The Tears Of Hercules

Watch the NEW official music video for Rod Stewart – “One More Time” from his forthcoming album 'The Tears of Hercules' out November 12.

A project close to Rod Stewart’s heart, his rekindled love of songwriting grows stronger on his 31st studio album.

'The Tears of Hercules' features nine new original songs written by Rod Stewart including "One More Time" plus covers of Marc Jordan, Johnny Cash and more.

At 76, Rod Stewart isn't about to let go of his rapscallion ways - at least not in song.

But as he cries The Tears of Hercules on his 31st studio album, and first set of new material in three years, Stewart is both rascal and rhapsodist, taking in across its 12 songs the full measure of a life that ranges from a schoolboy doing time with "Maggie May" to a senior who's comfortably moving to the rhythm of his rock 'n' roll heart.

 

Coproduced and mostly cowritten with longtime band member Kevin Savigar, with a kind of sterile garage-y/GarageBand sound, Hercules ticks off most of the boxes that Stewart has made his musical stocks in trade over the course of more than five decades. He kicks up a libidinous storm in tracks such as "One More Time," "Gabriella" and "Kookooaramabama" - the latter a kind of slapdash take on George Michael's "I Want Your Sex" that's as gleefully silly as its title suggests. His take on Soul Brothers Six's "Some Kind of Wonderful" is faithful and buoyant, and "Born to Boogie (A Tribute to Marc Bolan)" name-checks T. Rex's biggest hits before declaring that "when I die, I'll be rockin' up in heaven beside him."

If those leave you wiping a bit of sweat off the brow, then hang on to the hanky for Hercules' second half to take care of the tears. Stewart shifts, somewhat abruptly, into sentimental territory, loving on his wife Penny Lancaster in "I Can't Imagine" and saluting his late father in the album-closing "Touchline." The title track, though written by Marc Jordan for his own version in 2004, is a Celtic-flavored stock-taking about the eternal conflict between home and wanderlust. Stewart treads, lightly, into sociopolitical terrain with "Hold On" and a cover of Johnny Cash's "These Are My People," while "Precious Memories" breaks the sobriety with some lighthearted doo-wop.

The Tears of Hercules' blend and spirit certainly recalls classics such as Every Picture Tells a Story and Never a Dull Moment without replacing them or necessarily offering songs that will find a place in the upper echelon of Stewart's catalog. That's a tough task anyway, so let's be satisfied and perhaps even a little surprised by 45 or so minutes of solid listening, and revel in the fact that even this far down the road this blonde still wants to have fun.

Following the notable success of his 2018 album, Blood Red Roses, which went to No.1 in the UK, Rod Stewart’s 31st studio album, The Tears Of Hercules, sees the singer continue his late-career surge with a mix of nostalgia and in-the-moment enthusiasm. With a set of new songs that look back to his past, the Scottish-English songwriter still makes for a cool-headed and libidinous presence in today’s rock landscape. In fact, at 76-years-old, Stewart’s instantly recognisable voice is just as husky and well-honed as his glory days. As rock septuagenarians go, The Tears Of Hercules proves his creative spark remains undimmed.

“ONE MORE TIME, FOR OLD TIME’S SAKE”

Released as the album’s lead single, One More Time is an upbeat slice of folk-pop merriment aided by banjos and country fiddles. It sees Stewart wistfully reflect on reigniting his passion for an old flame (“The sex was immense, by a good old country mile”) as well as revisiting past haunts (“I’m going down to Woodstock in my beat-up Jaguar”). It’s a bright and upbeat way to kick things off, setting the tone for an album whose prevailing mood is one of unbridled joy.

 

With youthful vigour, Stewart tries his hand at a dance-pop banger with Gabriella, a sun-kissed ode to a summer liaison that marries EDM-style beats with funk-lite guitar riffs akin to the best Chic songs. Erupting with a scorching guitar solo, it’s full of wah-wah, gleeful “Arriba!”s and Latin-flavoured trumpet-toting; crying out for a tropical house makeover, it wouldn’t take much for a remix to go down a storm in Pacha.

