This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.
KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #294: Maggie May by Rod Stewart.
It is amazing to think about this but, Sir Rod Stewart, who is still singing and making women swoon today, was actually born during WWII. Born in England but, of Scottish ancestry, Rod Stewart has been making hit music, alone or with some of the most famous players of all-time, for sixty years now. In that time, he has amassed a musical catalogue of hits such as, “Reason to Believe”, “You Wear It Well”, “Twistin’ the Night Away”, Bring It On Home To Me”, “This Old Heart of Mine”, “Tonight’s the Night”, “You’re In My Heart”, “Hot Legs”, “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”, “Some Guys Have All the Luck”, “Maggie May” and scores more. His album sales are estimated as being over 200 million, making him one of the biggest selling music artists of all-time. Rod Stewart has been inducted into The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame twice!! In 1994, he was inducted on the strength of his solo career. In 2012, he was inducted for his work as a member of the band, “Faces”. Overall, when Rod Stewart was a teen and was torn between following a path taking him toward music and a second path taking him toward a career as a football player (soccer), he obviously made the correct choice.
In the 1960s, there was such a huge surge in those playing Rock n’ Roll in the UK. One of the things that they all had in common….all of them…..Lennon, McCartney, Jagger, Richards, Ray Davies of The Kinks…..all of them, was a belief that in order to really play Rock n’ Roll properly, you, first, had to know the Blues. So, Rod Stewart first started singing Blues songs. Because of his deep, raspy voice, the Blues translated well coming out of his mouth. Stewart’s biggest idol was American, Sam Cooke (whose song, “A Change is Gonna Come” will appear later on in this list). It was while singing the Blues and playing the harmonica, that Stewart came to the attention of the legendary Long John Baldry. Long John Baldry put together a group of players resembling a travelling minstrel show and asked Stewart to provide some vocals. After doing this for awhile, Stewart came in contact with legendary guitarist, Jeff Beck, agreeing to join him as singer in a band known as The Jeff Beck Group. While playing with Beck, Rod Stewart also came in contact with guitarist, Ron Wood and drummer, Kenny Jones (who would later join The Who after drummer Keith Moon passed away). Eventually, “The Jeff Beck Group” broke up and Stewart agreed to front the remnants of “The Small Faces” (which included Ronnie Wood) in a band simply called “Faces”. The funny thing about “Faces” was that Stewart already had a contract to produce solo albums at the time. So, sometimes he wrote songs for the “Faces” and, at other times, he wrote songs for himself, while using the “Faces” band members as “session players” during the recording process. After awhile, the “Faces” dissolved as an entity; with Woods going to “The Rolling Stones”, Jones to “The Who” and Stewart out on his own.
The song, “Maggie May” is a simple song, really. It is about a young boy/man losing his virginity under the guidance of an older, wiser, more experienced woman. Stewart claims that the song is based on a real experience from his own life. In the video that will accompany this song, you will see longtime friend, Ronnie Wood, sitting beside him in an “unplugged” acoustic concert. *If you can recall a previous post about the song “People Get Ready” by singer, “Curtis Mayfield”, I included a cover version by Stewart and Jeff Beck. One of the things that seems to be a truism of Rock n’ Roll is the network of connections that get made over time and how common it actually is for artists to support each other by collaborating together on projects. In the case of Sir Rod Stewart, his career journey has been shared by some of the heavyweights of the music industry; all of whom Stewart is lucky enough to call his friends.
Without further delay, here is one of Rod Stewart’s first big solo hits and a true classic track in Rock n’ Roll history, “Maggie May”. Enjoy.
The link to the video for the song, “Maggie May” by Rod Stewart, can be found here.
The link to the official website for Rod Stewart, can be found here.
Thanks, as always, to KEXP for playing the best music from today, as well as, the best from days gone by, too. The link to their wonderful website can be found here.