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Interview With Parents of Elizabeth Smart, Rod Stewart

Aired November 3, 2002 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, it's Elizabeth Smart's birthday today. She may be turning 15 years old somewhere, but we still don't know where she is. Her June 5 kidnapping set off the summer of abducted children. And almost six months, Elizabeth's whereabouts remain unknown. Joining us to mark this most difficult of birthdays, her parents, Ed and Lois Smart. And then, Rod Stewart who's been stirring up the rock world since the 70's. And until you hear what he's got to say now about an incredible new album with that incredible voice. It's all next on LARRY KING WEEKEND.
It is November 3. We have taped this, by the way, on Friday evening for broadcast tonight. This is LARRY KING WEEKEND and this is Elizabeth Smart's 15th birthday. Her parents are in town.


KING: What brings you, Ed, to Los Angeles for this weekend?

ED SMART, FATHER OF ELIZABETH SMART: Well, we've had a chance to take the kids to Disneyland, which was one of Elizabeth's favorite places to go.

KING: So you went to -- how many kids are there now that you took?

E. SMART: Well, we brought five -- well, we brought four. Charles, our oldest, had a dance that he had to stay home for, so -- but we brought the rest of the kids.

KING: Hard, Lois?

LOIS SMART, ELIZABETH SMART'S MOTHER: Extremely hard. She needs to be with us. She needs to be with her family. And on her birthday, you know, a time that we would be celebrating her life and she's not here. And so, there is a huge void. But we also realize that our other children need...

KING: A life.

L. SMART: ... a life. And so, to remember and to celebrate happy times, we wanted to do this.

KING: What did you do on her 14th birthday?

E. SMART: You know she had a great time. We had just finished this big rec room that we had in the basement. There was -- the walls were all carpeted and she had oh, I think 20 to 25 of her friends over and just had a wonderful time.

L. SMART: Watching movies and eating food and...

KING: It was a party...

E. SMART: Yes.

L. SMART: Yes, I mean she had a great time. It was just a girl party and a lot of fun for her.

KING: What has -- is there anything to report in at all? I mean, you know, a story -- we're going to get into that -- it ran so -- and then other stories come and other children got abducted and this was the summer of abducted children. And then, we had the sniper and Elizabeth Smart is kind of now page 26.

E. SMART: Life goes on. You know I feel very encouraged. When Henry Lee came out, they weren't able to tell us a lot about what he recommended. But we have -- we know that they still have FBI and police agents working it -- on it every day. And I felt, you know, a couple of things that kind of were conclusive in my mind with Henry Lee coming out, was one, whoever took Elizabeth knew our house, you know, and...

KING: No doubt about that?

E. SMART: Yes, I mean he did that. And the other thing was that Henry Lee concluded that our police and our FBI are doing a terrific job. They're doing the best. And they're...

KING: That was all you could ask for, right?

E. SMART: Yes.

L. SMART: And it was a great piece of mind to know that...

E. SMART: You know we've had several people say, "Well, are you going to hire an investigator? Are you, you know, going to do this or that?" And you know the police allowing -- the police and the FBI allowing him to come in, you know, gave us great comfort that, you know, what are we going to gain by bringing a private investigator in if they're doing the job they're supposed to be doing, which they are.

KING: Well, one of the advantages, they say, of private investigators would be -- is that he or she would be solely devoted to working your case, whereas, the police have other matters. There are other crimes that are committed in Salt Lake and they can't put all efforts on one case.

L. SMART: I think there, though -- several are -- that are just on...

KING: Just assigned to...

L. SMART: Yes.

E. SMART: Yes, just working on our case.

L. SMART: Both FBI and the police.

KING: So when they come in in the morning, it's Elizabeth Smart, Elizabeth Smart.

L. SMART: Yes.

KING: So therefore, you're hopeful of what, resolution?

