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CNN PEOPLE IN THE NEWS
Profile of Rod Stewart, Shania Twain
Aired February 7, 2004 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Next, the Grammy's, music's biggest award, a special look at some of the biggest nominees, including Rod Stewart from "Maggie May" to "The Great American Song Book."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROD STEWART, SINGER: I always admired Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, Billy Holiday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: A surprise hit and a platinum come back for a legendary storyteller.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALAN LIGHT, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "TRACKS" MAGAZINE: Rod Stewart is a remarkable survivor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Rod the Mod, Rod the rocker, Rock the balladeer, good times, bad times.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
R. STEWART: There was period where I didn't think I was going to sing another.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: The famous loves, loses, and lifestyle of Rod Stewart onstage and off.
Then, she's a little bit country, a little bit rock n roll, and a whole lot of superstar. She grew up poor in Canada. And tragedy in her 20s almost made her leave performing forever.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHANIA TWAIN, SINGER: I thought, OK, they're not here to care whether I carry on with music or not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: She managed to carry on and hit it big. After a brief break that sparked rumors, she is back with a chart-topping album and three Grammy nods. We go one-on-one with Shania Twain.
Their stories and more Grammy nominees now on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
PAULA ZAHN, HOST: Hi. Welcome to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. I'm Paula Zahn. What do you get when you mix a pinch of pop, a dash of rock and a helping of hip-hop? This weekend's Grammy's, music's hottest night. There are plenty of newcomers to be sure, but don't count out the veterans, more mature musicians like Rod Stewart. The raspy rocker has changed his tune and he's back on top with his take on another collection of American classics, back with yet another Grammy nomination. Here's Kyra Phillips.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): That voice. That hair. The outfits. The women. With his outrageous style and flamboyant performances, rock legend, Rod Stewart, has entertained fans for more than 25 years. And at 59, the veteran rocker has discovered life after rock n roll. With a soulful new collection of American standards, classics like "Time After Time," songs and artists that Stewart has embraced throughout his storied career.
R. STEWART: I think you can -- you can hear my voice, the love of it, you know. It comes through. You can really breathe some soul into these songs. This is something I've been wanting to do for 25 years.
PHILLIPS: "The Great American Songbook's" Volume 1 and 2 have gone platinum, selling more than 8 million copies worldwide. They've also garnered Stewart a Grammy nomination, a successful new direction for the pop star turned crooner that's put Rod Stewart back in the spotlight.
R. STEWART: I wasn't getting played on MTV or VH1, so this was a great outlet for me. But really I had no idea that it was going to be this successful, never in a million years.
PHILLIPS: He's also taking his show on the road with his first tour in three years. From "Maggie May" to "The Great American Songbook," an era of music that takes Stewart back to his roots in North London.
R. STEWART: And this is where I heard most of these songs or a lot of these songs, anyway. We had huge parties at Christmas. Because I was only little, I was sent to bed. You have to go to bed. You know, when I could hear everyone singing, I'd creep down and get under -- we had a small Baby Grand piano -- I'd get under there and listen to everyone singing and dancing and being drunk.
PHILLIPS: Roderick David Stewart was born in Highgate North London on January 10, 1945. He was a fifth child of Scottish born, Elsie and Robert Stewart, the proprietors of a small newspaper and candy shop.
R. STEWART: It was a working class family from North London, two brothers and two sisters. We're still a very tight family, a tight clan. And I was spoiled rotten because I was the youngest one.
PHILLIPS: The Stewarts loved music and family get-togethers. Stewart's own musical interest began in grade school with a gift from his father.
R. STEWART: Well, my dad bought me a guitar for no apparent reason. And I wanted a station for Christmas, a motor rollaway station. He came home with a guitar. I was absolutely devastated, and he said, "There's money in this. There's going to be money in it for you." So I started learning how to play it.
PHILLIPS: If music was the first love in the Stewart house, soccer was a close second. Robert Stewart was a gregarious father whose lifelong dream was for one of his sons to play professional soccer.
R. STEWART: Me two brothers played, and dad played, and me grandfather played. We're soccer mad, you know.
PHILLIPS: In high school, Rod was captain of his soccer team. But schoolwork never captured his imagination, and by age 16, he dropped out. After a short stint as a gravedigger and window washer, in 1961, Rod fulfilled his father's dream and joined the Brentford Football Club in West London.
