Rod Stewart had already found success fronting the Jeff Beck Group and the Faces in the late 1960s when his debut solo single, “Maggie May”, hit the charts. The song became the definitive song of his lengthy and highly successful career.
The song barely made it on the Every Picture Tells a Story album and then was relegated to the B-side of “Reason to Believe.” When DJ’s flipped it over, they discovered what Stewart has confirmed is, more or less, the true story of his losing his virginity as a teen to an older woman. WK
The song, however, has not become iconic because of salaciousness, but sincerity and great storytelling. It works like a novella with “colorful characters, surprising situations, and unforgettable moments.” AMG Musically, the song offers Stewart’s “usual fine, raspy singing” TB and “relentless drum-bashing” RS500 from Mickey Waller, which critic Greil Marcus amusingly proclaimed deserving of a Nobel Prize for physics. MA
“Maggie May” is featured in the Dave’s Music Database book The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era, 1954-1999 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Top 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll. It also makes best-of lists from Virgin Radio as well as NME and Rolling Stone magazines.
Resources and Related Links:
- the DMDB page for “Maggie May”
- Rod Stewart’s DMDB Encyclopedia entry
- AMG All Music Guide
- CR Toby Creswell. (2005). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time. Thunder’s Mouth Press: New York, NY. Page 856.
- MA Dave Marsh. (1989). The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. New York, NY; New American Library. Page 182.
- RS500 Rolling Stone’s “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” (12/04).
- TB Thunder Bay Press. (2006). Singles: Six Decades of Hot Hits & Classic Cuts. Outline Press Ltd.: San Diego, CA. Page 129.
- WK Wikipedia.org