E. SMART: I am. I am hopeful that we are going to unravel -- I mean this whole case to me is just bizarre. I mean Richard Ricci dying, every -- it seems like every step we take, there's some other bizarre twist that comes up. You just -- I mean in my mind I haven't been able to come to an understanding of, you know, why this person took Elizabeth to begin with, you know, the scenarios of burglary, of kidnapping and whatever else out there. To me...

KING: What was the point of the -- they didn't burglarize and they didn't send a ransom note.

E. SMART: Right. And so, why and who. I just -- the fact that the person knew our house, you know, just shines brighter with Richard.

KING: Richard -- so you think Mr. Ricci was involved?

L. SMART: I think he had something to do with it.

KING: Or knowledge of it?

L. SMART: Yes.

KING: But not -- you don't think he acted alone and took her and killed her and...

L. SMART: Well, that's...

KING: ... then eventually died himself.

L. SMART: That I don't know, but I think there was someone there waiting for him to take him someplace when he dropped his Jeep back off. There was someone else that knew something.

KING: And he never said a word of anything, even knowing he was dying at the end?

E. SMART: Right, no, nothing. Nothing was ever said. And you know, the day we were in court with him, he didn't. It was frustrating to us because we went in -- that going to court was over the theft that he had committed.

KING: Right.

E. SMART: Well, there was no question about those. There was absolutely no question. It was a slam-dunk deal so for it to be continued for discovery, I mean, what are you going to discover? There wasn't anything. And so, we felt that if Richard was going to come forward, he would have come forward and that -- you know, Richard was not going to give us any help.

L. SMART: And it was that night then that he was...

KING: You had said on this show you liked him.

L. SMART: I did.

KING: You liked him even with the burglaries. You liked even with the suspicion. There was something about him that you liked.

L. SMART: Well...

E. SMART: We never knew about that side of him. We never knew about that side of him.

L. SMART: And when he came back saying that "I did not steal that bracelet," you know, we are believing people. You know that's OK. Well, he's been with us for a while and why would he do that?

KING: Do you play with scenarios in your own mind?

E. SMART: You just sit there trying to think of what other reasons why or you know what could they think?

L. SMART: Why Elizabeth?

KING: I want to ask you about the buttons and what you think of this movement of other people who have become activists and whether you are now activists in the missing child concept.

Our guests are Ed and Lois Smart if you just joined us. This is a special edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND. Today is Elizabeth's 15th birthday. Later, Rod Stewart will join us. Dan Rather tomorrow night for a special election eve show. Don't go away.


KING: One of the more -- this is something people say more and more on the street -- why have we never heard from the young daughter who was there and two, someone came and did a drawing based on what she told them he, the apprehender, looked like. The purpose in every criminal investigation I've ever asked questions about, the drawing is to show the public the drawing so they can look for the person. So how do we respond?

E. SMART: They -- I think Jeannie Boiling (ph) said it the best. She said based on our situation...

KING: She is who now?

E. SMART: Jeannie Boiling (ph), she is the sketch artist -- that she felt that the police were handling everything the best that it could be handled. KING: But you're a smart guy. Didn't you say, "Wait a minute, you got a picture of someone. It could be the suspect." You're not going to show that picture so that people could help find the suspect?

E. SMART: Well, you know, I don't know. Maybe at some point that will come out, but I think that at the moment, they feel that it's best unproduced.

KING: Has that answer satisfied you, Lois?

L. SMART: You know, actually, we have not even seen it. We are not privy to that.

KING: Now why would that picture -- I can't think of one reason it would be hidden.

E. SMART: I don't know either except that they have their reasons for it. And hopefully, maybe at some point, we'll hear.

KING: And how about the younger sister coming forth somewhere...

L. SMART: You know I think...

KING: ... to tell about the night?

L. SMART: ... it's been very, very dramatic for her. And to have to keep reliving it over and over -- I mean she was nine years old when that happened. If it's -- it was devastating to her. And I'm sure...

KING: How is she doing?

