Sir Rod Stewart is dwarfed by son Alastair, 16, and glamorous wife Penny as they enjoy a family night out at London hotspot Mark's Club

Sir Rod Stewart cut a stylish figure on Thursday evening as he attended the 50th Anniversary Party of London private members club Mark's Club.

The rocker, 77, was joined by his wife of 15 years Penny Lancaster, son Alastair and niece Raphaella for the bash, who towered over the rocker while beaming for a slew of snaps.

Sir Rod Stewart visits Holland-on-Sea for son's footie match

A LEGENDARY singer happily posed for photos with star struck fans in Tendring after rocking-up to his son’s football match in his gleaming white Rolls-Royce.

Sir Rod Stewart headed to Holland-on-Sea on Sunday to watch his young son Aiden take to the field for Takeley Hoops against Holland Football Club.

During the match the veteran hitmaker passionately cheered on the team as they secured an impressive and convincing 4-1 victory.

Roy Warren, 66, from Kirby Cross, who has seen the Maggie May singer perform five times, was lucky enough to meet Sir Rod after the game, alongside wife Julia.

He said: “We both like football and we often watch local matches, so we popped out to Holland-on-Sea and then found we were standing next to Sir Rod.

“I was surprised, but I know he goes to see his son on a regular basis and when I saw the Hoops were playing I guessed he would not be far away.

Sir Rod Stewart: I’ve got to move on, I don’t want to be singing Hot Legs when I’m 84

As the veteran musician prepares to head out on tour, he talks about his connection to the songs which made him and why he is leaving them behind. By Naomi Clarke

 

 

Sir Rod Stewart is reflecting on his nearly six-decade career and prepares for a new chapter. “It’s been an honour to have entertained the British public since I was 19,” he says.

The veteran musician (77) will kick off his next UK and Ireland arena tour later this month, where he will perform an array of his classics from across his catalogue, with some venues hearing them for the last time.

“It’s a very exciting show, very high energy. I have to have a rest every now and then,” he tells me, playfully.

“That is not true… What I do is I go off and change costumes because I get so sweaty, but reviewers have said: ‘Oh poor Rod, he had to go off and have a rest.’

“It’s not true! I change outfits. I’m as fit as I’ve ever been!”

Opening in Nottingham on November 16, the singer will tour cities including London, Dublin, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and Belfast.

With his distinctive raspy singing voice, iconic blond spiky hairstyle and commanding stage presence, Sir Rod has entertained countless fans across the world and become one of the best-selling artists with hits like Maggie MayDo Ya Think I’m Sexy? and Baby Jane.

The north London-born singer says he still loves performing after all these years but feels this will be his last time singing some of his best-known material on tour.

“I can’t imagine I’m going to play in certain cities again doing these songs,” he says. “So the end of next year I’m going to stop. I’m not retiring — let me underline that, I’m not retiring.

“I’ve made an album with Jools Holland of swing music and I would like to move on to that and the Great American Songbook. I’ve got a few English gigs next year outdoors, and that’ll be it for these songs. But I’m not retiring, I hate that word.”

I point out that I don’t think he could ever retire given his lively nature.

“No, I couldn’t, I’ve got too many children,” jokes father-of-eight Sir Rod with a booming chuckle.

After he reveals this next step in his career, I tentatively ask a question, the answer to which may be dreaded by Sir Rod’s fans: will this be his final tour?

“No, of course not,” he reassures, “I hope to be with Jools Holland and his big band. We’ve made this wonderful swing album. It’s nearly finished, and I’d like to do that because it’s different. I want to have a big orchestra and do all these classic wonderful songs from the 1940s.

“I sold 37 million copies of the Great American Songbook, so there’s an audience.”

Best known as a solo artist, Sir Rod spent his early career fronting a host of bands.

Most famous among these were The Faces, but he also performed with Long John Baldry and his Hoochie Coochie Men, Steampacket and the Jeff Beck Group.

He went on to enjoy vast success, producing more than 30 studio albums, with just as many tours to boot — including a Las Vegas residency at Caesars Palace which has been running since 2011.

 

As he reminisces, Sir Rod remembers highlights including performing for the royal family on a number of occasions, most recently during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, and the personal connection he has formed with his songs during that time.

“They’re all my favourites because I know what they mean to people and you get somewhat of a different reaction every night,” he says.

“I mean, when I do Tonight’s The Night in Las Vegas it might have a different connotation in Belfast. So it’s different every night and they’re all my favourites because all my songs I’ve written, they’re like my babies. I reared them and then I gave them to the world.”

