Rod Stewart Opens Up About Fears Before First U.S. Show

Legendary British singer-songwriter Rod Stewart has recalled how frightened he was before his first U.S. show in a new episode of the “How to Wow” podcast.

In February 1967, Stewart joined the Jeff Beck Group, guitarist Jeff Beck‘s new post-Yardbirds venture, as vocalist and sometime songwriter.

During their first American show in 1968, Stewart says he hid behind the Grateful Dead‘s wall of amplifiers for fear of being branded a “fake” by the audience.

“I was so nervous,” he said of the show. “I always tried to sound like Sam Cooke, sound like a black singer, all my life. I thought, ‘I’m gonna be found out – there’s gonna be lots of black people sitting there, going, ‘Fake! You’re a fake!'”

“Of course, it was a load of hippies when I eventually came from behind the rack of amps,” Stewart added. “Jeff said, ‘Come on, you can come out now!’ And it was just a load of hippies!”

Stewart claims that his band had blown the Grateful Dead away during the show.

“America had never seen anything like this – me singing, Jeff playing guitar and Ronnie [Wood] playing bass, and Micky Waller on the drums and Nicky Hopkins on piano. What a lineup! They’d never seen Chicago blues being given back to them, fed back to them,” Stewart said.

He added, “This was before Led Zeppelin – of course, the [Rolling] Stones were big then – but this was us… and they’d never seen anything like it, especially a couple of tarts like me and Woody, all dressed up in lurex [and] high bouffant hair.”

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