Candy canes might be sweet. The scent of winter snow mixed with smoke rising from the chimney can be inspiring. Carolers always seem to sing in perfect harmony. Fragile porcelain dolls look too beautiful to hold.
For me, just having Rod Stewart in my home early enough for the holidays has to be one of the most cherished and memorable Christmas gift I have received thus far in my lifetime.
Okay, so, the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter did not literally pay me a visit. Darn it! However, I can dream, can’t I?
It’s not all a loss, for in reality I have the next best thing: “Rod: The Autobiography.”
Rod “the Mod” and “the Bod” Stewart is not only an intriguing performer, a skilled songwriter and football (soccer) player, fashionable guy, entertaining writer and a master model railroader. He also possesses a diploma from the National Model Railroad Association of America.
I really enjoyed reading his autobiography. He proved to me, as he might prove to others, that there’s more to “Rod” than only being a famous celebrity. He is more sensitive, generous, strong, gracious and outrageously funny than I could have even imagined.
He has a system and way of identifying himself at the beginning of each chapter as “the hero,” such as for chapter one: “In which the hero is born,” or in one of his digressions, “In which our hero finds himself spurned by punk rockers.”
His autobiography reads like a novel except it’s not fictional. His song writing skills are evident and always on display through the words he chooses to explain why he turned to music, especially since initially he didn’t like singing or singing in front of others.
He shares with the reader the practical jokes played on band members who later formed the Faces, the Jeff Beck Group and other bands.
I learned what a wonderful friend Stewart is. To this day, he makes it a point to stay in touch with many friends, including Ronnie Wood, formerly of the Faces, and The Rolling Stones, many actors and actresses, former lovers and wives and his current wife, Penny Lancaster.
His children mean the world to him. I can sense how dear they are to him just by the way he expresses through words his parental love, faith, honesty and humor.
I am impressed by the respect and love he reveals for his parents, brothers, sisters and numerous relatives. He gives moving portrayals of his deceased mother, Elsie, and father, Bob. His parents were both of Scottish origin. Stewart has always said of his family, “If we go, we go together. We were very clan-like in that way. We still are.”
Sadly, not everything in Stewart’s life was or is all rosy and wonderful. He’s very direct when it concerns his having to cope with divorces. He is not ashamed to write of his therapy sessions.
Stewart was treated for thyroid cancer and is one of many cancer survivors. He continues to record and is still proud of the release of his first holiday CD, “Merry Christmas, Baby.”
His new rock album is scheduled for release next year, making it his first rock album to come out after roughly 25 years. In fact, he has been the center of attention lately, starring in several first-ever televised holiday special programs titled, “Merry Christmas, Baby.”
There’s one thing that particularly pleases me about his autobiography; Stewart was accepted by record labels for who he was and for his talents. However, early on, some record labels almost refused to sign him. His voice was gravelish, scratchy and hoarse-like, his nose was too big and that hair! He wasn’t all that “pretty.”
His voice, his hair and his nose have become his signatures and personal identity. Thank heavens he wasn’t forced to undergo plastic surgery.
Through it all, Stewart has been successful, regardless of his looks although, he does joke about his voice, nose and hair.
For instance, during a music award ceremony, Stewart was introducing Tony Bennett who sports a beauty of a nose. With great wit, Stewart leaned forward and spoke cheeringly into the microphone so the audience could hear every word,
“Tony and I got into a bit of a ruckus backstage. We kept trying to throw punches but our noses got in the way.”
To emphasize this point in another way, Stewart writes of his success, “Not bad for a guy with a frog in his throat.”
The best thing about Stewart is that he is quite passionate about his lyrics. He takes his time composing, even if it means getting up three or four times in the night to add more lyrics to a song.
I do believe that “Rod: The Autobiography” will surprise, even perhaps shock in some cases, readers and non-fans.
People can always learn something new about somebody when reading an autobiography. In this case, “Rod: The Autobiography” is so much better than a dream.