Following years of building this relationship with tracks which have elevated him to become a household name across the world, he admits it is hard to let them go.

“Of course it will be, but I’ve got to move on, I don’t want to be singing Hot Legs when I’m 84,” he says. “I said that when I was in my 30s about my 60s, and I’m still singing it.”

When I ask if he will come back to eat his words in a decade’s time, he offers: “Well you take me up on it, alright? Make sure you call me and say: ‘You mugged me off there.’”

Sir Rod was made a knight in 2016 for his services to music and charity. 

He recently made headlines after revealing he is supporting a family of seven Ukrainian refugees by renting them a home and paying their bills.

Sir Rod says he broke his usual stance of not discussing his charitable work as he wanted to inspire others to help those in the war-torn country.

 

His upcoming tour will also pay tribute to Ukraine as he will dedicate his 1991 hit Rhythm Of My Heart, which he described as an “anti-war song”, to the country along with waving Ukrainian flags and projecting an image of President Volodymyr Zelensky on the big screen.

Reflecting on how he plans to address the conflict, he says: “I use some vulgar words when describing (Russian President Vladimir) Putin. And I try and say: ‘Listen, this is not the Russian people’s fault.’ A lot of people have been arrested and put in prison.

“This is a man and his regime, so don’t blame all Russians. I’ve been to Russia many times and I’ve found the most friendly people on earth. So it’s not their fault, it’s this a***hole.”

After the war broke out, Sir Rod says he and his wife Penny Lancaster were prompted to take action after witnessing the turmoil unfold on the news. His family hired three trucks filled with supplies and had them driven to the border of Ukraine, before using the same vehicles to transport a group of refugees to safety in Berlin.

“When the war started, in this household we were shocked beyond shock,” he recalls. “Because I was born just after the war and so my family came through the Second World War, and to see another ground war with tanks, I never thought we’d see the day.”

He hopes that being vocal about these actions can encourage others to help in whatever way they can. Sir Rod says sincerely: “I’m a knight, I’ve got to do something and I hope other people follow.

When two worlds collide, they cause an almighty stramash! ...and that's exactly what happened when Rod Stewart and Johnny Mac and the Faithful got together to make this record. They treated a wonderful country-tinged, folky, rock'n'roll-laiden Stramash called 'Me Oh My', the first track to be released from Johnny Mac and the Faithful's 'Midnight Glasgow Rodeo'.

Rod Stewart: 'I'm going to stop singing Maggie May and Hot Legs'

Music legend plans to focus on jazz after upcoming live shows in Glasgow and Aberdeen.

Rod Stewart is a whirlwind bundle of energy, fabulousness and fun, and that’s exactly what burst into the room at Glasgow’s Radisson Red on Saturday night.

Picture the scene: His beloved Celtic had just won and Sir Rod was about to perform at the Barrowlands for the first time, taking to the stage at the Scottish Music Awards where he was also picking up a gong.

It was a day for celebrations and he was certainly in a celebratory mood!

“This is my interview. It’s going to be pretty good,” he sang.

Pretty good?” I joked.

“You’re pretty, we’re good,” he replied.

What a charmer. Rod is hilarious and makes for a unique and off the wall, but highly enjoyable, interview.

I’ve chatted to him before, three years ago now, but for this one there was double trouble as he was joined by close friend, collaborator and the man who fronts his support band, Johnny Mac.

John hails from Glasgow and has written songs and produced music for the likes of Westlife and Busted. A few years ago, he made music for Celtic’s training videos, which led him to Rod and has seen him since become the frontman of Johnny Mac and the Faithful – the band who support Rod Stewart on tour.

Rod explained: “I watched a video of Celtic training and there was a song with no words to it. I loved the melody and I kept saying ‘where did this song come from?’. It took me nine months to find out it was Johnny’s song.”

Johnny said: “I got an email from Rod. Sharon, my wife, phoned and said ‘I think Rod Stewart just emailed you’, and I went ‘no, that’s not a thing’, and then I read it and went ‘Rod Stewart’s just emailed me!’.

Now, at the age of 57, Johnny is loving life supporting Rod and performing his own shows. The pair’s friendship has also led to them teaming up for a new single, Me Oh My.

“It’s his song and I said ‘let me sing on it’,” said Rod.

“We live in a divided world. We need music to bring us together. Songs like that bring us together. Happy songs.”

The catchy country track also features a fun video, partly shot with the pair riding in a horse and carriage round Central Park in New York, expertly shot by Rod’s wife Penny Lancaster.

“Cheap and cheerful video. My wife shot most of it on a phone camera, running after us in a horse and cart.”