R. STEWART: I think I wanted to keep me dad happy. And with three sons, I was the only one that looked like he could be a professional. So my heart and soul wasn't in it because I'd already fallen in love with music.
PHILLIPS: By 1962, Rod had found his place in London's club scene. It was a heady time of change, both musically and politically. Rod took part in the Ban the Bomb Protest marches in London.
DON STEWART, BROTHER: He started being a bit of a beatnik. He used to go on marches doing God knows what. And he used to roam around the continent. And month -- and you know he'd come back in a hell of a state, run out of money. Dad would fly him the money and off he'd go again.
PHILLIPS: It was during this time that Rod began to sing in public. Two years later, Mod was the fashion and Rod's love of folk music developed into a love of rhythm and blues.
R. STEWART: The first band I was in was called Long John Baldry's Hoochie Coochie Band. And they were all old jazz musicians. And they could drink. So that was where I started drinking big time, you know, because you had to. I was only 19 and they were all in their 40s. It was a little bit drunk bash.
PHILLIPS: Rod played harmonica and sang with Baldry for two years with the band but soon found himself drawn to the rock music that was exploding from London. A meeting with ex-Yardbird's guitarist, Jeff Beck, would open a new door.
LIGHT: The big, real break for Rod was hooking up with Jeff Beck and that's where you started to see this guy Rod Stewart step out with this very distinctive sound and vocal style to make a real impact.
PHILLIPS: The Jeff Beck Group took Rod Stewart to audiences across Europe and on to America where he created his on stage persona. Stewart also began to write his own songs, a mixture of blues, folk, rock and traditional melodies, splitting his time between writing and performing with the Jeff Beck Group.
R. STEWART: It was a great band to be in because Ronnie Wood and I became great friends, really good pals in those days. But it was good musicians. And when you're surrounded by good musicians, you're going to start singing great. And I learned a lot in those days.
PHILLIPS: But Beck's relationship with the band members was fractious and after two-and-a-half years, Stewart left the group.
LIGHT: Jeff Beck was the star. Rod Stewart wasn't the star. He was a singer, and -- but he not the focal point of what the group was about. And so, for any number of reasons it was not a long lasting affiliation.
PHILLIPS: What did last was Rod's friendship with guitarist, Ron Wood. In October of 1969, Wood and Stewart joined the band, The Faces, a move that would launch Stewart's career as a superstar.
LIGHT: The Faces were sort of the definitive bar band, kind of sloppy, you know, bashing it out rock n roll band.
PHILLIPS: Coming up, Stewart becomes a rock star and finds love with a famous actress.
LIGHT: There was then just this explosion of material coming from him. For seven years, Rod Stewart was simultaneously a solo artist and the lead singer in The Faces.
PHILLIPS: But a split in both his band and personal life will rock Rod's world.
ANNOUNCER: We now return to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
PHILLIPS (voice-over): The Faces, live, loud and loaded.
R. STEWART: We were drunk all the time, you know. So I can't remember much about it. It's good fun though.
PHILLIPS: By 1970, Rod Stewart was the lead face in one of the most raucous rock n roll bands in the world. TIM EWBANK, BIOGRAPHER: There's girls and cars and having a good time. They were very destructive on the road at times. They would trash hotel rooms willy-nilly.
PHILLIPS: But Stewart wasn't just the charismatic front man in The Faces in the early '70s. He was a double attraction, pursuing a simultaneous solo career, a solo career that in one song exploded beyond his wildest dreams.
R. STEWART: Wake up, Maggie, I think I got something to say to you...
PHILLIPS: "Maggie May" and the album, "Every Picture Tells a Story," made Rod Stewart an international sensation.
R. STEWART: It was a No. 1 and it was a No. 1 single. So after that, everything changed, you know. I started to become overnight extremely wealthy.
PHILLIPS: Rich, famous, a rock n roll superstar. All Rod Stewart needed now was a gorgeous superstar girlfriend. Enter actress, Britt Ekland.
PETER CASTRO, SENIOR EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: He never met a blond he didn't like. So you know along comes Britt Ekland. OK, this is fun.
PHILLIPS: But unlike all those blonds before her, Ekland was famous in her own right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll take care of the maintenance man.
BRITT EKLAND, ACTRESS: I already did.
PHILLIPS: She was a former Bond girl. She was also very astute to the trappings of celebrity.
