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It Had To Be You: The Great American Songbook Album reviews.

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It Had To Be You: The Great American Songbook

Rod Stewart It Had To Be You: The Great American Songbook

Release Date: 10.15.02
Record label: j-records
Genre(s): Classical, Jazz

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It Had To Be Him
by: peter naldrett


After Robbie Williams wowed fans and critics with his number one crooning album last Christmas, it was inevitable that somebody would take a leaf out of that book this year.

And so step forward Rod Stewart, ageing rocker with an emphatic history and a longing to claw back some of his former glories. The marketing gurus have so blatantly tried to match the Williams formula that probably the only different between the two projects is that Stewart will sell only a fraction of the albums that Williams managed to. Even the sleeves of the CDs are remarkably similar. Stewart wears a cheeky smile to give a relaxed and informal impression with the top buttons of his shirt undone and his tie hanging untied around his neck. Inside, other shots show Stewart hanging around old-fashioned microphones in the same way that Williams did 12 months earlier. But make no mistake, this is no Swing When You’re Winning. Firstly, the choice of songs is not as impressive and embrace the pre-war musical classics of America rather than the crooning classics Williams favoured. But despite the differing musical styles, the basic theme is still the same and simply begs the comparison.

It Had To Be You features some glorious music and the piano, cello and clarinet stand out in a different dimension to Stewart’s gravelly voice. And this is really the heart of this album’s failing. Stewart, who has a reputation built on his passion for rock and his love life, is just not suited to this gentile, reflective and explorative album. Songs such as "It Had To Be You," "That Old Feeling," "Every Time We Say Goodbye" and "We’ll Be Together Again" all get this unusual treatment from the Lifetime Achievement Ivor Novello winner.

The Scottish football fan needs to be in the foreground if he is to be fully appreciated but this is a full CD of background music. Lovers of this style of music may be able to stomach it, and Rod’s fans might be interested in it. But this idea really shouldn’t have been conceived in the first place. It’s wrong. 14-Nov-2002 3:00 PM