Poor Penny!

Johnny and Rod were also teaming up for a performance at the Scottish Music Awards that night, where Rod was being awarded the Outstanding Achievement in Music Award, something which means a great deal to him.

“I am a knight and I’ve got a CBE, which is wonderful, but this one tonight? The first award I’ve won from Scotland in Scotland – oh,” he said, fighting back emotions and clutching his heart.

“This is the land of my father. My father was born in Leith in Edinburgh and there’s a huge part of me that loves Scotland. It’s undeniable. I love this place. I love it and I feel accepted – when I play Glasgow, I feel like I could walk on water. I’m so looking forward to it.”

Rod is back playing in Glasgow at the Hydro on November 29 and December 3, as well as the Event Complex, Aberdeen, on December 2, and for fans of the rocker’s classic hits, it could well be the last chance they get to hear them live.

“It will be the last time I sing Maggie May and Hot Legs at the Hydro.

“I’m not retiring, but there comes a point where you need to change and I’ve got jazz in my soul.

“I don’t want to be singing Hot Legs and Tonight’s the Night when I’m 80. I’ve got something I want to move onto, something I’m passionate about – jazz!”

Songs like Maggie May and Da Ya Think I’m Sexy have made Rod one of the most-loved musicians in the world, so this will come as sad news for many, but at 78 he was keen to stress he is definitely not retiring as he’s “too young for that”.

He’s simply “over the moon” at the moment and following his heart in making the music he wants to make.

After so many years keeping us entertained, I think we can allow him that.

Rod Stewart is at home in his Essex mansion, beaming in a cardigan and a Celtic FC necklace. His spiky hair is as you would expect and takes just moments to perfect. Apply product, dry upside down, add wax. I spot some model trains and ask if they are part of his famous replica of a 1940s US city.

“Oh, that’s over yonder,” he says in full rasp, pointing to another part of his home. I call it a train set, and he interrupts. “I get offended if you call it a train set. It’s a scale model railroad, if you please.” But it started as a train set? “Yes,” he says, smiling. He began collecting as a boy in Highgate in the 1950s. “I wanted a station,” he says. “But Dad bought me a guitar.” And here we are.

You can catch him on tour in the UK. He plays all the hits you would want from his years with Faces and his epic solo career. Are there any old songs that make him . . . “Awkward?” Exactly. “No. I went through a brief period of thinking I’m not going to sing Hot Legs because it is a shagging song, but what do I finish with? Hot Legs. And people love it. There is nothing I feel uncomfortable singing.”

I believe him — although few 77-year-olds would dare to sing about cavorting with a schoolgirl and, maybe, her mother. His latest album even has the line “The sex was immense”. But this is who Stewart is: an entertainer who is as open and authentic as his voice is distinctive.

His charm is a superpower that means, unlike some of his peers, if you google “Rod Stewart cancelled” it is simply a list of gigs postponed due to Covid.

Have his tours calmed down since the days he lost count of how many women he had slept with? “They’re not as wild as they were,” he says. “In the old days it was all shagging and drinking, but you can’t carry on like that. I haven’t joined the pipe-and-slippers club yet, but I have to look after my voice.” How does he keep fit enough to perform? “I work out three times a week. I do underwater swimming to improve my breath control. You know who told me about that? Frank Sinatra.” It’s a far cry from, as he confessed in an autobiography, taking cocaine anally to protect his voice.

There is not a generation that does not love Stewart. I am 42 and his music soundtracked my childhood car journeys. His first single came out when my mum was 11. I ask if his audiences have got any younger. “We just did three months out in America and it was younger than I’ve ever seen,” he says. “Unless the promoter pushed all the young girls down the front to keep me happy.” And, given his wealth, he must really want to tour — surely he has no need to? “Well, I’ve got eight children.”

The man is a blast. Irreverence from a bygone age mixed with a shot of empathy. For someone worth £300 million, he knows how hard it is for other people now. “Nobody’s got the money,” he says with a sigh. “Usually my tours are sold out, but one in Aberdeen has nearly 1,000 tickets for sale. I shouldn’t admit it, but I’ve no ego.” It is all part of a touring system broken by Brexit, he says, that is making life very hard for young artists in particular.

“I don’t know why we went into Brexit,” he says. “I thought we were OK and nobody ever thought of music when we did that.” Is he optimistic about the industry’s future? “I find it very difficult. Kids just can’t break through.”

Suddenly his eyes light up. He grabs his phone. “I’ve heard the best f***ing soul singer!” He presses play. A voice comes on crooning A Change Is Gonna Come. Stewart bursts out laughing at how good it is.