EWBANK: I think she kept him on the down swing for a while, and you know, to make sure that this wasn't just a passing fancy. But then they fell madly in love and it was a very highly volatile, highly sexy relationship.
PHILLIPS: And it was also a highly publicized relationship. Stewart and Ekland epitomized the rock superstar jetsetters of their time. And wherever they landed, crowds gathered and cameras flashed. Britt Ekland's arrival also marked a new phase in Rod's career, which included a permanent move to Los Angeles.
EWBANK: I think a lot of his fans saw her as the epitome of Hollywood. And they didn't like to see this North London lad with a feeling for the blues going Hollywood as it were and having the big rock star mansion, going to the Hollywood parties and so on.
PHILLIPS: Stewart's 1975 offering "Atlantic Crossing..."
R. STEWART: I am sailing... PHILLIPS: ... and the single, "Sailing," didn't help matters with the hard-core rock fans either. Both the album and the ballad were seen as pop departures meant to attract a wider, more mature audience. But Rod bounced back big with a night on the town.
R. STEWART: Tonight's the night...
PHILLIPS: And the sexually charged hit, "Tonight's The Night." Rod's ongoing and lucrative solo success, once viewed as a good thing within The Faces, was now a point of contention.
R. STEWART: Well a lot of people would think, oh, Rod left the group. Well, actually he didn't. I left The Faces because Ronnie was going to join The Stones. We talked about it. And that's where he wanted to go, I believe. And I think I really deep down thought we'd taken The Faces as far as we could. So it broke up.
PHILLIPS: Stewart's relationship with Britt Ekland was also beginning to show cracks. She had quickly become involved in almost every aspect of his life from his career to the way he dressed.
EWBANK: She had very good taste but at the same time she'd manipulated his career a bit and even in one album cover put him in a straw boater, which he absolutely loathed. And I think he was then ready to shake off all of that and start anew.
PHILLIPS: Stewart and Ekland stuck it out until 1978, a pivotal year personally and professionally.
R. STEWART: If you want my body and you think I'm sexy, come on...
PHILLIPS: "Do You Think I'm Sexy" was a worldwide phenomenon.
LIGHT: The thing to remember always when talking about "Do You Think I'm Sexy" is it was a really big hit. It also gave him a hit at a moment when a lot of rock stars were getting smashed by the popularity of disco.
PHILLIPS: For all its success, however, "Do You Think I'm Sexy" moved Rod's career farther away from rock and more toward pop. At the same time, his split from girlfriend, Britt Ekland, had become nasty. She filed a massive alimony suit against Stewart.
EWBANK: Britt sued for many millions. And I understand that the legal settlement was something in the region of $15 million.
PHILLIPS: Stewart's first intense, long-term relationship was over and popular music was changing. He was somewhat adrift. But it didn't take him long to find an anchor. Alana Hamilton was the ex- wife of George Hamilton. She was a model, aspiring actress, and of course, blond. But she was also determined and outspoken, a surprising choice for Rod by many accounts. Even more surprising to family and friends was the couple's decision to wed.
EWBANK: I think he wanted to get married because he was mid-30s and I think he really thought that this -- you know, this was the one.
PHILLIPS: One of rock's most confirmed bachelors tied the knot in April of 1979. Three months later, Stewart's daughter, Kimberly, was born. And a year after that came son, Sean. Rod struggled to balance his life as a husband, father, and superstar.
EWBANK: Rod found that very difficult to play the father, the doting father, because he's always been very, very good to his kids, a very devoted father and yet live up to the image of this roistering rock star with this, you know, rock n roll lifestyle.
PHILLIPS: Stewart's touring, his life style and new family quickly strained his marriage. When our profile of Rod Stewart continues, it's another heartbreak, a few more blonds, a couple of comebacks, and one serious scare.
R. STEWART: It was a period where I didn't think I was going to sing again.
ZAHN: Our look at Rod Stewart will continue in just a moment, but first, a look at few other Grammy hopefuls, some of this year's Album of Nominees in our "People To Watch."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been a huge year for Outkast. Their singles "Hey Ya!" and "The Way You Move" sat one and two on top of the Billboard charts for weeks. Their double CD, "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below," has been nominated for Album of The Year.
ANDRE "BIG BOY" PATTON, OUTKAST: We never thought we'd go back and reinvent the past. It's like we try to look forward to what's going on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The duo, Big Boy and Andre 3000 first met in Atlanta's Tri-City High School. They had the first pop hit with Ms. Jackson in 2001. With "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below," the group took a hands-on approach producing many of their own tracks.