L. SMART: Every night when she -- you know she seems fine. And with the structure of going back to school and support of friends and teachers and neighbors, you know, she's moving ahead. But I don't know what's in her mind when she goes to bed every night and knows that her sister is not there.

E. SMART: I mean...

L. SMART: It's hard.

E. SMART: She says, "Dad" -- I mean I go in and tuck her in and talk to her a little bit every night. And so, she, you know, will bring up what she wants to bring up, whether it's, you know, what happened at school with her friends or you know, how school is going or her dog or whatever. But...

L. SMART: And that's been a great comfort to her, her dog.

E. SMART: And she has...

KING: Of course, she has that trauma. That has to be a...

L. SMART: Absolutely. E. SMART: Well, you know, we -- as a family, we went through -- one time, we went as a family and to see a family therapist. And that night, they came home -- Mary Catherine says, "Dad, do I have to -- do I have to talk? I just -- I hate talking about it. I just hate it." And as we -- Lois and I had talked with some counselors and basically they said, "You know you are going to be her best therapist. And you know, you'll be able to just watch for the signs if there are issues there."

KING: How about rumors in Salt Lake that family may have been involved in this?

E. SMART: You know...

KING: Family knew the house.

E. SMART: Certainly, family knew the house.

L. SMART: There are rumors.

E. SMART: And there are rumors, but...

KING: How do you deal with that?

E. SMART: There -- in our mind, it's...

KING: I'm talking about family meaning uncles, aunts...

E. SMART: Right, right, right. You know to -- I mean you've had a chance to meet our family, Larry.

KING: At the house.

E. SMART: Yes, you've been there. And there isn't a question in our mind. None of them are involved.

L. SMART: Responsible for it.

E. SMART: You know it is not...

L. SMART: They didn't know anything.

E. SMART: It is not the family.

KING: So then if we're coming down two plus two equals four...

E. SMART: Right.

KING: ... this had to be someone who had some motive involved and the fear has to be that it was sexual, right? It was -- well, what kind of motive would there be?

E. SMART: I don't know. I -- whether it ended up being a ransom that did go bad, I mean because there was so much media attention there or what or some person having a fixation on Elizabeth. You know those are the only type scenarios. But I mean we had -- we have been working for the past few years getting the house ready and so, the people that -- to put it on the market to sell and -- so the people that really -- we had in there more than anyone was workers. I mean those were, to me, the greatest likelihood of knowing where people were in the house, what the issues are.

KING: Was there ever a time you felt, Lois, we're close to something here?

L. SMART: Well, certainly. I mean I think -- well, many times. You know when they call up and they say, "Well, you know, we're working on this." And of course...

KING: It gets you optimistic.

L. SMART: Absolutely, yes.

KING: So it's constantly -- for five months of disappointments?

L. SMART: Yes.

KING: You too?

E. SMART: Yes, I mean I remember one night when my father came in and he said, "Well, we think we know who it is." And you know, Mary or Elizabeth and Mary Catherine were very much involved in the harp community and there had been a very suspicious person that, I think -- initially, there was a sketch put out of this person.

L. SMART: And I think that's partly to do -- why we don't do the sketches again because I think they're damaging to people.

KING: Or they'll (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the case.

L. SMART: Well, there was a sketch put out...

E. SMART: And he was a very suspicious person...

L. SMART: He had nothing to do with it though.

E. SMART: ... that apparently he had been in the hospital for an oral surgery and he was -- for something and was incapacitated supposedly.

KING: We'll be back with some more moments with Ed and Lois Smart. By the way, the hotlines are still active, 1-800-932-0190, 1- 801-799-3000. Still awards.

E. SMART: Absolutely.

KING: We'll be right back. Don't go away.


KING: Are you now activists? I notice you're wearing buttons, "Pray For Me," pictures of Elizabeth. Are you now -- consider yourself activists in the child missing movements? E. SMART: You know we are certainly pushing for the AMBER Alert to go through. In fact, as we -- we're getting ready to come on the show, the -- your make-up artist was telling me how -- for Halloween, she went out and dressed up and called herself the AMBER Alert. And I thought, you know, this is what we need. We need people to know about the AMBER Alert.

