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It Had to Be You... The Great American Songbook

4.0 out of 5 stars 460 customer reviews

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It Had To Be You... The Great A

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Rod Stewart's mellowing years have neatly coincided with a commitment to smart ballad choices and a generally warmer musical persona. Rod the Mod liberated at last? Like many a pop singer, Stewart returns here to what's become generally known as the Great American Songbook, that evergreen body of mid-20th century songcraft that continues to inspire singers across oceans and generations. It's said that Stewart has been vocalizing many of these songs in private for years, and given the warm, human scale of most of the performances here, it's not hard to believe. Producer Phil Ramone's spare, unobtrusive arrangements inspire the singer to some of his most subtle and rewarding performances in years. Stewart's slightly weary vocal tack handsomely suggests the smoke, booze, and aching heart that lie at the best of these songs. Such back-to-the-future efforts can often sound like a last career gasp; here, they seem a refreshing breath of fresh air. --Jerry McCulley
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 22, 2002)
  • Original Release Date: October 22, 2002
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • Run Time: 49 minutes
  • ASIN: B00006JL4J
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (460 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,199 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Initially, I cringed when I first learned Rod Stewart was to release a CD of "standards". How could Rock-n-Roll's most unique voice opt for this particular venue? Rod is a rocker, not a Sinatra or a Bennett! Surely it would be a travesty for rock, as well as a slap in the face to all the legendary performers who had originally introduced these timeless standards. Admittedly, as a lover of both genres, I was skeptical; now, I'm happy to say I was wrong. In retrospect, it is only appropriate that he now explore this type of music as an artist.
Over a career that spans almost 40 years, Rod has sang rock, blues, R&B, soul, ballads, pop and most recently, hip-hop. Now we are offered Rod Stewart as crooner. The transition has been a long time coming. After hearing "Songbook", one has to admit it is also long overdue. Originally, some, like myself, may be erroneously tempted to confine Rod to a specific genre. Unfortunately, when one often thinks of Stewart, visions of the "rock star"...the loud clothes, spiked hair and raucous onstage antics immediately come to mind. In fact, it is these very perceptions that have overshadowed his career and misled so many, particularly Stewart's critics over the years. The image has for so long obscured Rod's true talent, his uniquely amazing voice, which has always been his greatest asset.
On "The Great American Songbook", it's ALL about the voice. Rod Stewart's voice is now truly showcased as never before. The familiar raspiness is still there, yet refined, mature and smooth as silk. When listening to this new release, one would almost think that these songs were originally written with Rod in mind. His delivery is passionately sincere and hauntingly valid.
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By A Customer on December 14, 2002
Format: Audio CD
The sound of this cd is, in my opinion, unmatched by anything else thats been recently released. The music world is now filled with commercially driven songs with meaningless lyrics that all sound the same. I greatly admire Rod Stewart for finally making this album of classic songs. Despite what the critics (whom are only worried about being edgy and cool) say, this album is top-notch if you like this style of music and you like Rod Stewart. The sounds of the orchestra are wonderful. The sax and trumpet solos, the standing bass....pretty much all of it. I don't normally listen to music from the mid 1900's, but I've always respected the quality and sincerity of it. I'm very thankful that I decided to pick up this cd, because its quickly become one of my all-time favorites. When I can't take any more of the radio and I need a change of pace, I play this cd and relax. I can only describe the sound of this album as "romantic." That's really the best word to use. And I don't mean that in a soppy, exaggerated way. It makes me think of movies from the 50's and people dancing - in an era that had a lot more character and substance than the one which we currently live. I highly recommend this cd!
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Format: Audio CD
When I purchased this cd, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I wasn't at all disappointed. Rod's voice goes with these classic songs perfectly and the music is extremely soothing and relaxing, while at the same time managing to be both sad and cheery, evoking thoughts of a past era. In the inside of the cd cover, you'll read that Rod has used most of these songs to warm up his voice at concerts for years. He grew up with these songs and has a great love for them, and his passion shows through clearly. While I've always enjoyed Rod Stewart's music, I've never had more respect for his vocal talent than I do now after listing to this cd.
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By A Customer on November 7, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I do a lot of driving. I just slide the The Great American Songbook into the CD player, and just relax. If I play it much more I am afraid I will wear the CD out. This is a smooth CD, if you are looking for Sinatra, this will not do for you. If you like Rod Stewart,don't walk, run and get this CD, and lay back and relax. I just wish all the "rockers" could hear what beautiful music really can be at its best.
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By MOVIE MAVEN on October 24, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This is an absolutely wonderful album of standard, classic songs from The Great American Songbook performed by a guy one would hardly have thought of in the same breath as Sinatra, Clooney, Connick, et al.
Rod Stewart has obviously been strongly influenced by Tony Bennett and the result is terrific. The orchestrations serve Stewart and his "guests" especially Arturo Sandoval in a gorgeous version of "Moonglow." Rodgers and Hart's "Where Or When" is also a particularly appealing cut.
Stewart respects all these songs, never condescends to them and yet, finds his own way and with his raspy baritone puts a new spin on them. This CD is a surprising, happy treat.
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Format: Audio CD
Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of Rod Stewart and was waiting at the door on the morning of 10-22-02 to get my hands on his new CD. However, my initial reaction was less than enthusiastic. But once I played it again I realized my rush to judement was unwarrented. Rod's voice is perfert for these sentimental loves longs. He sings them with style, ease and confidence. Now I wake up in the morning with the melodies and Rod's incredible voice playing in my head. Don't make a snap decision. Listen to this romantic collection with an open mind and a glass of wine. I think it will quickly become one of your favorite CD's for those quiet times when you want to relax and enjoy beautiful songs sung by a great performer.
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