"ANDRE 3000" BENJAMIN, OUTKAST: You have an idea in your head and you already know how you want it to sound. It's easier for you to do it then to tell somebody else, well, this is what I want it to sound like.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Outkast is nominated for six Grammy's, including Song of The Year for "Hey Ya."
Daredevil did ho-hum numbers at the box office but a song off its soundtrack, "Bring Me The Light," soared up the charts and made stars out of Evanescence.
AMY LEE, EVANESCENCE: Yes, it is cool. It's two kids from a small town with a dream, for sure. It's just one of those cool stories. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The founding members of Evanescence, Amy Lee and Ben Moody, were working together long before the release of their breakthrough album, "Fallen."
LEE: Ben and I met when I was 13 and he was 14. We met at camp. And I guess we just started writing music like that month.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But in October, Moody shocked the music world when he quit the band after a video shoot in Portugal. The band has since resumed touring with a new lineup.
Eminescence is nominated for five Grammy's, including Best New Artist and Best Rock Song.
The lesser known of this year's Best Album field may be its most intriguing, with songs like "Seven Nation Army," The White Stripes rocked the air waves even though they have no bass player. In an era of technology, the band's album, "Elephant" was recorded in 10 days on equipment that predates the Beatles.
JACK WHITE, THE WHITE STRIPES: In digital technology and pro tools and recording on computers, it's a really, really unsoulful way of capturing sound.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming out of the Motor City, The White Stripes have stirred up their share of controversy.
WHITE: This is my sister. I'm her brother. God bless America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The relationship between Meg and Jack White is a bit murky. They claim to be brother and sister but speculation that they may actually be ex-husband and wife was fueled when marriage and divorce papers hit the Internet.
WHITE: Nobody likes to believe us anymore. It's a gossipy world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While the band continued to release groundbreaking videos like, "The Hardest Button To Button," the music was often overshadowed by Jack White's personal life, including a highly publicized relationship with Renee Zellwegger. He also made headlines when he was arrested for brawling with a musician at a Detroit nightclub.
The White Stripes have been nominated for four Grammy's, including "Best Rock Song."
PEOPLE IN THE NEWS will return after this.
ANNOUNCER: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PHILLIPS (voice-over): While Rod Stewart was a fixture on MTV throughout the '80s with hit singles like "Some Guys Have All The Luck" and "Baby Jane," his music wandered between rock and pop.
LIGHT: He would go a little more rock and bring the guitars up and then go very straight pop. And, you know, then there would be a hit every few years, there would be a "Passion."
R. STEWART: Even the president needs passion.
LIGHT: And there would be "Infatuation".
R. STEWART: Oh no, not again.
LIGHT: He could continue to tour. He was still famous. He was still a celebrity but it didn't have a feeling of, you know -- just didn't have that focus and that drive especially that defined that first decade of his career.
PHILLIPS: The pressures of his career on his five-year marriage to Alana Hamilton would prove too much. In 1984, they filed for divorce. Rod began dating again, and had a serious relationship with model, Kelly Emberg. The couple had a daughter, Ruby, in 1987, but would part ways two years later. In 1990, Rod met yet another blond, a young model from New Zealand, Rachel Hunter, and fell fast.
CASTRO: He was smitten with Rachel Hunter from the get go. I mean, who wouldn't be? She was gorgeous, "Sports Illustrated" model, statuesque, blond, beautiful. And he was just taken and blown away by her.
PHILLIPS: On December 15, 1990, Rod walked down the aisle for a second time, marrying the 21-year-old model in Beverly Hills. Rod and Rachel would have two children together, a daughter, Renee, and son, Liam. Rod appeared to be growing up both in his personal life and his career. That next year, Stewart had his first top 10 album in a decade, "Vagabond Hearts."
LIGHT: I think there's a transformation in the beginning of the '90s into Rod Stewart the adult, the MTV Unplugged that seeded and with a shift in emphasizing his ballad singing.
R. STEWART: Have I told you lately that I love you...
LIGHT: He's a singer and he's an interpretive singer, you know, in some ways at heart and that really becomes what starts to define -- starts to redefine the next phase of his career.