KING: You favor a national AMBER Alert system I gather?

E. SMART: Absolutely.

L. SMART: Yes.

KING: Congress to pass that?

E. SMART: It saves lives. It -- there is no question. Two weeks ago in Ohio, the AMBER Alert was put into effect. Within three or four days, a child was saved. How many right now -- I think at the time Elizabeth was abducted, there were 16 states that had the AMBER Alert. We now have 26. So there are still 24 out there that do not have it.

KING: Do you know anyone that doesn't favor it?

L. SMART: No. I think they all do.

E. SMART: I thought -- I was sorely disappointed a couple of weeks ago when the House of Representatives tried to bring it to the floor on a unanimous consent. And one of the House leadership said no.

KING: Any reason?

E. SMART: They want their big bill to go through with the Senate. And I mean I...

KING: The AMBER Alert isn't a priority.

E. SMART: AMBER is in that bill.

L. SMART: Yes.

E. SMART: And -- but...

L. SMART: It's that other bill too.

E. SMART: Yes, they're -- they have what's called the Omnibus Child Prevention Act. It's a number of wonderful bills in it, but this has got to go through.

KING: So you support people like John Walsh...

E. SMART: Absolutely.

L. SMART: Yes.

KING: ... Mr. Klaas and others who do what they do?

E. SMART: You bet.

KING: You can understand why they do it?

E. SMART: I can understand what they do. But that is not -- although I will never be, you know, a passive activist again in my life, I will not be -- I don't picture myself as being John Walsh or...

KING: It's not in your nature.

E. SMART: Well, I don't know if it's the nature so much. But I see a -- see we've got five other children and I've got to -- you know I want to be there. I want to be...

L. SMART: We need to be a family.

E. SMART: ... the father that we need to. And I just think that it's so important to be involved, but to also be involved with your family and...

KING: Are people always asking you about Elizabeth?

L. SMART: Yes, always.

KING: I mean on the street, you...

L. SMART: Yes.

KING: Do you have some sort of normalcy now?

L. SMART: More so, but I mean even at Disneyland, people recognized us and so, "Oh, we're sorry. We're praying for you" and things like that.

KING: Do you go to work every day, Ed?

E. SMART: I work every day.

KING: What do you do?

E. SMART: I'm in the mortgage business and have a small real estate company.

KING: OK. And you keep active, does that help?

E. SMART: I have -- you know I'm busier than I've ever been. So I'm...

KING: It's helpful, right?

E. SMART: It is. It is helpful. It is helpful. And you know all of these people, of course...

KING: What doesn't happen anymore, one would guess, is you don't jump when the phone rings anymore now, right?

L. SMART: No, we don't jump, but...

E. SMART: You know when we hear the police on the phone, we're, you know, anxious to...

L. SMART: Your heart takes a leap.

E. SMART: ... that something might have come forward.

KING: Doorbell rings, you don't...




KING: Christmas is coming, a hopeful time of year and I know you're both very religious, deeply believing people in a very religious city. And do you think there's a -- someone up there going to help you?

E. SMART: We know...

L. SMART: We know he does.

E. SMART: We know that he's out there helping us now.

KING: Don't get mad at him?

E. SMART: No, no. You know one thing that we strongly believe is that everyone here on earth -- and they have their free agency to do what they may whether that's good or whether that's bad -- and there is just -- you know people out there make their choices and unfortunately, it affects other people. And -- but you know, I think that the Lord rarely steps in to take away someone's agency. And even though all of these things are so horrible, you know, we're here on earth to do what we're going to do and make the choices we're going to choose. And it's just something that -- it's unfortunate that people make the choices they do. But you know...

L. SMART: We know we'll see her again whether in this life or the hereafter. We know we will see her again.

KING: And that's a strong Mormon belief, right? You belief that she -- if she has passed on...