The sunny vibe continues on the nostalgic All My Days, on which Stewart sings of escaping to a beachside shack in Mexico (“They’ll teach us how to cha-cha while drinking piña colada”) over a cheerful mix of Spanish guitar and mariachi horns. Sounding more energised than he has in a long time, he even takes on a zesty cover of Soul Brothers Six’s song Some Kind Of Wonderful – perhaps better known as a 1974 hit for Grand Funk Railroad – revelling in an R&B stomper that sees him trade smoky vocals with female backing singers in the song’s delightful call-and-response refrain.

 

“A GIANT OF HIS GENERATION”

Stewart has even more fun paying tribute to Marc Bolan on Born To Boogie, swaggering along confidently to a T. Rex-style riff and gruffly celebrating the glam-rock icon’s enduring legacy (“He stood five foot four but was a giant of his generation”). Next up, Kookooramabama gives The Beach Boys’ Kokomo a run for its money, propelling itself along to a memorable vocal hook and a synth-based rhythm, with Stewart singing unashamedly of spontaneous lust while his raspy tones bump up against a jaunty sax.

I Can’t Imagine appears to be Stewart’s romantic tribute to his wife, Penny Lancaster. A pleasant 80s-style power ballad about waking up with the woman you love, it sweeps listeners up with a buoyant key change fit for drive-time radio. The Tears Of Hercules’ title track, meanwhile, lends the album a touch of Broadway magic courtesy of musical composer Marc Jordan: an affecting piano-led showtune about ageing and life-long reminiscences, its swell of bagpipes and Celtic flutes offers another rousing moment on the album.

Elsewhere, the slow acoustic ballad Hold On sends a message to a troubled world full of societal divisions, its hearty chorus accompanied with verses decrying racism and bigotry, and calling for peace and tolerance (“With cities divided and the homeless crying/Equality for all someday”).

 

“THE THRILL IS STILL ALIVE”

Precious Memories continues Stewart’s stroll down memory lane (“The thrill is still alive in my mind”), grooving along to 50s doo-wop chords and loosely referencing a woman dancing to George Michael’s Careless Whisper, before erupting into a sizzling saxophone solo of its own. Towards the end of The Tears Of Hercules, Johnny Cash’s country tune These Are My People gets a Highland makeover, with Stewart celebrating his native Scotland and the song fading to the evocative hum of bagpipes.

Ending the album on a suitably nostalgic note, Touchline sees the singer recall his days as a young boy when his dad watched him play football, reflecting on how he is now doing the same for his own kids. Envisioning the ghost of his father proudly looking down on him, it makes for a touching end to a spirited return to form.

As one of only a handful of rock’n’roll icons still making music today, Stewart is clearly relishing his role as a national treasure. Full of energy, and with his passion for music unvanquished, The Tears Of Hercules is a pleasant reminder of why the 70s rock idol still commands such a loyal fanbase. If there’s anyone who proves that age is just a number, it’s Rod Stewart.

Rod Stewart

The Tears Of Hercules

  • Classic Rock
  • Paul Moody
 

Never a dull moment as his Rodness continues a late-career renaissance.

Anyone who’s seen the video for this album’s lead single One More Time, which features a newly knighted Rod skipping up The Mall away from Buckingham Palace in a brocade jacket, knows that this is a man who, even as he approaches his seventy-seventh birthday, shows no sign of taking himself too seriously.

So while the impressive career stats – nine No.1 albums, 31 Top 10 singles, more than 200 million sales worldwide – demand respect, album number 31 comes with a generosity of spirit and jaunty self-awareness most perma-shaded superstars lost sight of decades ago.