PHILLIPS: But by the late '90s, Stewart wasn't getting airplay and his eight-year marriage to Rachel Hunter began to unravel.
EWBANK: And I think she found it difficult simply being regarded -- although she had a great career as a model, as you know, Mrs. Rod Stewart. And I think she felt there was more to life than that. Eventually, she walked out on him and he was absolutely devastated. PHILLIPS: Then in February of 2000, an even more devastating discovery. After a routine CAT scan, Stewart was diagnosed with cancer.
R. STEWART: They found a sort of lump on the thyroid gland but it was a very small lump and I was in and out of hospital in 24 hours. But it -- you know they cut me from here to here, so it really wrecked my voice for nine months. And there was a period when I didn't think I was going to sing again.
PHILLIPS: The surgery threatened to shatter his career.
R. STEWART: It was worrying, you know. I didn't know what I was going to do. This thing that I loved doing so much and it's obviously going to be taken away.
PHILLIPS: Stewart recovered but the veteran performer would have to learn to sing again.
R. STEWART: I had singing lessons again. I just got the band together and we -- I'd just go in there every day and try to sing "Maggie May" or "Hot Legs." I'd really just strain it.
PHILLIPS: He would eventually regain his voice but regaining his popularity was a different story. Record sales slumped until 2002 when a collection of American standards breathed new life back into his career.
R. STEWART: All careers have their highs and lows, you know. Before "The American Songbook," you know, I wasn't selling that many albums. I was still putting bums on seats as far as concerts were concerned but, we hadn't -- you know I hadn't sold any records, any big selling records until "The American Songbook." So it hasn't all been, you know, roses.
PHILLIPS: For Stewart, "The Great American Songbook" was a lifelong passion.
R. STEWART: I've always admired Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, and Billy Holiday. So I was just waiting for a chance to get in the studio and record them and the chance came with Clive Davis.
CLIVE DAVIS, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, BMG NORTH AMERICA: There's a public appetite for great material, timeless material. If done right and arranged right and who better, but the distinctive voice of Rod Stewart?
LIGHT: He survives, he perseveres, and then, you know, as soon as you start to count him out, there's another hit.
PHILLIPS: Rod has also found love again with British model, Penny Lancaster, a blond, of course.
It's been an amazing comeback for the music icon. His new album "As Time Goes By: The Great American Songbook Volume 2" has gone double platinum and his tour is selling out across America. And at age 59, Rod Stewart is proving that blondes do have more fun.
R. STEWART: You know I can't be this forever. And I'm having this huge success right now and I might as well enjoy it. And I enjoy it by going out and touring, singing and one laugh and have a good time.
Lucky to be loving you.
ZAHN: Rod Stewart kicked off his first in tour in three years on Friday. The tour promises everything from "Maggie May" to that old standard, "It Had To Be You."
ANNOUNCER: Up next...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TWAIN: Up, up, up, can only go up from here...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: ...she's come a long way from her humble roots.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TWAIN: I really am sincere when I say that my intentions were never to be a star.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: The ups and downs of country's queen of pop, Shania Twain, ahead on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
ZAHN: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
She is one of the most successful female artists in country and pop and Shania Twain isn't slowing down. Her multi-platinum CD, "Up," has earned Twain three Grammy nominations, just the latest icing on a life that has seen equal parts of great joy, unimaginable success, and unbearable sorrow. Sharon Collins has her profile.
CROWD: I feel like a woman!
TWAIN: Let's go girls.
SHARON COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With an explosive mix of sass and sex, she shimmied her way into pop music history. More Mariah than Minnie Pearl and offering a bold invitation to come on over, Shania Twain decimated the wall, which divided the worlds of country and pop.
TWAIN: That don't impress me much.
JOE LEVY, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR, "ROLLING STONE": Her country records are made like opera records. It's one little melody piled on top of another piled on top of another. It's catchier than a cold.
COLLINS: With six hit singles, 1997's "Come on Over" was a success beyond her wildest dreams, and as Nashville scratched its head...
TWAIN: Here we go.
COLLINS: ...man, did she sell records.
VINCE GILL, COUNTRY SINGER: Thirty-five million records. I have been working for 30 years and haven't done that good.
COLLINS: But the road to riches has been anything but smooth.
LEVY: Nashville has been hostile to Shania. They don't like the fact that she doesn't wear a gingham shirt and cowboy boots. They don't like the fact that she's Canadian. They don't like the fact that her model was more Barbara Streisand and Madonna than it is Patsy Cline or Loretta Lynne.