L. SMART: Yes.

KING: ... if...

L. SMART: If she has.

KING: ... she is somewhere.

L. SMART: Yes.

E. SMART: And that's one thing that has given us both great comfort is that if she is gone, you know, she is there with her loved ones.

L. SMART: And we are her parents and that will never change. I mean we are her parents and she is our daughter and we can be a family.

KING: Are you able to laugh?

E. SMART: I -- yes, I do.

KING: At Disneyland, did you have some laughs with the kids? Funny things always happen at Disneyland. So you are able?

E. SMART: We are. We are able to laugh.

KING: It's very important.

E. SMART: It is important to be able to go on.

L. SMART: It's important for the other children. We can't just dwell on Elizabeth and make the house a shrine to Elizabeth and everything we do be revolved around Elizabeth.

KING: Tell your congressman about AMBER Alert. Take down our numbers here -- any information. 800-932-0190, 801-799-3000. Wouldn't this be a great holiday gift...

L. SMART: It would be wonderful.

KING: ... for Elizabeth to come home?

L. SMART: Thank you.

E. SMART: Thanks, Larry.

KING: Happy birthday, Elizabeth. Elizabeth Smart is 15 today.

Rod Stewart is next. Tomorrow night, Dan Rather with an election night special night preview. And then, on election night, we'll have our whole crew down in Atlanta. We'll be here at our desk and we'll -- and our role on election night will be interviewing various people throughout the night with comments as election results come in with CNN's of course alert top coverage.

Rod Stewart is next. We thank the Smarts. We'll be right back.


KING: Welcome back to more of LARRY KING WEEKEND on this special edition for this Sunday night. Rod Stewart now joins us. The legendary rock and roll artist who has only sold 120 million albums give or take one or two. He's a member of the Rock and roll Hall of Fame. His new album, "It Had To Be You: The Great American Songbook" is number four on the charts. It's a terrific album and he's going to a couple of songs from it later.

But you didn't expect this to do this?

ROD STEWART, MUSICIAN: No, not in a million years.

KING: Of course, it's such a departure for you.

STEWART: Yes, it was a real risk. It was a risk for Jay Records and Clive Davis too.

KING: How did it -- how did it -- give me the genesis.

STEWART: Well, we started -- I've been wanting to do this for about 20 odd years because I've also loved these songs. I would grow up with them and my parents played them. My brothers and sisters played them, so...

KING: You've heard "It Had To Be You" and "These Foolish Things" and "Moon Glow" all your life.

STEWART: Yes, yes, so it was just plucking up the courage to do it.

KING: And it took courage, why? You could sing.

STEWART: Well, it could of -- it's not the sort of the stuff that's being played on the radio. It could have fallen flat on its face. It's just -- we've done it through doing TV. Thank goodness because I don't think anybody on the radio is playing it.

KING: So you're not getting airplay?

STEWART: As far as I know, Larry.

KING: But somebody is listening and they've got a great campaign behind it. Obviously, the company, when they saw it was doing well, took off with it.


KING: What was it like to sing them?

STEWART: Oh, it was tremendous. I mean they just -- I mean if you think of yourself as a bit of a singer, you've got to try and sing these things because there's just so much soul you can put into them, you know? They're just -- they're so different -- they don't -- they're not built around the small frame that rock and roll is built around, the same four or five chords. These are just brilliant to sing.

KING: So when you tour now, what part of the act will this include if at all?

STEWART: If at all? Good point there, Larry. What we will do is -- you know if I do go out on tour -- is probably do an hour of this stuff and an hour of the other stuff that's been so kind to me over the years.

KING: Yes, you're not kidding. What has it been like to be that recognized all this time? I mean it happened to you early, right? You were how old the first hit?

STEWART: Well, relatively, compared to these days, I was 26.

KING: That's old.

STEWART: Yes, it is. I started when I was 19 and I sung for seven years in a...

