Rod Stewart's Set of Standards

'It Had to Be You' Features Pre-Rock Classics

Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart J Records LLC hide caption

itoggle caption J Records LLC

From 'It Had to Be You'

"It Had to Be You"

"I'll Be Seeing You"

With his new album It Had to Be You: The Great American Songbook, Rod Stewart is following in the footsteps of Linda Ronstadt, Carly Simon, Willie Nelson and others who have reached back to music from earlier times and moved it into today — their way.

The classic songs on this album — by Cole Porter, the Gershwins, Gus Kahn and others — were staples of Stewart's household in London when he was growing up, he tells NPR's Susan Stamberg for Weekend Edition Saturday.

It might come as a surprise to some that Stewart — he of "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" and "Young Turks" fame — would compile an album of standards. On the other hand, he's no stranger to either the ballad or the classic pop song. Witness such Stewart hits as "I Don’t Want to Talk About It" and "You're in My Heart."

"I don’t think these are sweet, horrible songs at all," Stewart says of the new album. "It's obviously not 'Hot Legs,' but they are all beautifully well-crafted songs."

Stewart used to say he wanted to sound like soul great Otis Redding. You can certainly hear the influence in his raspy voice. The latest record exhibits more influences, he says, including Sam Cooke and Billie Holiday. "I've stolen from just about every famous singer there is, and now it uniquely sounds like me."

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.