COLLINS: Disappearing from the public eye in 2000, she returned this past November with a baby boy and her first studio album in five years.
TWAIN: Let's go.
COLLINS: Immediately, she broke records. The first week alone, "Up!" sold 874,000 copies, the largest female debut of all time.
TWAIN: Don't want you for the night...
COLLINS: But it's been a long, rough ride for this 38-year-old superstar, from poverty, death and scandal to a successful career rooted in her parent's dream.
TWAIN: Music was all I had. It's what I knew, and that's what my parents told me I was best at, so that's what I did.
Look how far we've come now, baby.
COLLINS: Shania Twain's story begins on August 28, 1965, in Windsor, Canada. She was born Eileen Regina Edwards, and following her parents' divorce, relocated with her mother and two sisters to the mining town of Timmins.
COLLINS: In June of 1970, Shania's mother, Sharon, remarried. His name was Jerry Twain, a full-blooded Ojibwe Indian.
COLLINS: But times were tough at #44 Montgomery. When he could find employment, Jerry Twain logged timber. He worked hard, dreamed big, but made little money.
TWAIN: Not a lot of normalcy and not a lot of stability all of the time either growing up. We didn't always have enough money to eat properly or to keep the heating on through the winter.
CARRIE ANN BROWN, SISTER: We ate something called goulash a lot. Everything mixed in your fridge, you put macaroni, hamburger and it's a mixture, right? But our goulash was warm milk and bread.
COLLINS: Keeping the family afloat weighed heavily on Shania's mother, who often sank into deep depression.
BROWN: You know she would stay in bed for a lot of hours in a day. And we wouldn't -- we would sometimes not even see her, unless we would go in and say, you know, "Hi, mom."
TWAIN: We built a love so strong...
COLLINS: Music became the family's only solace. Free and abundant in a home where even school lunch was a luxury.
TWAIN: Well, I would just, you know, pack up my guitar and walk five minutes up the road, and I would be in a bush somewhere, and I would start up a little campfire, and I'd sit out there all day and just write music, sing songs.
COLLINS: With the need to make money and a child who loved to sing, Sharon Twain booked 8-year-old Shania at every open mike she could find. Soon, newspapers took notice, and a local telethon put her on the air.
TWAIN: Mama never wanted anymore than what she had...
My mother had the performing bug. She wanted me to get up on stage. I was really the type of kid who wanted to just stay in my bedroom and sing with the door closed, and write songs and never tell anybody about them.
COLLINS: A blurry-eyed grade schooler by day, pint-sized lounge singer by night, no booking was off-limits.
NATASHA STOYNOFF, CORRESPONDENT, PEOPLE MAGAZINE: They would drive her around, wake her up in the middle of the night to go play after last call at the local bars, because she was not allowed into the bars until there was no alcohol being served.
COLLINS: In 1978, the late nights paid off. Thirteen-year-old Shania made her Canadian TV debut.
Billed as Ellie Twain, the appearance only fueled her passion for music, but getting Shania to these performances was becoming expensive. BROWN: Getting Eileen to the gigs and doing these things always -- was always a struggle. But they just found a way to do it because my mom was very, very determined that something was going to happen with Eileen.
COLLINS: In the spring of 1983, the 17-year-old got her first break, hired as a lead singer for a rock band in Toronto. With the blessing of her parents, she headed out on her own.
TWAIN: While everybody was planning on their -- you know, making college plans and off to university, and I was basically just going to be a singer.
COLLINS: Coming up, Shania raises eyebrows, going toe-to-toe with the good old boys of country music.
LEVY: Famously, Shania exposed her belly button. This is not a very Nashville thing to do, apparently.
COLLINS: But first, late night news shatters the Twain family.
BROWN: I don't think there could have been a worse day for any of us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Now back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
TWAIN: My parents' goal was for me to always sing country music, and that was what I considered more of the music of my childhood. And as a teenager, I moved on to these, whatever the bars were hiring, that's what I did.
COLLINS (voice-over): And by 1982, 17-year-old Shania had moved on to rock 'n' roll and the city of Toronto, fronting the band Longshot. Ironically, it was. The group flopped.
Back in Timmins, the Twains were doing well. Having received a small business loan, they now oversaw a tree replanting business, and every summer, Shania returned home to work alongside her parents in the Canadian bush. Times were good, but they wouldn't last.
