Stewart began his musical career after spending some time as an apprentice with the Brentford Football Club, touring Europe with folk singer Wizz Jones in the early '60s; during this time he was deported from Spain for vagrancy. When he returned to England in 1963, he joined the Birmingham-based R&B group Jimmy Powell & the Five Dimensions, as a vocalist and harmonica player. The band toured the U.K. and recorded one single for Pye Records, which featured Stewart on blues harp. After moving back to London, he joined Long John Baldry's band, the Hoochie Coochie Men. The group recorded a single in 1964, "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl," which failed to chart and soon afterward the group evolved into Steampacket.
During the summer of 1965, the group supported the Rolling Stones and the Walker Brothers on a U.K. tour, as well as recording an album that remained unreleased until 1970. Early in 1966, Steampacket disbanded and Stewart became a member of the blues-rock combo Shotgun Express, which released one single that fall before splitting. Rod Stewart then joined the Jeff Beck Group at the end of 1966.
With the Jeff Beck Group, Rod Stewart began his climb to stardom. Stewart and the former Yardbird guitarist pioneered the heavy blues-rock team of a virtuoso guitarist and a dynamic, sexy lead vocalist which became the standard blueprint for heavy metal. Truth, the band's debut album, was released in the fall of 1968, becoming a hit in both America and Britain. The Jeff Beck Group toured both countries several times in 1968 and 1969, gaining a dedicated following. In the summer of 1969, they released their second album, Beck-Ola, which became another hit record in both the U.S. and U.K. However, the group fell apart in the fall.