A TRUE measure of success for any celebrity is having two biographies published simultaneously. This is what happened to Rod during the late summer of 1977 when the first and only authorised Rod Stewart biography hit the shops. Peter Burton's officially backed 'A Life On The Town' faced stiff competition from Tony Jasper's unauthorised 'Rod Stewart' which was deliberately published the same month. With both books competing for attention, Billy Gaff - Rod's manager at the time - was seething. However, there was little he could do. The unauthorised book contained nothing libellous and Gaff could not claim any rights to the photographs. The net effect was that the fans had a choice, although it is more than likely most would have snapped up both books.
With Rod a permanent fixture on the charts in both Britain and America during 1978 - 1979, it is odd that there were not a barrage of books cashing in on his popularity. Commercially speaking, these years were probably his most successful ever, yet only one book emerged - and that was German! In fact between 1978 and 1990, just one book was published in English! The lack of Rod Stewart reading available over this lengthy period was frustrating for fans and did little for Rod's credibility. In the ever-growing rock book industry, virtually every major artist had an up to date biography available but Rod!
Coinciding with the resurgence of Rod's career in the early nineties with the albums Vagabond Heart and Unplugged and Seated, publishers appeared to realise there was a glaring void in the market. In 1991, the first biography for nine years was published with great success and a new book followed each year until 1994. The most recent, Lloyd Bradley's 'Every Picture Tells A Story', was published last year. Meanwhile, American author Edward Wincentsen is working on 'The Rod Stewart Companion', which will be out later this year.
Following a gap of 23 years, there is a powerful case for a new officially backed biography. With commitment from management, a no-holds barred attitude, first-hand accounts from family, fellow musicians, fans, friends and most importantly, from Rod himself, such a book would be a huge seller. Meanwhile, we will have to be content with un-authorised accounts that can sometimes be guilty of over-praise or even worse, are so lightweight, that the reader gains no real insight whatsoever. Any official book should seek to avoid these pitfalls and tell the story warts and all.

John Gray, spring 2000

All books in chronological order: (click for more information)

This feature provides details of each book about Rod to date. It includes the essential details you need, should you wish to track them down, as all but the most recent are out of print. Please note that all information refers to UK editions unless otherwise stated.

- The Rod Stewart Story (1976)

- Rod Stewart And The Changing Faces (1976)

- A Biography In Words And Pictures (1976)

- A Life On The Town (1977)

- Rod Stewart (1977)

- Rod Stewart Annual (1978)

- Rod Stewart (1979)

- Rod Stewart (1982)

- Rod Stewart (1990)

- A Biography (1991)

- The Visual Documentary (1992) << recommended book

- Vagabond Heart (1993)

- The Biography (1994) << recommended book

- Every Picture Tells A Story (1999)

- The Rod Stewart Companion (2000)

- Rod Stewart / Faces: Last Orders Please (2003)


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