Iconic Spotlight : Rod Stewart, by Michael Brennan

On a steaming hot August afternoon in downtown Manhattan, Rod Stewart with then girlfriend Britt Ekland, set sail around the New York Harbor. The purpose for this voyage was to shoot a video for his very successful single ‘Sailing.’

Rod and Britt were all over the papers at that time (1970’s); popping up one day in Paris the next day maybe leaving a night-club in London. The British newspapers were particularly keen on Rod since he represented the ‘working-class lad, made good’ (he had been a gravedigger before rock n’ roll fame!)

I was very pleased to receive a call on the public telephone booth in Costello’s Bar & Grill on East 44th Street in Manhattan the day before the boat trip from Rod’s popular public-relations rep Billy Gaff. I often received calls at Costello’s – people knew where to find me. ‘Would I be interested to join Rod for the ride around The Statue of Liberty while he performed?’ It didn’t take me long to accept the invitation.

The ever affable Rod was welcoming and easy going and his affection for Britt was on full display. In between the many takes for the video, myself and the late writer Neal Travis talked at length with the pair and they gladly posed for pictures. The single “Sailing” became a huge hit for Rod worldwide and over the years I have heard it sung by gatherings as diverse as gospel choirs to football crowds.

This image is available as a limited edition, fine art print signed and numbered by Michael Brennan. Click here to enquire

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