Updated: Feb 19
We know anything that The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra turns their hand to is going to be wondrous. They’ve presented us with an eclectic catalogue over the years: from Bond to Beatles, Carmen to Coldplay, and who can forget the Oasis album back in 97. Now it is legend Sir Rod Stewart’s time as he celebrates 50 years as a solo artist.
Starting with a love of the harmonica, rock star hair and THAT voice, he was destined for musical stardom. The loveable Scot was in many bands, including The Faces with pal Ronnie Wood, and slowly but surely his own work was released until he was a fully established act.
Ever the consummate professional, he looks out for his fans, often insisting on staying till the last signature has been signed. It’s this respect and Rod’s passion for singing that has seen his appeal span generations. Thankfully, he shows no sign of slowing down commencing a transatlantic tour and his new album You’re in my Heart: Rod Stewart with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Produced by Trevor Horn, they wanted new arrangements for the big songs that we know and love, but also firm fan favourites too. The deluxe version offers two CDs packed full; in fact, it’s easy to forget just how many hits Rod has had over the years.
Stewart rushed home to tell his parents when he reached number 1 with Maggie May, and this is one of his proudest moments; he has chosen to open with it here. Straight away, the sound is smooth, big and beautiful, different from the original, yet retains all of the charm. This can be said of the whole record.
The element of sweetness is kept for We Are Sailing with a backing choir used, and The First Cut Is The Deepest is as charming as ever. Wow-numbers Handbags and Gladrags, Every Beat Of My Heart and I Don’t Want To Talk About It offers a beautiful listening experience; their power comes from the strings. Best opener goes to Tonight’s The Night, including a soaring sax solo too.
A standout moment is Stay With Me, transporting you to a stadium concert. For the duet of It Takes Two, Robbie Williams is invited in, creating a sing-along vibe, and the same this can be said for You’re In My Heart. To end, we are offered a new track named Stop Loving Her Today, which is a little nod to the future and reassurance to fans that there is more to come.
This record has an air of magic and is a supreme way to celebrate all that Rod Stewart has achieved. He knows what works for him and, along with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, has managed to put a new spin on his hugely impressive history. When you listen, you feel uplifted and ready to face the world as you imagine Rod might every day.
Article by Beverley Knight