KING: In Dublin?

STEWART: I was all over England, all over Great Britain, never went outside Great Britain. But I did what I call my apprenticeship, you know, just playing -- singing and playing every night in pubs and clubs. And there are no bands that do that now.

KING: What turned it for you?

STEWART: A song called "Margaret May" in 1971, the album called "Every Picture Tells A Story." And there was actually a B-side. The A-side was "Reasons To Believe" and a disc jockey in Cleveland turned it over and played it. So if he hadn't done that, I wouldn't be sitting here today.

KING: And that got you to the United States?

STEWART: Yes, yes.

KING: And you now live here, right?

STEWART: I do and I love it.

KING: And of all the hits you've had and you've had so many, selectivity, take me to that part that fascinates me a lot about singers, picking the songs they choose to do. Is there a method?

STEWART: Well, for me -- I can only talk for me. It's really lyrical content, you know. It's -- the lyrics are going to good otherwise I can't touch it. And that's why the songs on this album are just brilliant because they're lyrically beautiful. I mean they're so well crafted, but definitely lyrics and the words.

KING: And -- funny. Sinatra used to say, "The lyrics come first and the music second."


KING: It's the lyrics -- if it tells a story, that's what I want to do first...

STEWART: Absolutely.

KING: ... and then, the rest comes. STEWART: Yes.

KING: OK, let's discuss other aspects of the Rod Stewart life. You play soccer?

STEWART: Yes, that's...

KING: You still play soccer?

STEWART: I still play on the Sunday mornings and do some training on Wednesday. And that's what I did for a living when I was about 16 --15 or 16.

KING: And you may -- you were a professional soccer player?

STEWART: Yes, not for very long. It was about the time I went into the music business.

KING: Why do you think Americans love to play it, but aren't fans of it?

STEWART: Well...

KING: All American kids play it.

STEWART: Yes, I think it's pretty obvious. You've got other sports. You've got baseball. You've got hockey and you've got your American football. So there's not really room for it. But it is a shame because I mean the rest of us flew over Los Angeles way back in the early 70's. You know there was never a soccer field anywhere. But nowadays, you come into an LAX and they're everywhere. So the game is definitely growing.

KING: When you see American football...

STEWART: Field football.

KING: Yes, is it boring to you...


KING: ... because a lot of -- yes, when we see soccer, they're just kicking a ball around a field, but I've had soccer fans say, "What do they -- do they go into a huddle and the clock is still running," right?

STEWART: Yes, we can't work it out. You've got to remember your American team, the U.S. Team, did so well in the World Cup. They got to the quarterfinals...

KING: Yes, they're getting better and better.

STEWART: ... which is a lot better than a lot of great European teams did.

KING: How serious do you take it? STEWART: Very serious. You want to see my legs? There are bruises and cuts all over them.

KING: Are you a center man?

STEWART: A center man?

KING: Yes, what do they call it...

STEWART: Judge of England. No, I play in the defense, in the defense.

KING: Now, when will you be knighted? Why have you not joined -- I mean come on. They've done it to the others. Don't you think you're due for a knighthood?

STEWART: It really has never entered my mind. He's lying. I mean I wouldn't mind. I wouldn't turn it down. I think it's a wonderful honor. It's a pat on the head for the body of work that you've done over the years.

KING: Do you know how one gets it?


STEWART: I've got no idea, but I would imagine a quiet 30,000 Britons...


STEWART: No, I'm kidding. I'm kidding.

KING: That's how you don't get it, Rod. That's -- becoming a star...


KING: ... what was that -- were you a poor kid? I mean...

STEWART: Very poor, yes.

KING: Very poor?


KING: So you hang around singing in all these clubs and suddenly, you hit it. What was that like because other rock stars have had a very difficult time dealing with fame? How'd you do it?

