WITH more than 250million record sales under his belt, including ten No1 albums and 25 Top Ten hits, Rod Stewart is one of the most successful pop stars of our time.
However it wasn’t just musical accomplishments which led to him choo-choo-choosing to work with his latest collaborator Jools Holland — but his love of model railways.
The result of the partnership is Swing Fever, a toe-tapping 13-track album which includes new single Almost Like Being In Love, out today.
“Do you know about our railway fanaticism?” asks Rod, during an exclusive chat about the record.
“When we text each other, we talk about the model railroads then the music. It should be the other way around.
‘His voice is amazing’
“We’ve shown each other our collections. It is so much part of our lives. We go into our rooms with our layouts and our workshop and the whole world can bugger off.”
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Trains aside, Rod and Jools’ friendship flourished as they made Swing Fever — with Jools admitting he is a lifelong fan of Maggie May singer Rod’s music.
Jools says: “I’ve listened to Rod all my life because his voice is amazing.
“We met at a big party and we talked about model railways. And we shared this love of always looking for new music. On this record are songs I’d not heard. There are some beautiful ones that I didn’t know and Rod has reinvented.”
The pair recorded the album in a studio in London, with Jools’ band playing live on each track.
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Rod explains: “I tried this swing album out with someone else but it sounded too much like Frank Sinatra.
“Don’t get me wrong, Frank is a great singer. I wanted it to sound like Louis Prima and Chick Webb. That era which almost borders on rock ‘n’ roll.”
Jools adds: “Rod said to me, ‘We don’t want it to be too slick,’ and I said, ‘Well, you’ve come to exactly the right man’. The music is lively, it’s a celebration of joy.”
The album is out on February 23 but plans are uncertain for live shows.
Rod, who is on a break from his Las Vegas residency before resuming his set next summer, says: “Having Jools and Rod on the bill is a good ticket.
“But the record is going to be a difficult sell because it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but once you listen, you get hooked. There isn’t one track on it where you won’t want to get up and dance.”
So will we see Rod and Jools getting up for a jig to their new single during the festive season?
“I go up on stage every night but I don’t think you can call that dancing,” Rod laughs. “I just make it up as I go along.”
Jools adds: “My partner is a piano so I can’t really dance with it, although I do take it for a waltz.
“If we do play this record live, maybe I will get up and have a spin with Rod.”
Now that I would definitely pay to see.
Kendall’s flair for semi-bare
RUMOURS are swirling that Kendall Jenner has split from rapper Bad Bunny after nine months – and if that’s the case he will be kicking himself seeing her like this.
The reality star looked incredible at Sunday’s Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Annual Gala in Los Angeles, where she stood out in a semi-sheer bright red fabric gown.
The fancy bash has become a huge draw for stars, with big names including Leonardo DiCaprio, Selena Gomez and model Cara Delevingne all heading along.
Eva Longoria glistened in a strapless gown, while Bridgerton’s Phoebe Dynevor added more glitz in a black dress with silver detailing.
Also wowing fans were film stars Zoë Kravitz, Salma Hayek and Lupita Nyong’o and models Kaia Gerber and Hailey Bieber.
My invitation must have got lost in the post.
Red carpet outing
BILLIE EILISH has accused a US magazine of “outing” her by asking about her sexuality.
She was attending the Variety Hitmakers awards at the weekend when she was quizzed about comments in a cover story last month, in which she spoke about being attracted to men and women.
The Bad Guy singer said on the red carpet: “I didn’t realise people didn’t know.”
Lashing out on Instagram afterwards, she said: “Thanks, Variety, for my award – and also for outing me on a red carpet at 11am instead of talking to me about anything else that matters.
“I like boys and girls – leave me alone about it please. Literally, who cares?”
In the original magazine interview, Billie said: “I’ve never really felt like I could relate to girls very well.
“I love them so much. I love them as people. I’m attracted to them as people. I’m attracted to them for real.”
PADDY McGUINNESS is returning to comedy after the BBC axed Top Gear.
The actor and TV host will embark on his first stand-up tour since 2016, with 40 dates across the UK.
He said: “I’m looking forward to getting back in front of a live audience”, before adding: “There’s lots to laugh about.”
EMILY BLUNT has admitted she still jokingly “curses” Tom Cruise’s name over injuries she sustained while working alongside him a decade ago.
They starred opposite each other in the 2004 sci-fi action drama Edge Of Tomorrow, and the shoot saw her hurt her ribs and collarbones.
Speaking on the Awards Chatter podcast, Emily said: “I’d never done a big action movie and I’d really wanted to – to do something really physical. I think this was the deep end of action, and you know with Tom it’s going to be heightened.
“I feel like I still have injuries where I curse his name. But I adore him so much.”
Talking about the toll it took on her body, she continued: “The suits were 85lbs and they look really cool but they were very uncomfortable.
“I trained for a long time before the film and you take some falls on a movie like that, wearing a suit like that.
“I remember Tom saying to me, ‘I’ve never done an action movie this challenging’, which is saying something. But he was wonderful.”
FLORENCE PUGH faced her haters head on when she was struck by an object thrown during a Comic Con event.
The Oppenheimer actress was promoting her upcoming movie Dune: Part Two in Brazil on Sunday when she was pelted on the cheek by the mystery item while posing with co-stars including Timothee Chalamet.
It looked like a painful wallop and she was clearly shaken, which is completely understandable.
She has yet to speak about the incident.
The attack is the latest in a long line of similar moments this year, which has seen singers Harry Styles, Bebe Rexha and Kelsea Ballerini also get hit in the face by objects thrown by so-called fans.
I don’t understand what goes through people’s heads to make them think this is a good idea.
There are plenty of silly things that celebrities complain about that I have no sympathy for.
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But getting physically assaulted like this is just not on and is a real risk to their wellbeing – especially given the item appeared to narrowly miss Florence’s eye.
Hopefully the stupid perpetrator is found and made to pay the harshest consequences.