As with 2018’s Blood Red Roses, Rod once again does most of the creative heavy lifting. He wrote seven of the 12 songs along with long-term writing partner Kevin Savigar, a member of his touring band since 1978, and his unique musical and lyrical DNA is evident throughout.

His joy at being reacquainted with his muse is obvious right from lively opener One More Time. A Celtic-pop romp that nods to both Mandolin Wind and You’re In My Heart, it’s typically tongue-in-cheek, pop’s greatest Lothario pleading with an ex-lover to get back between the sheets over a tune so virally catchy it could have been cooked up in a Scandinavian hit laboratory.

All My Days is equally breezy, with Rod fantasising about retiring to

Mexico, where ‘they’ll teach us how to chacha while drinking piña colada’, before things get interesting with Born To Boogie.

A tribute to Marc Bolan complete with spidery T.Rex guitars, it’s a full-tilt glam stomp, Rod rasping out a heartfelt tribute to ‘an East End kid who became a rock’n’roll sensation’.

Viagra-boogie Kookooaramabama is equally potent, Rod delivering a sermon on the joy of sex, hollering ‘Try it in the kitchen when the kids are out/Spontaneous lust is what it’s all about’, still the perennial naughty schoolboy.

He’s always been a master interpreter of other people’s material, and further evidence comes with the title track, an atmospheric ballad in the Fairytale Of New York mould written by Marc Jordan (responsible for Vagabond Heart’s topfive hit Rhythm Of My Heart).

Throw in a sentimental Hold On, a bagpipe-infused version of Johnny Cash’s These Are My People, and a tearjerking Touchline, a tribute to his father, and the result is everything you might want from an audience with Rod Stewart.

The pipe and those tartan slippers can wait a while yet.

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Album: Rod Stewart - The Tears of Hercules

They can smell Rod's latest set of stadium whiffers on Mars

 

Amid the spume of insults at the close of the song “The Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle” by Malcolm McLaren’s Rotten-less, end-game version of the Sex Pistols, Rod Stewart is a prime target. Sandwiched between abuse for David Bowie and Elton John, Rod is accused of having “a luggage label tied to his tonsils”. It’s hardly a cutting verbal blow but the point is he’s amongst those the Pistols were supposedly rendering irrelevant.

Over four decades later, though, his musical output remains relatively prolific and his albums massive hits. This new one will be. A terrifying thought as it contains many kinds of aural torment.

 

Rod the Mod seems an affable rogue but that doesn’t give a pass for The Tears of Hercules. His 21st century output has seen him go from his American Songbook Sinatra schtick to reflective albums re-embracing his singer-songwriter side. “Touchline”, the closing ode to his late father and football is very much in this latter vein, too stadium sentimental for this writer but clearly from the heart. Elsewhere, though, he rushes along tangents that range from the unpleasant to the deranged.

In the latter category is the album’s most entertaining song, “Kookooaramabama”, which, I kid you not, channels Sigue Sigue Sputnik’s “Love Missile F1-11”, with added brass, and proclaims “Sex is cool and sex is nice” among much else. It’s a welcome, unhinged frolic but, for the most part, Rod’s penchant for rank cheese outguns everything. Opener “One More Time” is a booty call clunker over an “Old Town Road” country riff and electronic kick drum with lyrics that include “The sex was immense by a good old country mile”, rhymed with “speed dial”.

The opening cuts go for a Bryan Adams-with-Chicane house rhythm, resulting in a Whigfield-meets-“Macarena” vibe, a Benidorm conga-line, especially on the nursery rhyme-like “All My Days”. Then the guitars come out for a bit, the lyrically clunky tribute to Marc Bolan, “Born to Boogie”, being especially riffy. Finally Rod settles into Celtic bombast, from the James-Horner-Titanic-music schmaltz of the title track to the appalling bagpipe pomp of “These are My People”. By the end, the listener is dripping gorgonzola, ears weeping, wishing only that the Sex Pistols had, as they hoped, chucked this sort of thing in the puke barrel long, long ago.