STEWART: I was -- you know, I was lucky because I had a big family around me -- two brothers and two sisters who were older than me. So I was the baby. So they really kept me in line. You know I never really have been a drug person. You know I might drink a little bit too much sometimes, but you know, they've -- the family kept...

KING: So you never got into the bad side of it? STEWART: No. I mean I've never been a druggie person. I've always been told to...

KING: How about though -- how about dealing with recognition?

STEWART: I don't mind it. You know I've always said as long as you're --if you're out in the public, then you're fair game. And as long as people -- the most important thing is people are well mannered.

KING: That's -- if they're well mannered...

STEWART: If they're well mannered, then I'll do anything within reason.

KING: Our guest is the legendary star, Rod Stewart, who's in the top of his career and turns out a pop album, "It Had To Be You: The Great American Songbook." And it is that. It is number four. It contains "You Go To My Head," "They Can't Take That Away From Me," "The Way You Look Tonight" -- he's going to sing that later -- "It Had To Be You," of course, "That Old Feeling," "These Foolish Things" -- he'll sing that too -- "The Nearness of You," "I'll Be Seeing You," "We'll Be Together Again," "For All We Know," "That's All." I've got to add -- we'll ask him in a minute whether there'll be a follow-up. Don't go away.




KING: We're back with Rod Stewart. So the obvious, is there going to be "It Had To Be You II?"

STEWART: It could well be. You know if this had gone down the toilet like everybody thought it was going to do, I was going to do an R&B album, bold R&B songs. So I may do that instead. But I'll talk to Clive. I'll probably do another one.

KING: You have a -- your voice is not the every day voice. It's not a -- it's not a tenor. What is the Rod -- how would you describe your voice?

STEWART: Oh, it's been described so many ways. What -- I got a bit of a cold right now, that's why it's really husky. But it's been described as, you know, like a bottle of whiskey going through a cement mixer. It's had some -- it's just developed over the years. I mean I just -- when I was kid, I just wanted to sound black. I wanted to sound like Sam Cook.


KING: Yes.

STEWART: And it turned out like this. KING: Did you sing early? Were you singing as a young teen?

STEWART: No, all the family was singers, but I didn't sing until my dad bought me a guitar for no apparent reason. You know he said -- he said, "I think this and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) it" and bought me a guitar.

KING: Really, what did he do?

STEWART: He was a builder, a builder and a plumber.

KING: And you liked the guitar? Did you take to it naturally?

STEWART: Yes, I taught myself. The only thing was, you know, I used to have walk for about two miles to get it tuned because you only got out -- and the only tuner lived two miles away. So when some of the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) was out tuning it.

But you know, the first few songs I wrote myself, you know, were guitar like, "You're In My Heart." So I played it, you know, "Tonight's the Night" on guitar.

KING: Are there certain songs you're sick of?

STEWART: Not really. I sometimes get tired of singing "Do You Think I'm Sexy" because it's becoming, you know, a foolish song, you know, especially at my age to sing. But you know the audience love it and I'm here to please the audience, so I do it every night. But it's probably the one I'm most tired of. All the others are gems even though I say it myself.

KING: You know -- by the way, were you good at predicting them? By that, I mean, were you good at saying, "This one is going to make it?"

STEWART: No, not at all. Not at all. If I could do that, I -- if I could that, Larry, I'll do it every time and I'll predict number one hits.

KING: So you've been surprised?

STEWART: Oh yes, especially by this one.

KING: The new one may be the most surprising in your career?

STEWART: Absolutely, yes, because no one thought it was going to do any good.

KING: Then why did they record it?

STEWART: They must be mad. Well, it started out -- it started out just as a labor of love with me and Richard Perry, who's the co- producer. We just did it, you know, on a Saturday night. We had nothing to do. We laid a couple of tracks down, get drunk and then, a couple of months later, do another couple of tracks. And then, Clive Davis came along and he loved it so much. Yes. KING: You're so excited to be with Clive?

STEWART: Oh, isn't he? Yes.

