may have began his career as a respected singer, yet that respect eroded as he got older, as he became more concerned with stardom than music. While he has recorded some terrible albums -- and he would admit that freely -- Stewart
was once rock & roll's best interpretive singer as well as an accomplished songwriter, creating a raw combination of folk, rock, blues, and country that sounded like no other folk-rock or country-rock. Instead of finding the folk in rock, he found how folk rocked like hell on its own. After Stewart
became successful, he began to lose the rootsier elements of his music, yet he remained a superb singer, even as he abandoned his own artistic path in favor of following pop trends. Stewart
began his musical career after spending some time as an apprentice with the Brentford Football Club, touring Europe with folksinger Wizz Jones
in the early '60s; during this time he was deported from Spain for vagrancy. When he returned to England in 1963, he joined the Birmingham-based R&B group Jimmy Powell & the Five Dimensions as a vocalist and harmonica player. The band toured the U.K. and recorded one single for Pye Records that featured Stewart
on blues harp.
After moving back to London, he joined Long John Baldry
's band, the Hoochie Coochie Men. The group recorded a single in 1964, "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl," that failed to chart, and soon afterward the group evolved into Steampacket
. During the summer of ...