 

Tears Of Hercules

A Fans Review by Ryan Frost - reelnerdspodcast.com

Rod Stewart returns with another round of mostly original material for his 32nd solo album, The Tears of Hercules. Stewart again follows the pattern of his 2018 studio album, Blood Red Roses, which there is no really cohesive thread in the album. Not a slight, but it seems to me that Stewart now is trying his hand at all genres of music and what you will hear is a 12-track album with diverse sounds from dance music, folk, Central America influences and of course Celtic and Irish touches.

The Tears of Hercules is a fun, solid ride for a man that is now in his sixth decade making music. Make no mistake, I am a huge Rod Stewart fan and I love that he takes chances and records whatever tickles his fancy.

So I thought I would share with you yet another Rod Stewart article on my website about movies. I also decided to dive into each track. I have listened to The Tears of Hercules non-stop since its release and I think I have a pretty strong feeling on where I stand with this album. Put on your headphones and join me on a journey I think you will enjoy.

One More Time (Rod Stewart/Kevin Savigar)

The Tears of Hercules opens with a country-pop ditty about hooking up with an ex-lover for one more roll in the sack. I like this song and I love the playfulness of the lyrics. Right off the bat Stewart comes out strong with, “It’s not the color of your hair or the beauty in your eyes that I’ll be missin’. Or the sunshine in your smile or those ruby red lips I’ve been kissin’” The song starts mellow with just a guitar and slowly ramps up to the chorus.

The folk touches give way to more of a poppy-country sound. Which is fine. I would’ve liked if stayed understated but I hear the appeal. It is catchy and I heard this just today at a local grocery store so it’s getting radio play.

Overall a fun, lightweight start to the album.

Grade: B-

Gabriella (Rod Stewart/Kevin Savigar)

When I mentioned in the beginning of this article you can’t really pinpoint the genre of music to put The Tears of Hercules in, takes a 180 degree turn from One More Time to a dance infused electronic song, Gabriella.

Which I guess if there is a theme here is they are both about sex. And this song has a killer hook and I love the opening verse, particularly “A blind man could see you made a bee line for me, there was only one thing on your mind.”

Of all the songs on this album, Gabriella is the one I am most conflicted about. The guitar solo is wicked and it is fun, I am just not sure how much fun. I do like it but not sure how much. I do think Rod sounds great on the track.

Grade: B-

All My Days (Rod Stewart/Kevin Savigar)

Hey you like songs about sex? Well let’s change everything you’ve heard so far on The Tears of Hercules and take a vacation and relax with the sounds of Mexico.

Stewart throws a curve ball yet again for the third straight song as the airy, catchy, All My Days is next. Taking the same approach as Beautiful Morning, where our hero just wants to get away. All My Days is lighter and perhaps a little more fun than Beautiful Morning.

I love this song. It’s ok people to just enjoy a song. It doesn’t have to be deep, it can just be fun and All My Days is that. I love the catchy chorus, I love the horns, I love the Central American vibe.

Grade: A-

Some Kind of Wonderful (John Ellison)

The first cover that Stewart tackles is a doozy. First released in 1967 by the Soul Brothers Six, and than reaching number three on the Billboard charts by Grand Funk Railroad in 1974.

Stewart’s in a blend of the two and he dirties it up a little bit with some crunching guitars and makes it one hell of a good time. Stewart is in top form during this song and shows he still can deliver the goods on rock songs.

Grade: A

Born to Boogie (A Tribute to Marc Bolan) (Rod Stewart/Emerson Swinford)

Marc Bolan was known as one of the pioneers of Glam Rock with his band T. Rex. Bolan tragically died in 1974 and Rod pays tribute to him on a rip roaring true to its title boogie.

