Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Stewart Tartan - Rod's Smiler...

The Stewart Tartan.  Jackie Stewart had a 4 inch band of this pattern wrapped around the crown of his snow white racing helmet.  To me - that's the classiest item in sports.  Rod of course, and Bonnie Price Charlie.  But what else do we know about the Royal Stewart Tartan is the best known tartan of the royal House of Stewart, and is also the personal tartan of Queen Elizabeth II.  It is appropriate for all subjects of Elizabeth II to wear the Royal Stewart tartan, in much the same way that clansmen may wear the tartan of their clan chief. Officially, the tartan is worn by the pipers of the The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and the Scots Guards, as well as a select few civilian groups. The 5th Bolton Scout Group and the 5th Potters Bar Scout Group wear the scarf, (neckerchief/necker) officially, with permission from the Queen, and the Queen's Bands (of Queen's University) wear the tartan as part of their official uniforms. So too do the Winnipeg Police Pipe Band.The tartan may also be worn by members who took part in a patrol leaders training course.  In the late 1970s the Royal Stewart tartan became popular in punk fashion, possibly because of the influence of Walter "Wattie" Buchan, who became frontman of The Exploited who wore various tartans due in part to his Scottish heritage. The tartan had become well known in motor racing circles a decade earlier, as three-time Formula One World Champion Jackie Stewart used a distinctive band of Royal Stewart tartan around his crash helmet. 

This is - Smiler is Rod Stewart's fifth album, and final album for Mercury Records, released in 1974 (see 1974 in music). It became the first album by Rod Stewart as a solo artist to become critically panned. Although it reached number 1 in the UK album chart, it stalled at number 13 in the US. The album was largely considered to be an unadventurous retread of what he had done before, including covers of Chuck BerrySam Cooke and Bob Dylan songs, as well as a duet with Elton John of John's song "Let Me Be Your Car". Stewart's one attempt at adventurousness was a cover of Carole King's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" where 'Woman' is switched to 'Man'. This track was selected for special derision by critics.   The release of the album itself was held up for five months due to legal problems between Mercury Records and Warner Bros. RecordsThis album sold 1 million worldwide.

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