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April 29, 2019

The Rhino Tenth Anniversary

A Look Back At The Wonder That Was 2009 - a brand new blog by Pat Brett

posted by Mike Walton

It wasn’t easy being a Rod Stewart fan at the turn of the millennium. Off-the-field distractions meant his career was understandably taking a back seat for a while. His marriage had come to an end and he was about to discover a growth that would impact his ability to sing for months. Musically, his last release of the 20th century was a relative commercial failure, peaking at #44 in the US charts. This came on the heels of unexpectedly underwhelming sales for A Spanner in the works and a lukewarm reception for his ballad compilation. When he did come back after illness, his market position had weakened further and Human completely bombed. Warner were probably quite happy to let him go (of course they were wrong as it turned out, which must have pleased the Stewart and Stiefel camp just a little).

What came next was a commercial renaissance, but one that came at an incredible cost to his legacy. Whether justified or not, whatever ground he had recovered during the period from Out of Order through New Boys was washed away by a wave of standards and weak covers spanning 2001 to 2011. He wasn’t writing or producing and with each passing year and each Clive Davis helmed album, his rock legacy weakened further. The first two, or at a stretch three, Songbooks could be defended as being something dear to his heart, but what followed was 100% about the cash. Things were bleak!

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to us, Warner had finally got around to considering a Rod archive project in 2007. Working through 2008, they finally stuck their heads out of the bunkers to hint that “all our dreams were about to come through”. They first hit us with a new Best of compilation (Some guys have all the luck / The Definitive) late in 2008. At first look it didn’t really excite. Just one previously unreleased song – the lyrically incomplete Two Shades of Blue – and the usual set of hits with the period post Unplugged completely neglected bar that one outtake. Digging a little deeper did suggest something good might be happening. The intro to First Cut is the Deepest was longer than we were accustomed to (it later transpired that Rhino had found the original master tapes for A Night on the Town missing since 1976), the sound on the songs was excellent and a
bonus dvd disc – admittedly rarely watched – was a new departure.
To read the full blog go to SMILER Retro now!

© 2019 SMILER Magazine

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