Rod Stewart will tape a two-hour "A&E In Concert" special next month in New York. Set to premiere Dec. 6 at 9 p.m. ET, the show will find Stewart combining his well-known hits with holiday favorit

Rod Stewart will tape a two-hour "A&E In Concert" special next month in New York. Set to premiere Dec. 6 at 9 p.m. ET, the show will find Stewart combining his well-known hits with holiday favorites. The special also promises the appearance of several special guests who will be announced closer to the show's airdate.

Fans can expect that Stewart will perform material from his latest album, "It Had To Be You... The Great American Songbook." That 15-track set of early-20th century standards is released today (Oct. 22) via J Records, and serves as his debut for the label.

"Oh, I don't know," a laughing Stewart told Billboard recently when asked why a veteran rock artist would tackle such classics as George and Ira Gershwin's "They Can't Take That Away From Me" or "It Had To Be You." "A couple of days ago, I felt like a terrible traitor. But it's all connected to rock'n'roll through jazz. If you consider some of these songs to be in the jazz idiom, it's connected. If it weren't for jazz, there wouldn't be any rock'n'roll. It's a great challenge for me."

Stewart has been busy promoting the new album with recent appearances on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," "Charlie Rose," and "Good Morning America," and will appear tomorrow (Oct. 23) on NBC's "Last Call With Carson Daly" and Thursday on ABC's "The View." He'll also perform for a Nov. 5 radio special that will be broadcast live via U.S. radio stations; a list of participating stations will be posted in the coming days on Stewart's official Web site.

According to the site, Stewart has already signed on to perform on "Dick Clark's New Years Rockin' Eve 2003," which will air Dec. 31 on ABC.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print