The opening chords will have you tapping your feet and when Stewart steps up to the mike he delivers a fun and touching song. What I love about this song is that, yes it’s a tribute but it is also one hell of a fun song. Rod’s lyrics are so clever throughout the runtime that it ends way too fast. With killer lines like, “When he played guitar he was a rock-god baby-faced assassin. He wore a black bowler hat and a jacket made of cherry red satin” Yes, Stewart rhymed “Assassin and satin”. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves as a song writer and my guess is that it will always be his fans best kept secret.

Grade: A

Kookooaramabama (Rod Stewart/Kevin Savigar)

I have no idea what this title means. And after listening to the song I am guessing it’s about sex. Rod returns to dance music with Kookooaramabama and it is ok. But I do like the the line, “try it in the kitchen when the kids are out.”

I mean I guess it has a fun beat and the lyrics are fun, but I think it is the weakest track on the album.

Grade: C

I Can’t Imagine (Rod Stewart/Kevin Savigar/Emerson

Oh the song that has divided Rod’s fans. I have read that some people think it is awful and the pendulum swings all the way to the other side where people adore it.

I think I fall in the middle. It took me a long time to warm up to it. The music video sold me on the song, seeing Rod smiling and charming his way through the song had me smiling with new appreciation for I Can’t Imagine.

I do love the message of the song, especially dig the line “And when I’ve been down and out and my back’s been against the wall, only you baby, only you stood up for me proud and tall”.

Rod dedicated this to his wife and it also reminds me of mine, perhaps that’s why I am a softie for this song.

Grade: B-

The Tears of Hercules (Marc Jordan)

The title track is a slow moving ballad written by Marc Jordan who supplied Rod with his mega-hit, Rhythm of My Heart.

The Tears of Hercules doesn’t have the punch of that song, but it is sweet and Rod is in top vocal form. It’s a little safe but well done. The best part is Stewart’s powerful reading.

Grade: C+

Hold On (Rod Stewart/Kevin Savigar)

Every Rod Stewart album has a song that is worth the price of the whole album, and Hold On is that song.

Rod is in top form, from his vocals, to his song writing and his incredible phrasing of the lyrics. Tackling the current state of the world, Rod delivers one of his most powerful songs ever.

My favorite lyric is “A Change is Gonna Come, Sam Cooke once sung, oh lay down that burden of hate.” I will be honest I shed a tear listening to this song. Music can always inspire us and Rod does just that in four short minutes

One of his best written songs in many a moons..

Grade: A+

Precious Memories (Rod Stewart/Kevin Savigar)

I never knew I wanted a Rod Stewart doo-wop song and I was wrong. Not only did I want one, now I want a whole album of them.

Rod absolutely crushes the sound of the 50’s in this absolute gem of a song. I close my eyes and picture two straws in a malt being shared by a couple of teenagers in a poodle skirt and a letterman’s sweater.

The lyrics are sweet, the saxophone is money and Rod is singing so well.

Please Rod, give me an album of originals mixed with some Buddy Holly covers.

Grade: A

These Are My People (Johnny Cash)

Rod takes a Johnny Cash country song and drastically changes it to a Scottish/Irish/Celtic ditty.

Kudos to Rod for taking a big chance a fundamentally changing the song. He is an expert at taking someone else’s song and making it his own.

Stewart changes the song as well to sort of a rally sing-along. It’s well done and Rod again is in top form.

Grade: B

Touchline (Rod Stewart/Kevin Savigar)

A beautiful heartfelt song closes out the album. A deeply personal song about Rod’s father is tear inducing, relatable to anyone.

As Rod sings this song, I reflected on my dad standing on the sidelines of my football games and being proud of me but also critical of my play. It was his way of showing love and hearing Rod sing about is tough dad showing his love the same way is deeply effective.

Stewart’s singing is with so much heart you actually hear it in his voice. What a way to close out the album.

Grade: A

I really enjoy The Tears of Hercules. It is a fun album that flies by. And with only a couple of missteps on the album make this another strong album by Rod Stewart.

Overall Grade: B

 

 

 

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