b. 9 September 1952, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, England. At the age of 15, the fledgling guitarist Stewart introduced himself to the world of rock music by stowing away in the back of Amazing Blondel’s tour van, after the band had given a performance in Stewart’s home town of Newcastle. He later teamed up with guitarist Brian Harrison to form a duo, which after releasing Deep December went on to form Longdancer on Elton John’s Rocket label in 1973. During this time, Stewart had met ex-Royal Academy of Music student Annie Lennox in London, where the couple co-habited. In 1977, together with friend Peter Coombes, they first recorded as a trio, the Catch, which developed into the Tourists. After establishing a following on the European continent, the Tourists achieved fame in the UK with minor hit singles, culminating in the number 4 hit cover version of Dusty Springfield’s 1979 ‘I Only Want To Be With You’ and ‘So Good To Be Back Home Again’. This popularity with the public, however, was at odds with the particularly virulent and antagonistic attitude of the popular music press who viewed the band as ‘old wave’ cashing in on the ‘new wave’. When the band split in late 1980, Stewart and Lennox, who had now ended their romantic relationship, continued working together and formed the Eurythmics.
After a spell spent shaking off their reputation left over from the Tourists, the duo gradually won favourable reviews to eventually emerge as one of the world’s major pop acts of the 80s. They were awarded the Ivor Novello Award for Songwriter Of The Year in 1984 and Stewart received the Best British Producer award at the BRIT Awards ceremony in 1986. He increased his role and reputation as a producer by working with, among others, Bob Dylan, Feargal Sharkey and Mick Jagger. A flurry of awards followed the next year for songwriting and production and in August, Stewart married Siobhan Fahey of Bananarama. In 1989, Boris Grebenshikov, the first Russian rock artist to record and perform in the West, travelled to the USA and UK to record Radio Silence with Stewart. After the recording of the Eurythmics’ We To Are One, the band’s activities were put on hold while the duo allowed themselves time to rest and indulge in other projects. For Stewart, this included forming his own record label, AnXious, working with saxophonist Candy Dulfer on the UK Top 10 hit ‘Lily Was Here’ (1990), and the formation of his new band the Spiritual Cowboys, who achieved a minor UK chart placing for ‘Jack Talking’ (1990). Comprising Martin Chambers (drums, ex-Pretenders), John Turnbull (guitar) and Chris Bostock aka Christopher James (bass), the band toured and recorded as a full-time project, and their debut album reached the UK Top 40. He also recorded an album with Terry Hall as Vegas.
Stewart is now regarded as one of the major figures of the pop establishment, and despite attacks of a personal and artistic nature from the more radical quarters of the UK press, it can be said that helped oversee some of the finest pop music produced in the latter part of the twentieth century. For his 1994 solo outing he enlisted the services of a wide range of artists including Carly Simon, Lou Reed, Bootsy Collins, David Sanborn and Laurie Anderson. Following an excellent reunion performance at the 1999 BRIT Awards, Stewart and Lennox announced dates for an Eurythmics tour and recorded a new album. Stewart also devoted a lot of time to his innovative Sly-Fi web page, which launched an album of the same name. In 2004, Stewart teamed up with Mick Jagger to complete the acclaimed soundtrack for the cinematic remake of Alfie.