Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Review: Rod: The Autobiography (Audio)

Summary: Rod Stewart was born the working class son of a Scottish plumber in north London. Despite some early close shaves with a number of diverse career paths ranging from gravedigging to professional soccer, it was music that truly captured his heart - and he never looked back.

Rod started out in the early 1960s playing the clubs on London’s R&B scene before his distinctively raspy voice caught the ear of the iconic front man Long John Baldry, who approached him while he was busking one night on a railway platform. Stints with pioneering acts like the Hoochie Coochie Men, Steampacket, and the Jeff Beck Group soon followed, paving the way into a raucous five years with the Faces, the rock star’s rock band, whose onstage and offstage antics with alcohol, wrecked hotel rooms, partying, and groupies have become the stuff of legend. And during all this, he found a spare moment to write "Maggie May", among a few other tunes, and launch a solo career that has seen him sell in excess of 200 million records, be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, and play the world’s largest-ever concert. Not bad, as he says, for a guy with a frog in his throat. 

And then there is his not-so-private life: marriages, divorces, and affairs with some of the world’s most beautiful women - Bond girls, movie stars, and supermodels - a struggle with steroids, and a brush with cancer, in which he almost saw it all slip away. 

Rod’s is an incredible life, and here - thrillingly and for the first time - he tells the entire thing, leaving no knickers under the bed. A rollicking rock ’n’ roll adventure that is at times deeply moving, this is the remarkable journey of a guy with one hell of a voice - and one hell of a head of hair. -- Random House Audio

Yesterday, I mentioned that I received two credits for books from My first choice was ROD: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY. I admit I'm not the biggest Rod Stewart fan (although I do love Maggie May); however, as a child of the 1980s, I had heard some interesting stories about Mr. Stewart. And then I read Sandy's review of the book, and I just knew I had to give it a try.

ROD: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY definitely exceeded my expectations. I wouldn't exactly say I was necessarily interested in Mr. Stewart's life or his music; however, I was so entertained by this book that I found myself looking forward to my exercise times just so I could listen to it. Mr. Stewart begins his book with a humorous story about a close call with an airplane accident and uses it as an example of just how lucky he's been in his life. When I was laughing out loud within the first five minutes, I had a feeling that I was in for a treat.

Mr. Stewart then takes us from his youth in England following World War II to his glamorous life as a huge rock star. And believe me when I say, there were many ups and downs during those years. What I loved the most about this book is Mr. Stewart's honesty. He cleared up many of the misconceptions about his life... and boy were there some strange ones. But he also showed a fantastic sense of self-deprecating humor when he reflected on his life.

And I know this is going to sound awful, but when I think of Rod Stewart, I don't think of his music. Rather, I think of his relationships with tall, young blonds. In ROD: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY, Mr. Stewart provided lots of juicy details about his numerous marriages and flings with beautiful women. However, despite his record, I believe that he genuinely loved each of these women. I also appreciated that he went into some details about the love he has for his children.

In addition, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed learning about Mr. Stewart's music history. Sometimes when I read book's by famous rock stars, I get a little bored with all of the details about each song and each performance, blah, blah, blah... That wasn't the case with ROD: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY. Maybe it's because Mr. Stewart didn't spend a huge amount of time on every stinking detail of his career, or maybe it was just the funny way he had of describing every life situation, but I actually liked learning the background on his various albums and concerts.

I have to say that I found Rod Stewart actually growing on me the more I read this book -- and you could have knocked me over with a feather. Of course, he was a pretty big rock star and he does have a rock star ego; however, he came across in this book as being somewhat down to earth... for a rock star. Some of my favorite parts of this book were when he talked about his relationship with Elton John, and I found myself cracking up at their friendly competitions.

However, this book also explored some of Mr. Stewart's more troubling times. He is up front about his relationship with drugs and alcohol as well as his brush with cancer. And it was in these events that I found myself truly liking Mr. Stewart. He has certainly gained some perspective in his 70 years and I feel as if he's learned from his various life experiences.

I absolutely, positively adored ROD: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY; and I'm quite certain listening to the audio book was one of the major reasons why. The book was read by Simon Vance, and I now know why he's such a "rock star" for audio book fans. He was amazing! I got so caught up in his accent and his perfect timing that I forgot that it wasn't Rod Stewart telling me his story. I hope I can say I'm a huge fan of Mr. Vance's after only one book; and now I'm on the hunt to find more of his work!

I highly recommend ROD: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY for fans of Rod Stewart's (and even those of you like me who weren't exactly crazy about him.) It's a wonderful look at a very interesting rock star and I can pretty much guarantee that you'll find yourself laughing at his antics. And if nothing else, you might find yourself liking Mr. Stewart a bit more after reading his story.

Thanks to Audible for providing a copy of this audio book.


bermudaonion said...

I was never a huge Rod Stewart fan either but I do love memoirs. You've made this one sound awfully appealing.

Sandy Nawrot said...

YES! See I'm not a huge fan either...I always thought he was a bit of a twit. But when I heard Simon Vance was the narrator, I jumped on it. This audio will likely be in my top listens for the year.

Beth F said...

I'm not a big fan, but my mother is! I should give her this book. I have this to listen to, and really should make the time.