Rod Stewart once tried to convince his mother that he had made a lot of money, and wanted to buy her a really big Christmas present. After much thought, she chose a new bread bin.
Feet that stay on the ground are obviously a family trait. Rod: The Autobiography (Century, £20) is excellent, like listening to the guy in the pub who became a rock star but still drinks at the local.
You don’t sell 200 million records without knowing how to connect with people, and Stewart does that just as well on the page as in his songs. The young singer sets his hair with sugar dissolved in water. He and Ronnie Wood hide behind a pot plant to escape the amorous intentions of Janis Joplin.
By the age of 25 he has seen three drummers fall backwards off the stage: ‘I was beginning to think it was me.’ Banned from every Holiday Inn in the world, the Faces check in as Fleetwood Mac: ‘There is always a way round these things.’ Britt Ekland sends him her knickers by post (‘my word, how email has changed things’), and a Scotland fan nicks his Cartier watch during the legendary Wembley pitch invasion of 1977. These days he loves his model railroads (not ‘train sets’), and lets Penny park the Lambo if the space is too tight.
And to this day his wallet contains a picture of Long John Baldry, the singer who advised him always to stand at the mike with his feet apart. Rod had the perfect plates for the job.