“They’re called the Vintage Explosion,” he says. “Listen to that!” He’s talking about a little-known seven-piece Scottish r’n’b covers band. Eventually he turns it off, still staggered by how good the singer is. “Will you give them a mention? That’s how we help small bands. He’s probably got the best white-soul voice I have heard since Frankie Miller.” Does the band know about his love for them? “No, I only heard it an hour ago.” (Later I break the news of this celebrity endorsement to the Vintage Explosion. “I am absolutely flabbergasted,” says the lead singer, Will 42."Flabbergasted times 1000")

Stewart is joined on tour by Johnny Mac & the Faithful, a folk and rock band fronted by one of his best friends, John McLoughlin, 55. They share a love of Celtic and pubs — and Stewart sings on the track Me Oh My on Johnny Mac & the Faithful’s new album, Midnight Glasgow Rodeo. McLoughlin regales me with glorious stories of Stewart in the wild, like the time in Rome when the singer hoisted his jacket up a flagpole outside an upmarket hotel. Mainly, though, their bond is football. If Celtic are playing, McLoughlin stands in the wings to update Stewart on the score. Despite being born in London, the singer enlisted in the Tartan Army because of his parents. Who will Stewart support at the World Cup, given Scotland’s failure to qualify?

England? “No, Brazil!” he says, cackling. “I’m the Cockney Scotsman.” Given all the politics surrounding the hosts, Qatar, perhaps this is a good World Cup to miss? “Tell you what, supporters have got to watch out, haven’t they?” I say he could have played The Killing of Georgie, about the murder of a gay friend in the 1970s, at the opening ceremony as a protest. “That would have been good,” he replies. “I was actually offered a lot of money, over $1 million, to play there 15 months ago. I turned it down.” Why? “It’s not right to go. And the Iranians should be out too for supplying arms.”

This is not his only activism. Often, Stewart comes across as a family man — he talks sweetly about his kids being into the Temptations — with a lot of time on his hands who wants to put that time to good use. First there were the potholes. In March he spent a couple of hours filling holes in the road near his house in Harlow that made it hard for his Ferrari to pass. He also saw an ambulance stuck. “So I bought the sand,” he says. “Did it myself.” It got the press he wanted — the road is now retarmacked.

Then he rented a home for a family of seven refugee Ukrainians and gave two of them jobs. A lot of his charity work goes under the radar, but sometimes he wants to lead by example.“I’m a knight,” he explains. Sir Rod arose in 2016. “They give you a knighthood because of what you have done, but I don’t just want to rest. I thought if I make this public, other people might do the same thing. Mick Jagger maybe,” he adds with a mischievous smile.  

Third in the list of how to grow old gracefully is Stewart’s interest in HRT. His wife of 15 years, Penny Lancaster, 51, was struggling with the menopause, so he found out more about it and, in April, backed her Menopause Mandate campaign to raise awareness. “I hadn’t seen [the menopause] before because my marriages didn’t last that long [Alana Stewart was 39 and Rachel Hunter 37 when they and Stewart got divorced], so Penny was the first, but she would get into blinding fits of rage. One night she threw utensils, so me and the boys gave her a hug and since then she’s worked to let people know what it is. And men have to understand and not just go down the pub.”

 

Stewart remains a man visibly excited by life, even though times can be hard. His brother Don died in September, aged 94, a few days before the Queen, who the singer met many times. (“She liked Sailing.”) After appearing on a reality show, Lancaster joined City of London Police as a volunteer special constable and was on duty during the monarch’s funeral. “She burst into tears,” Stewart says. “She was within touching distance of the coffin.”

He is never more animated than when enthusing about his wife’s new job — he worries when she is out on the beat and she texts him when she is running late. “Darling, go to bed,” she says.

Stewart’s inevitable biopic will be a riot. “I keep getting offers,” he complains. “But I’ll be the last to do it — even f***ing Robbie Williams has one now.”

Will he let all the sex, drugs and rock’n’roll just hang out? “Yeah, I have no skeletons in the closet, as far as I know. I just wish someone would make one before I kick the bucket.”

What will he call it? “She Was Only a Pilot’s Daughter, but She Kept Her Cockpit Clean,” he quips. Sure, but they tend to name it after a song — how about Some Guys Have All the Luck? “That would be lovely.”

Sir Rod Stewart scoops up major prize at The Scottish Music Awards

The outstanding achievement in music award went to Sir Rod, who also performed live at the ceremony in Glasgow's Barrowland Ballroom

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