Friday, June 17, 2011

#172 Every Picture Tells a Story - Rod Stewart

The first time I saw Rod Stewart was when he was singing at Princess Diana's Memorial Concert where my mother and I debated whether or not he was wearing a diaper.  I had of course heard "Maggie May" because as a child my father would remind me, every time that song came on, that they were going to name me Maggie May (after the song) but on second thought, decided to name me after the Katy Freeway in Houston instead.  I am not entirely sure they knew what the song was really about, or maybe I'm being naive.

Brief album facts:
This album was released in 1971 and includes "Maggie May" "Mandolin Wind," "Every Picture Tells a Story" and my favorite "Tomorrow is Such a Long Time."

The Rolling Stone Magazine (and Website) said this blurb about it:
"We had no preconceived ideas of what we were going to do," Stewart said. "We would have a few drinks and strum away and play." With a first-class band of drinking buddies (including guitarist Ron Wood and drummer Mickey Waller), Stewart made a loose, warm, compassionate album, rocking hard with mostly acoustic instruments. "Mandolin Wind" was his moving ballad of a country couple toughing out a long winter on the farm; the title tune was a hilarious goof. But Stewart scored his first Number One hit with "Maggie May," his autobiographical tale of a young stud getting kicked in the head by an older lady.

I didn't know what I was about to hear when I began listening to the album, but I was pleasantly surprised with all the songs.  I had never heard "Tomorrow is Such a Long Time" before, and I almost broke my rule that I have to listen to the whole album twice before I can skip around, because I couldn't stop thinking of it as I pushed forward toward the end of the album.  If you haven't heard that song before, you should find it and listen to it, because it's quite beautiful, and I'm surprised I had never come across it before.

The only thing that annoyed me was his break out in "Amazing Grace" at the end of "That's All Right." It immediately reminded me of those terrible christian infomercials about christian artists and all the godgasmic music to be heard if you call 1-800-GodInsideMe now.  I thought of all the poor people who had to listen to it on Record Players and couldn't fast forward...

Whether or not Rod wears diapers, there is no doubt in my mind that 40 years ago, he was quite the stud and a fantastic musician.  I strongly recommend this album if you haven't heard it before.

Yay, first post!  I already feel detoxed from Miley Cyrus


  1. I was given a copy of this album by a former college roommate on this ancient technology called the cassette tape. When he taped it, he took off That's Alright Mama because in the 80s music snobs thought Elvis was a joke. Most of them still do, but there are now music snobs who measure other music snobs by their love of Elvis. If they don't at least respect Elvis, they're dismissed as idiots.

    Happily, I have this album on CD now, as well as most of Rod's other pre-disco records, including his albums as the singer with the Jeff Beck Group, who do incendiary versions of other Elvis nuggets, All Shook Up and Jailhouse Rock.

    Good luck with this project. I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts upon first listen. I envy the innocence of your ears.

  2. Thank you so much for your comment! That's a great story about the tape, and haha, I'm old enough to know what a cassette tape is, but I was listening to the Aladdin soundtrack on one instead of Rod Stewart. I do hope this project doesn't turn me into a music snob, but maybe in 498 more posts I'll be able to hold up in a conversation with the best of them. :)

    I am actually really excited to listen to Elvis and Frank Sinatra because both figures are so pervasive in movies that actually hearing the original albums will be pretty special.

    I'm almost done with the second listening to Nevermind by Nirvana, and I'll post about that later this afternoon.

    Thanks for the luck, it's a long project and I'll need encouragement down the line; I'm sure not all this music is enjoyable regardless of how important it is.

    I envy that other generations had real music. (even though we do get lady gaga!!)

  3. Enjoyed the post, Katy! I have a soft spot for Early Rod records (pre-disco, circa Faces). If you like Every Picture, you'll probably like the two previous records as well (The Rod Stewart Album, with a great cover of "Street Fighting Man," "Handbags and Gladrags" and Gasoline Alley). But the highlights on Picture are superior to anything Rod recorded previously.

  4. I forgot to mention that Rod's choice on the debut record to cover the Stones' "Street Fighting Man" was not an accident: he and his band learned to make acoustic songs rock from the Stones' Beggars Banquet. Is that album in the RS Top 500?