KING: Because Rod Stewart -- we have the Larry King Cardiac Foundation and Rod is performing on January 18 for us. For which, I thank you. And Clive Davis came over to me at the Carousel of Hope dinner the other night -- and you were there -- and he said to me, "Is this album something? Is this it? Is this unbelievable?" So he -- and maybe he didn't have faith, but he sure reaped in the rewards of it.

STEWART: Yes, he did actually have faith in it even when I didn't. You know, I said, "Well, I feel like a traitor to rock and roll." And he said, "Oh, don't worry. It's all music. It's all connected." And he's been very brave.

KING: The queen's jubilee, was that fun?

STEWART: Oh, it was just tremendous. It really was because -- now that was another thing everybody thought was going to be a big flop and it wasn't. But yes, it was really good to be inside Buckingham Palace and meet all the royal family. It was tremendous.

KING: What -- in your career, what in all of this did the Beatles mean? Were they the forerunner of all of it?

STEWART: Yes, of course, they are. I was never really a great Beatles fan. I was always listening to the Lightening Hopkins and you know, and John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters. But you know, of course...

KING: So you were more of the blues then?

STEWART: Yes, yes, I always used to go to see the Rolling Stones play, you know, when they used to play in front of 10 or 12 people. So you know this is what people ask me now because my best mate's in the Stones. He plays guitar. And they say, "Are you going to see the Stones tonight?" You know, and I go, "It's opening night and he's 63. In don't see him again."

KING: Well, it must wild though to see these kids come up from where they came up from, to have made it as they have made it...


KING: ... from your country. Why England, do you think?

STEWART: You know I've got no idea. Yes, it's weird because all we were doing really, especially when I was in a band called The Jeff Beck Group and all we were doing was selling, you know, American music back to the Americans. And it was extraordinary. You know we were playing Chicago.

Jeff Beck is one of the most brilliant guitar players ever and I was in his band called the Jeff Beck Group. KING: Is he still living?

STEWART: Oh, yes. Jeff's just a couple of years older than me.

KING: Still playing?

STEWART: Yes, he is tremendous, a great guitar player.

KING: And California is home. How are the children?

STEWART: They're all fabulous. Thank you, Larry.

KING: They run in what age group?

STEWART: The oldest is 23 and then, we've got 22. Then we've got 15, 10 and 9.

KING: What does the -- does anyone want to be a musician?

STEWART: Yes, the 15-year-old, Roomy (ph), she wants to be a musician, but she's -- but she has got some voice. She's fabulous. I'm going to make her finish school because she wants to drop out -- make her finish school first and then, she can take it up.

KING: Have you gotten used to tabloids writing about you or is the -- how do you handle it?

STEWART: Well, yes, you sort of get used it. I mean it's terrible in Britain. I mean they really....

KING: They're worse there, right?

STEWART: Oh, worse, yes. They love sensationalism. You know it's almost out of hand. But I'm sort of used to it now.

KING: And when will you concert again? When do you -- are you going to tour next year?

STEWART: In about 10 minutes, Larry.

KING: Are you going to go out again next year?

STEWART: Yes, later, yes. Yes, there's a demand for this sort of music. And I don't know how I'm going to handle it after all these years, jumping about.

KING: You should start at Carnegie Hall.

STEWART: Oh, that would be wonderful.

KING: What an ideal way to begin it.

STEWART: All my idols have sung there, Sam Cook, Billy Holiday and...

KING: You're a great guy and a tremendous talent. STEWART: Thank you.

KING: The album is Rod Stewart's "It Had To Be You: The Great American Songbook." It's number four. When we come back, Rod will give you two songs from it, so don't go away.



KING: And we close tonight's special edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND with two songs by a brilliant artist, one of our favorite people and what an album! Here's Rod Stewart.


STEWART: The next song, "The Way You Look Tonight," I'd like to dedicate to Larry's wife, Shaun. Apparently, it's her favorite song. So this one, "The Way You Look Tonight," take it away band.



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