Rod Stewart, who has sold over 100 million records worldwide and is one of the best selling artists of all time, was born in the last year of the Second World War and was 67 years old yesterday
Rod was born at home in Highgate, North London in 1945, half an hour after a German V-2 missile fell on the local police station, the youngest of five children and I was born in Lewisham Hospital and grew up in Deptford, South London in 1947, two years after the last bombs fell in that dockland area, the middle of three children.
In these two photos with Rod on the left we both seem to be wearing the same tie, shirt and pullover.
Rod and I both failed our 'eleven plus' exam , he then attended the William Grimshaw Secondary Modern School in Hornsey and I, Eltham Green Comprehensive. His main hobby was railway modelling and mine was collecting cigarette cards.
Rod was football mad, a strong supporter of Arsenal Football Club, became captain of the school football team and played for 'Middlesex Schoolboys', while I hated sport and was the Billy Casper figure in 'Kes' :
Rod had his introduction, when he was 11, to 'rock and roll' hearing Little Richard's 1956 "The Girl Can't Help It" and seeing Bill Haley & His Comets in concert.
His father bought him a guitar in 1959 and the first record he bought was Eddie Cochran's "C'mon Everybody" when he was 13 in 1958 :
and mine was 'Apache' by 'The Shadows when I was 17 in 1964 :
Rod left school at the age of 15 in 1960, joined a skiffle group called the 'Kool Kats', playing Lonnie Donegan and Chas McDevitt hits, worked briefly as a silk screen printer and then joined on a football apprentice with Brentford Football Club but left after a couple of months saying later : "I had the skill but not the enthusiasm. Well, a musician's life is a lot easier and I can also get drunk and make music, and I can't do that and play football. I plumped for music."
Over the next few years Rod :
- began busking at Leicester Square and other London spots with folk singer Wizz Jones and took up playing the harmonica.
- with Wizz, took their act to Brighton and then to Paris, sleeping under bridges over the River Seine and then to Barcelona and was deported from Spain for vagrancy.
- in 1963, adopted the 'Mod' lifestyle, saw Otis Redding perform in concert, began listening to Sam Cooke records and he became fascinated by rhythm and blues and soul music.
Rod in 1963 and me three years later as a student in Brighton :
Rod's big break came when Long John Baldry invited him to sit in with the 'Hoochie Coochie Men' and offered him a job for £35 a week after securing the approval of Rod's mother.
'Good Morning Little Schoolgirl' came when he was 19 in 1964 and his long 48 year career had begun :
And Rod and I today :