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Rod Stewart Discusses His Return to Songwriting

Rod Stewart
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

After spending the better part of the past two decades recording other people’s songs, Rod Stewart is ready for the May 7 release of ‘Time,’ his first album of mostly self-penned material since 1988’s ‘Out of Order.’ In a new interview, Stewart opened up about his decision to start writing songs again.

According to Billboard, Stewart had been having difficulty writing lyrics for almost 15 years. However, it was during the writing of his memoir, 2012’s ‘Rod: The Autobiography,’ that his creativity returned, and he found himself drawing upon his memories for lyrics.

The first song to be written, ‘Brighton Beach,’ is a semi-autogiographical recount of a romantic evening on the English seaside town he had back in the 1960s. It came about during a 2010 meeting with longtime collaborator Jim Cregan. “He’s my annoying mate I’ve known all me life,” Stewart said. “He’d always bring his guitar around, pestering me with his chords.” Another song, ‘It’s Over,’ which is about a divorce, came shortly thereafter.

The album’s lone cover is ‘Picture in a Frame’ by the definitive “songwriter’s songwriter,” Tom Waits, long one of Stewart’s favorites. Waits composed Stewart’s No. 3 hit, ‘Downtown Train,’ as well as ‘Tom Traubert’s Blues’ and ‘Hang On, St. Christopher,’ both of which Stewart recorded. “‘Downtown Train’ bought Tom Waits a swimming pool,” he added with no small degree of modesty. “And ‘Picture in a Frame’ will pay for a new roof on his house. Really, I can’t say enough about Tom – he has such great imagery, which is an area in which I could do a bit better.

Next: Top 10 Rod Stewart Songs of the 70s

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