BROWN: Well, I didn't find out until 10:00. Our friend came to pick me up and told me, so I don't think there could be have been a worse day for any of us.
TWAIN: God bless the young with our mother's...
COLLINS: In the cold afternoon of November 1, 1987, Shania's parents were heading to a work site on a remote logging road in northern Ontario. The last thing heard was a horn. BROWN: It was a head-on collision with a loaded log truck. You know they didn't have much of a chance. The sun was in my dad's eyes, and he just couldn't see, couldn't see where he was going, I guess.
COLLINS: Jerry and Sharon Twain died instantly. Carrie Ann made the call to Shania in Toronto.
BROWN: She just screamed and cried and you know, screamed and cried, because you just don't want to believe it.
TWAIN: Now that my parents were gone, I thought, OK, they're not here to care whether I carry on with music or not. All these years, I'd spent doing music and working as a songwriter, and now the very people whose wish and dream it really was, is gone. It was a very strange, strange feeling and very strange time in my life.
STOYNOFF: Shania was thrust into this world of being an adult and being a mother and father to her siblings, so she took care of the mortgage, she paid the bills, she did the laundry, she got the kids to the school.
COLLINS: But eight months later, money was running out. A friend pulled a deeply depressed Shania aside.
TWAIN: She just said, "Look, you can't just quit. Please don't, you know, don't throw your talent away, don't quit." She said, "Look, there's a place called Deerhurst. If you can get in there, then you can live in one town and bring in a weekly paycheck." So I went and auditioned.
LYNN HILL, FRIEND: I remember her audition here when she first came to Deerhurst, and the producer had brought her over there, and there was a whole huge room full of guests, and what better place to audition someone than in front of an audience? So she went up there, and everybody just went -- OK, we'll hire her now.
TWAIN: It was just a whole different experience. I'd never sung in high heels. I don't think I had ever worn high heels. You know girls were dancing in bikinis, and I never got the confidence to do that, but you know, I certainly learned how to wear fishnets and wear gowns, and just get more in touch with the feminine side.
LEVY: She was a showgirl.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our lead vocalist, starting out with Eileen.
LEVY: She did three shows a day, singing the same songs time after time after time, and she learned a work ethnic like nothing else, that she sticks to to this day. The woman works hard.
COLLINS: And that's exactly what Richard Frank, a famous Nashville attorney thought, when he caught the 11:00 p.m. Deerhurst show in August of 1990.
With siblings now grown and with the backing of Richard Frank, the 25-year-old headed to Nashville. Just as her parents had dreamed, she was going country!
First order of business? A name change. Eileen became Shania, an Indian word meaning "on my way." And within two years, she was.
TWAIN: I thought, well, I'd better go out and get myself a recording contract, and that happened very quickly for me.
COLLINS: The debut album "Shania Twain" hit the stores in April 1993. It sold a disappointing 100,000 copies, a virtual dud in the record industry.
TWAIN: What made you say that?
COLLINS: That's because Nashville didn't know what to think. The midriff-bearing Canadian was almost too hot to handle, and CMT, Country Music Television, initially banned the debut video.
LEVY: Famously, Shania exposed her belly button. This is not a very Nashville thing to do, apparently. But you know, everyone in Nashville has a belly button. Maybe they don't show it, but they've got one.
COLLINS: Coming up, Shania survives her first taste of the tabloids.
TWAIN: I have never lied about who I am and where I come from.
COLLINS: And later, the phenomenon of "Come on Over" breaks the boundaries of country and pop.
ANNOUNCER: Now back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
COLLINS (voice-over): By 1993, a Canadian breeze had blown south, and with sassy style and killer curves, Shania Twain was about to tip the scale on hee-haw and honky tonk.
GILL: Her first video, it's so obvious, you know, to be, wow, who's she? I'm a guy.
TWAIN: Maybe, just maybe...
COLLINS: Unfortunately, the sexy beach video was the only thing catching people's eye. With lackluster sales, her debut album was a flop. But in London, a reclusive rock producer by the name of Mutt Lange had caught the sultry video and he saw more than just eye candy.
TWAIN: Mutt and I first met over the phone. I had no idea that he was some big-time producer.
