that sincerely. I’m looking forward to getting to Glasgow again.”
The famous singer was mobbed by supporters as he arrived in the city ahead of Celtic's Europa League tie against Lazio this evening.
Celtic daft Rod Stewart was spotted singing with fans on the streets of Rome today.
The famous singer was mobbed by supporters as he arrived in the city ahead of Celtic's Europa League tie against Lazio this evening.
Rod, who travelled to Italy with Scots singer Johnny McLaughlin, was in good spirits as he danced with Hoops fans before being ushered into a car by his security.
Somewhere in this scrum is Rod Stewart, living his best life with fellow Celtic fans in Rome. pic.twitter.com/y98BeGMEkf— Natalie Pirks (@Natpirks) November 7, 2019
It is not yet known exactly why the singer pulled out of his show, but he has said he was 'disappointed' to miss it
Rod Stewart has cancelled his appearance at Saudi Arabia's Winter at Tantora festival.
Stewart was announced as part of the annual festival, alongside Enrique Iglesias and Lionel Richie, in late September.
No official announcement has been made, but Stewart's name and photo have since disappeared from the festival site.
When Craig David, Il Divo and Jamiroquai were added to the line-up on Thursday, Stewart's name was conspicuously absent from the list of acts already announced.
A spokesperson for the festival confirmed he was "not part of the line-up any more".
“Due to personal circumstances, Sir Rod Stewart had to cancel his performance at Winter at Tantora," their statement said.
"Rod is disappointed as he was looking forward to performing in Saudi Arabia for the first time and hopes to play there in the near
Rod Stewart has got a new blonde in his life – but wife Penny Lancaster isn’t worried.
The famously blonde-loving rocker and Penny have adopted rescue dog Blondie, who has become a close member of the family – and a Celtic fan.
The Hoops-daft singer and photographer wife Penny appear in the new series of Paul O Grady’s ITV series For the Love of Dogs and tell the story of how the whole family fell for rescue pup Blondie.
The Labrador-Poodle-cross puppy was rescued from Battersea Dogs Home by the couple and has become an instant hit at the their Essex home with kids Alastair and Aiden.
Penny said: “It was kind of love at first sight. She’s amazing.”
Blondie has become close to their other dog Bubbles and the pair are firm friends.
She said: “The two of them are just inseparable.”
Advancing age has done little to temper Rod Stewart's love of fashion, and the veteran rocker did his best to illustrate that point during an appearance in Rome on Tuesday.
Rod, who will celebrate his 75th birthday in January, was seen trying on a winter coat during a surprise visit to a local Zara store in the Italian capital.
The singer was given a helping hand as he pulled on the item, a brushed woolen grey number that complimented his smart beige blazer and matching slacks.
With one eye clearly still on passing trends, Rod added to his look with a raffish Baker Boy cap, while a patterned silk scarf rounded things off.
The first @CelticFC supporters have arrived in Rome ?? #johnnymacandthefaithful #rodstewart #celticfc #celtic #lazio #comeonyoubhoysingreen #rome @rodstewart @JohnnyMacCeltic @JohnIMclaughlin pic.twitter.com/kLklMGGhcR— Johnny Mac And The Faithful (@JohnnyMacCeltic) November 4, 2019
NEXT TOUR DATES
The Marquee, Cork, Ireland
Home Park Stadium, Plymouth
Cinch Stadium, Northants
Seat Unique Riverside, Durham
Badminton Estate, Worcester Park, Bristol
Sewell Group Craven Park, Hull