Rod Stewart, 79, has pulled no punches when sharing his thoughts on fellow singer Ed Sheeran after he was quizzed on the 32-year-old while promoting his upcoming album Swing Fever.
Stewart, whose international hits have earned him a renowned status and immense commercial success in the music industry, has sparked a fierce debate with his remarks after cheekily claiming to have never heard any of Sheeran’s songs.
During a recent interview, Stewart was asked whether “timeless” songs are still being made by today’s current crop of chart-topping singers.
Stewart, of course, boasts a catalogue of timeless hits of his own, including debut single Maggie May which went straight to the top of the charts in the UK and US at the same time.
Turning his attention to today’s artists, Stewart told The Times: “I like what’s-his-name… he’s British, really talented and his songs will be around.”
When the reporter suggested Stewart was referring to the Brit Award-winning Sheeran, whose debut album + is already a six-time platinum record, Stewart didn’t mince his words.
Rod Stewart has come under fire from Ed Sheeran fans for his remarks
“No, not Ed,” Stewart promptly replied. “I don’t know any of his songs.
“Old ginger b******s. Jesus,” the 79-year-old added, dismissing in no uncertain terms the suggestion he may be a fan of Sheeran’s.
Eventually, it was revealed that the singer Stewart was thinking of was George Ezra after he sang the lyrics to Ezra’s massive 2019 hit song Shotgun.
Heaping praise on Ezra, Stewart explained: “I think he writes really tremendous songs. He’ll be around for quite a while.”
The comments have divided fans with many X, formerly Twitter, users taking to the platform to express their opinions on Stewart’s verdict.
Ed Sheeran is best known for hits including A Team and Lego House
Some were staunchly in defence of Sheeran, including one user who posted: “He’s [Stewart] jealous that ed is better than him.”
“Who even is the guy on the left? I see Ed Sheeran & someone irrelevant who nobody knows or cares about,” a second fumed.
On the other hand, many fans have sided with Stewart, including one fan who argued: “He’s so real for this cause I can’t name a single Ed Sheeran song.”
Regardless of Stewart’s disdain for Sheeran, the Lego House singer has the support of his 72.5 million monthly listeners on Spotify and is ranked the seventh wealthiest of Britons under 35, with a fortune of £300m.
Stewart isn’t alone in his thinking, however, as Sheeran’s popularity has seen a decline over the past 10 years – something he acknowledged when speaking in a 2023 Disney+ documentary series The Sum of it All.
Sheeran said: “Careers naturally plateau and I’ve been coming to terms with that, by the time Lyra and Jupes [his children] are in school the world will naturally have said, ‘We’re good’.”
Rod Stewart doesn’t appear to be a big fan of Ed Sheeran’s music
Stewart, meanwhile, seems eager to remain relevant to a modern audience and perhaps his upcoming album Swing fFever, a 13-track sparkling salute to the timeless songs of the big band years with Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, will be the way to consolidate his own timeless success.
Stewart also has future plans to play 38 concerts across 15 countries in 2024-2025 and won’t be leaving the music industry anytime soon while Sheeran is concluding his ‘+–=÷x Tour’ with 117 shows this year but has not stated it will be his last tour.
This is not the only controversy Stewart has been involved in recently as he was blasted for wading into the debate surrounding this year’s election and claiming that Sir Keir Starmer and the Labour Party “deserve a chance” to be in power.
He’s also not the only singer to have recently been involved in a public spat as Dua Lipa criticised Brit pop Bands (such as Blur and Oasis) for being “obnoxious” – prompting a crass remark from Liam Gallagher.