COLLINS: Turns out Mutt Lange was one of rock's most legendary producers, and it was hardly a shock she didn't recognize him. As brilliant as he was private, he never gave interviews. He never took photographs. And with a net worth estimated at half a billion, that faceless name was synonymous with success.
LEVY: Mutt is famous as a man who produced AC/DC, the Cars, Billy Ocean, Celine Dion, the Backstreet Boys, Britney. What do these people have in common? Well, when Mutt Lange produced their record, they sold a lot of records.
TWAIN: Who's bed have your boots been under?
COLLINS: And in January of 1995, that's exactly what "The Woman in Me" did. Produced by Lange, Shania's second album was pure cash register gold.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She and Mutt had created magic.
COLLINS: But they had also fallen in love, marrying just months after their first encounter at the Nashville Fanfare.
TWAIN: From that day on, we just got closer and closer. Within six months, we were married. It was very fast, very wonderful and beautiful.
COLLINS: And very successful. Less than three years after her recording debut, Shania Twain surpassed Patsy Cline as the best selling female country artist of all time.
TWAIN: It has been a hell of a ride.
COLLINS: The ride was about to get bumpy.
LEVY: Nashville was pissed off. Nashville assumed that the reason it was selling was because she was sexy, and sex sells.
COLLINS: Matters got worse when she chose to market the album with music videos, rather than a tour.
LEWIS: For some reason, people thought maybe she couldn't perform.
QUESTION: And when are you going to tour now?
TWAIN: Ninety-seven. We'll put a tour together in the fall.
QUESTION: What's taking so long?
COLLINS: But the hardest blow came in April 1996. Her hometown newspaper accused the singer of lying about her Indian heritage.
STOYNOFF: The fact that she had talked about being Native, and then when they found out that her father was actually her stepfather, they thought that she was overstating it for publicity's sake, which to Shania, is not true.
COLLINS: She responded days later in this handout video. TWAIN: I have never lied about who I am and where I come from.
From this moment...
COLLINS: Badly stung by the past year and a half, Shania returned to the studio, and 12 months later, in 1997, audiences got their first glimpse of Shania Twain on the road, on tour, with an explosive new album.
LEVY: "Come on Over" is a career-making record. It's an icon- making record. It's the record where she went from a country performer who sold a lot of records to a pop performer who had a massive public image.
COLLINS: It was a country/pop crossover unlike anything ever seen, selling 34 million copies. To this day, it's the biggest selling female album of all time. A feat even Nashville couldn't dispute.
And then in January 2000, at the top of her game, Shania said good-bye to the spotlight and disappeared. Rumors circulated that her marriage to Lange was on the rocks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have never understood where rumors about their sort of breakup ever came from. Certainly didn't come out of any facts that I know of.
COLLINS: Retreating to their 46-room chateau in Switzerland, it seems the exhausted star just needed a break. And on August 12, 2001, the couple welcomed their first child, a baby boy, Eja DeAngelo.
TWAIN: He's beautiful and sweet and loving. All my emotions are heightened somehow. More love, so much more love in my life.
TAWAIN: I'm going up...
COLLINS: In November 2002, Shania emerged from her self-imposed exile with another new arrival, her fourth album, "Up!" Complete with not one but three disks, "Up!" is going, well, up. With 10 million sold to date, the industry is still abuzz.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our hopes are that "Up!" outsells "Come on Over" and she can be the biggest seller for music ever, never mind having to put woman in front of it.
BROWN: I'm sure my mom knew it all along, that Eileen wasn't just going to be a star. She was going to be a superstar.
COLLINS: A superstar who wrote the single "From This Moment On," dedicating the words to two very important people.
TWAIN: My dreams...
BROWN: I cry every time I hear that song, because it was a song for my parents. Because of Eileen, my mom's dreams came true. I can just imagine my mom saying, "I told you, Jerry." I can just imagine that that's what they're feeling. COLLINS: Beyond the fame and fortune, at the core it seems she will always remain Eileen born with a musical gift and a parent's dream that drove her to where she stands today.
TWAIN: In your arms...
ZAHN: Shania Twain will be back on the road in April. She has just added 37 dates to her ongoing "Up!" tour.
That's it for this edition of PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. Coming up next week, more of music's heavy hitters, including the queen of hip-hop soul, Mary J. Blige. I'm Paula Zahn. Thanks so much for joining us, hope you'll be back with us next week.
ANNOUNCER: For more celebrity news, pick up a copy of "People" magazine this week.
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