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Classic Album Review: Rod Stewart | It Had to Be You … The Great American Songbook

The raspy rocker embraces his inner coot & mellows out with Tin Pan Alley chestnuts.

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This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


At age 57, Rod Stewart is closer to Rodger the Codger than Rod the Mod. But after years of trying to stay young by latching on to every musical trend, he’s finally become old enough to know better.

On his 758th album It Had To Be You … The Great American Songbook, Stewart embraces his inner coot and mellows out with a cocktail-jazz set of classic Tin Pan Alley ballads like You Go To My Head, They Can’t Take That Away From Me, I’ll Be Seeing You and These Foolish Things. But while it’s nice to hear Rod act his age for once, the results are mixed. Granted, I’d rather hear him tackle these warmed-over chestnuts than butcher another Tom Waits classic. And thanks to the aid of producer Phil Ramone and some talented jazzbo players, he doesn’t do any worse than Robbie Williams. Even so, Rod’s sandpapery rasp and laissez-faire delivery don’t exactly measure up to Tony Bennett (or even Bryan Ferry, for that matter). Plus, the notion that now your mother and your grandmother might be simultaneously swooning over Rod is just plain creepy.