He first appeared as a street-walking urchin with a heart full of R&B, then evolved into a suave, rooster-coiffed crooner of ballads and standards -- and still, Stewart just will not fade away.
Rod the Mod started out as, believe it or not, a genuine London mod in the mid-'60s, dressing sharp and singing soul in a handful of struggling bands (including the unfortunately named Peter B. and the Looners, which featured a pre-Mac Mick Fleetwood and Peter Green). A stint with the Jeff Beck Group put him on the map, and he launched his solo career in 1969 at the same time he joined the Faces, with whom he produced the sloppy, riotous anthem "Stay With Me."
For Stewart, the '70s was a cyclone of leggy blondes, mole-dotted sneers and alleged stomach pumps. The singer weathered prog and punk with a string of lucrative, ruthlessly catchy hits such as "Maggie May," "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" and "You're in My Heart." And although the '80s witnessed some of the biggest sellers of his career, he racked up just as many flops as triumphs as he coasted toward the new millennium.
The year 2002, however, saw his proverbial big comeback: It Had to Be You: The Great American Songbook, a multi-platinum homage to Grandpa's pop standards, including "The Way You Look Tonight" and "They Can't Take That Away From Me." Its sequel, last year's As Time Goes By, has proven nearly as successful. The reason? God help us, but the stuff is actually good. Stewart's gravel-gargling wail has deepened and simmered with age, sounding like Louis Armstrong meets Lady in Satin-era Billie Holiday.
His current tour is called, appropriately enough, From Maggie May to the Great American Songbook. You can catch him belting out the hits tonight at 8 p.m. at the Pepsi Center.
But Rod, if you're listening, please do us a favor and retire now. With all the success -- even legitimacy -- you've somehow managed to sustain over your thirty-year career, you're making all the young Turks look bad.