Friday, December 16, 2005

Rod Stewart- Crooner!

As grand an oxymoron as "little shrimp" or "deafening silence", "Rod Stewart" and "crooner" have no business being in the same sentence together.

Stewart's raspy, drain cleaner gargling voice was originally made popular only by the virtue of Rock and Roll's #1 motto: "Anyone can do it."

As an art form that often embraces attitude and desire above all other qualities, Rock put Stewart on the map. The fact that it didn't SOUND like Rod should be singing made him all the more endearing. Ignoring his own limitations, he tried so hard you had to like him.

So Rock's version of Tiny Tim was allowed to rip off Sam Cooke and other soul singers, wear spandex and have hit after Top 40 hit. Often written by someone else, of course. Using material from The Isley Brothers, Cat Stevens, Van Morrison, The Temptations and others, Rod's career ratio of "original to cover song" hits may be the lowest ever.

But hey, let Rod have his fun.

Until now, that is.

We've Created A Monster!

Rod has now decided to go after The Great American Songbook. He was probably as surprised as anyone when his versions of classic vocal standards actually started to sell.

In fact, while America slept he has already recorded FOUR standards albums! The wild popularity of which just goes to prove what I have always maintained- "You cannot underestimate the taste of the general public!"

The people buying scads of Stewart's "American Songbook" CDs probably have no idea idea who Chet Baker or Louis Prima are, or what real Swing music is. And probably never will.

The point is, Stewart is/was a ROCK singer. He belongs in a bar or a stadium belting out his sandpaper vocals to raucous, rowdy and laviscious guitar driven "rawk". And nowhere else. Certainly not in a tux with a freaking swing orchestra, attempting to croon. It's like watching an albatross pretend it's a swan.

What's next, Ozzie Osbourne's version of "Sentimental Journey"? Or "The Rolling Stones Sing Sinatra" album? Ouch.

I believe the young Rod Stewart would have kicked the old Rod Stewart's ass for even attempting such a thing. Of course, when it comes to music, Mr. Stewart's motto has always been, "When you run out of original things to say, repeat what others have already said."

And since the copyright on many of these old songs may have expired, there are no song writing royalties to pay.

Brilliant marketing from all angles, Rod!

But I remember when you used to relish the opportunity you were given to Rock and Roll!

- DJ Craig

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