Saturday, April 26, 2014 | 2 a.m.
Note: A version of this story appears in the current issue of Las Vegas Sun sister publication Vegas Magazine.
Rod Stewart has sung the song for decades, “Some Guys Have All the Luck.”
It is not his song, in fact. It was penned by one Jeff Fortgang and first recorded by the Persuaders in 1973.
But Stewart covered “Some Guys Have All the Luck” 30 years ago, making it a top-10 hit.
The tune has also grown, over the decades, into something of a theme song.
“Yeah, it is, the way things have panned out,” says Stewart, returning to the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. “I’ve had a tremendous life. I’m so grateful for everything. I’ve had a wonderful career, I have a beautiful wife, eight wonderful children and a life that is still thriving.”
That’s the truth. Consider that at the time of this interview, the 69-year-old Stewart had just given up playing football, or what we call “soccer” in the states. And this is highly competitive, organized, league football, where score is kept and injuries are suffered.
“I’ve just retired, and I wouldn’t want to say I wanted to stop playing, but my knees did,” he says.
For decades, Stewart has taken to booting a couple dozen autographed soccer balls into the crowd at all of his performances. That stretch has become a popular segment in his Colosseum shows, and the tussle for these signed mementos has become part of Stewart lore.
“I’ve seen fights and blows, even between women, although I don’t encourage that,” says Stewart, who has been asked not to send the balls into the balcony level of the Colosseum. “It is extraordinary the lengths people would go to, to get a hold of a football, and I’ll see somebody in the audience that haven’t applauded all night, they just sit there with their hands in their pockets — you get that sort of thing you know. And, of course when the balls come they’re just up and jumping. I just look and I go, no chance mate, you’re not getting one.”
But the kicking is to remain part of the show. It’s a “must” moment.
“The show wouldn’t be the show if I stopped kicking out those footballs,” Stewart says. “It would be like not playing ‘Maggie May,’ you know.”
Stewart says in his upcoming run he might have more of a chance to spend extra time in Las Vegas. He has typically flown back to Los Angeles after his shows rather than spend the night, but is looking forward to checking in on other shows on the Strip.
“My wife, Penny, would love to do that,” he says, adding that it has been difficult to check out the Strip with his football commitments and also his two youngest kids. “One’s just coming up to 3 and one is 8. And if I wasn’t there, I’m thinking that there down to breakfast, ‘Where is dad? Where is dad?’ It would break my heart. But in saying that, we would like to arrange coming up one Saturday and one Sunday night, sure.”
The manner in which Stewart delivers a show has changed over the years. He’s far more conversational with the audience, showing more aplomb than he did as a rock star from a generation ago.
“I think I’m a much better entertainer and communicator than I was 30 years ago,” he says.
“As far as enjoying it, yes, I do enjoy it. These days I am very spontaneous, and that’s just how I talk to the audience in between songs. Of course, the way I sing songs, I am spontaneous and suddenly I realize that I’ve changed a song and singing a version that is slightly different from the original.”
And the fans do notice even the slightest change.
“It’s hard to describe how that happens, but the crowd will be singing along to the song — like ‘Maggie May’ — and they’ll be singing it right,” he says, “and I am singing it wrong.”
This is true even when he takes an extra pause in the tune that has become the song of his life.
“That song should have been written about me in the first place, a guy with all the luck, y’know?” Stewart says, chuckling.