Amy Mantis
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Bruno Mars and Rod Stewart

September 16, 2013

Bruno Mars is more like Rod Stewart than almost any other artist he’s compared to.  For starters, they both have a love of leopard print and shiny shoes.  But goes deeper than that.

Listen to Bruno Mars and then listen to Rod Stewart.  And I’m not talking songbook era Rod Stewart.  No one likes him.  I’m talking early Rod.  Gasoline Alley, Every Picture Tells A Story, Jeff Beck Group, the Faces.  Even songs like “Young Turks” or everyone’s favorite, the bedroom classic, “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” Bruno channels Rod.

We have the rasp.  The raw, sexy raspy voice that people heard from the radio via Rod’s hits.  Rod’s voice is simultaneously loose, smooth, rough, and intriguing.  A lot of people I know don’t like Rod because of his voice.  A lot of people I know love him because of his voice.  Same with Bruno.  Bruno’s voice isn’t as noticeably rough as Rod’s, but if you really listen to him, you can hear it.  It’s there.  He doesn’t expose it the way Rod does because his tracks don’t really allow for it.  Imagine Bruno Mars singing “Moonshine” the way Rod sings “Every Picture Tells A Story” (those are probably my two favorite songs by those guys).  Granted they’re different songs, but Rod could tone it down more easily than Bruno could have toned it up on the rasp factor.  It’s more of a time thing than anything.  If Bruno Mars were around in the 70s, he would have sounded so much like Rod Stewart.  He’d have been the American Rod Stewart.

They’re both adored by women.  I personally love both.  I love 70s Rod more than present-day Rod in terms of looks, but that’s to be expected. They both have sex appeal and charisma.  Guys hate Bruno Mars because girls like him.  Guys hate(d) Rod Stewart because girls like(d) him.  It’s a classic scenario.  They’re both kind of skinny guys too which never helps with getting in good with the boys.  But I think Rod has a leg up with this.  He’s British, and they’re almost all skinny as far as rock stars go.

I’ve seen both Rod and Bruno live.  Rod has his band all dressed the same, as does Bruno.  I know - a thousand other guys did that.  And they did, but it’s another similarity.

Their wardrobe.  Bruno could have literally gone to Rod’s house and asked for some of his clothes based on what I’ve seen of both.  When I saw Bruno Mars, he and his band were wearing red suits with leopard shirts.  Rod Stewart is the only white guy on the planet with those clothes (I hope).  Bruno might be the only other person with that same outfit.  And his band.

The biggest difference lies in the genre.  Rod had (and still has, if he’d realize it) a lot more freedom and creative license than Bruno has because he was born in the right time.  Bruno Mars has a far cleaner production and he HAS to have a hit.  Rod didn’t.  Well, he may have, but his songs that were the most successful were also some of his best written.  He also usually had one other person writing with him, not 17 like Bruno has.  Rod definitely angled toward hits, especially later in his career.  Some were great, some were terrible.  We’ll see what happens to Bruno in 10 years.

Call me crazy for comparing the two of them but I think they are far more similar than people realize.  

And I would LOVE to hear Bruno cover any number of Rod Stewart songs.  Imagine Bruno Mars singing “Stay With Me.”  It would be so good!