Pop Culture

Rocker Rod Stewart now singing a different tune

The song “Maggie May” marked Rod Stewart's debut on the music scene – 40 years ago. For much of that time, he's been a hard British rocker. But these days, Stewart's singing a different tune – crooning American classics. “Today” host Katie Couric caught up with “Rod the Mod” out in Beverly Hills and found out, he's still living life in the fast lane. 

Katie Couric: You, I read in Vanity Fair recently, you said, "The secret to staying forever young is to play soccer as long as you can."

Rod Stewart: Drink as much wine, and shag as many women.

Couric: Yeah. (Laughter) So, rate these in order of importance. 

Stewart: Well, if one could do all three together – and I've tried, believe me – soccer, absolutely. I mean, I would put that top of the list for me.  I absolutely adore soccer.

Couric: Ahead of music, sex and wine?

Stewart: I … love a glass of wine in the evening, especially after a soccer match. And I usually have sex before a soccer match.  And while I'm having sex, we play music. So, that's one way of combining everything. 

Stewart’s 28,000 square foot English-style estate is just one of his four homes – a lavish lifestyle of rock ‘n roll aristocracy, thanks to a career that spans four decades and multiple incarnations. 

Couric: When you went through that period, and did kind of more of a disco thing.  And I guess you were wearing false eyelashes, and spandex.

Stewart: Yeah. Everybody was. Wasn't just me.

Couric:  Yeah. (Laughter)

Stewart: Everybody was wearing that stuff.

Couric: And you were jumping around too.

Stewart: "Do You Think I'm Sexy?"

Couric: Yeah, "Do You Think I'm Sexy?"

Stewart: But you danced to "Do You Think I'm Sexy?" Didn't you?

Couric: I think I did, actually.

Stewart: Yeah.  I bet you were wearing spandex as well.

Couric: Yeah. (Laughter)

But now, Rod's traded in those skin tight trousers for a tuxedo and tails. His career is enjoying a renaissance, thanks to two consecutive CD's he calls "The Great American Songbook."  Volumes I and II have sold over ten million copies worldwide combined.  And next Tuesday, Rod rolls out "Stardust ... The Great American Songbook Volume III" – 13 more classics the crooner has recorded, including duets with Bette Midler and Dolly Parton.  

Couric: But you all didn't actually record together. You were in two different places?

Stewart: Yeah, that's the way it is nowadays.

Couric: Isn't that weird though? Don't you wish you could have been face to face with Dolly?

Stewart: I would have loved to have been face to face with Dolly. (Laughter)

Couric: That's a loaded … (Laughter)

Stewart: Oh, oh, oh. 

But his success with the standards notwithstanding, Rod Stewart will forever be associated with a rock classic he wrote himself in 1971. 

Katie and Rod Stewart (Singing): “You made a first class fool out of me, but I was blind as a fool can be.  You stole my heart, and that's pain I can do without.”

Stewart: Brilliant! That's it!  (To Camera)  Did you get that? Did you get it? That's fantastic. (Laughter) You can … carry a tune!

Couric: I can, a little bit.

Stewart: Well, let's go through, and play the piano.

Couric: Let's, shall we?  

And though the songs he's singing now are perhaps more age-appropriate, Rod Stewart’s prolific career has had one constant: that unmistakable voice – which was once called “a unique blend of sandpaper and soul.”

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