ROD STEWART - The Definitive (2008)
Anyone who has charted Stewart’s career can tell you the best years were from 1969, when his self-titled debut came out, to the mid-seventies, at which point it became clear he was more responsive to simply moving his hips than using his soulful voice and lyrical skills. That trajectory basically runs briskly through the first eight to ten tracks on disc one of The Definitive Rod Stewart, from seduction narrative “Maggie May” to lascivious “Tonight’s The Night,” where Stewart professes his lust for a young virgin. Who might be interested in this 23-track, 14-video compendium? Causal fans who only know Stewart’s blockbuster hits could just as easily hunt down the 2001 single-disc The Very Best of Rod Stewart. The sixteen cuts provide much the same viewpoint that The Definitive Rod Stewart covers. That best-of is leaner, but that doesn’t mean it won’t disappoint. For anyone who needs the depth that Stewart’s storied discography requires, listeners could search out the still in print, four-CD Storyteller: The Complete Anthology. While it stops in the eighties, it’s a compilation worth owning.
The Definitive Rod Stewart has plenty of favorites and certainly Stewart fans will find quite a lot to like. But a top-40 singles collection does not reveal Stewart at his finest, nor does it supply a coherent journey of his changing public persona. Many of Stewart’s album cuts present a wider and deeper perspective on his ability to pen poignant ballads, or to put his unique stamp on other people’s songs, and that doesn’t even mention the brashly sloppy rock he did with Faces. “Stay with Me” is the only Faces tune included on The Definitive Rod Stewart, which is a shame since the band created some of the foremost seventies-era, hard-rocking stuff this side of the Rolling Stones. 1, 2, 3.
DISC 1: 01. Maggie May 02. Mandolin Wind 03. Every Picture Tells A Story 04. Stay With Me - Faces 05. You Wear It Well 06. Sailing 07. The Killing Of Georgie (Part I And II) 08. Tonight's The Night (Gonna Be Alright) 09. The First Cut Is The Deepest 10. You're In My Heart (The Final Acclaim) 11. I Was Only Joking 12. Hot Legs 13. Do Ya Think I'm Sexy? 14. Passion 15. Young Turks
DISC 2: 01. Tonight I'm Yours (Don't Hurt Me) 02. Baby Jane 03. Infatuation 04. Some Guys Have All The Luck 05. Love Touch 06. Forever Young 07. My Heart Can't Tell You No 08. Downtown Train 09. This Old Heart Of Mine (1989 Version) (With Ronald Isley) 10. I Don't Want To Talk About It (1989 Version) 11. Rhythm Of My Heart 12. The Motown Song (With The Temptations) 13. Tom Traubert's Blues (Waltzing Matilda) 14. Have I Told You Lately (Unpled Version) 15. Reason To Believe (Unpled Version) (With Ronnie Wood) 16. Two Shades Of Blue
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