Saturday, February 10, 1979

Rod Stewart hit #1 with “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy”

First posted 3/7/2021; updated 3/16/2021.

Da Ya Think I’m Sexy

Rod Stewart

Writer(s): Rod Stewart, Carmine Appice, Duane Hitchings (see lyrics here)


Released: November 10, 1978


First Charted: November 18, 1978


Peak: 14 US, 15 CB, 15 HR, 16 RR, 5 RB, 1 CL, 11 UK, 14 CN, 12 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 0.5 UK, 3.0 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 155.0 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

“Da Ya Think I’m Sexy” gave Stewart his third chart-topping hit after “Maggie May” in 1971 and “Tonight’s the Night” in 1976. The song reached #1 in the United States, Australia, Canada, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom. It was a top 10 hit in Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and Switzerland.

According to Carmine Appice, who had recently joined Stewart’s band and co-wrote the song, Stewart “was always looking at the charts and listening. He was a big fan of the Rolling Stones…so he wanted to do some kind of disco-y song, something like ‘Miss You.’” SF Some fans and critics thought his “defection to disco was unforgivable.” BR1 Critic Greil Marcus said in The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll “rarely has anyone betrayed his talent so completely.” BR1

It’s also been said it “could be the worst example of narcissim on record.” KL While the song certainly played on Stewart’s image as an international playboy, he insisted he was singing in the third person. KL Co-writer Duane Hitchings said the song was “a spoof on guys from the ‘cocaine lounge lizards’ of the Saturday Nightr Fever days.” WK

The song also stirred claims of plagiarism from Brazilian songwriter Jorge Ben. He said the melody of “Da Ya” was stolen from his song “Taj Mahal.” BR1 While it never reached court, reissues of the song have credited Ben KL and Stewart donated the royalties from the song to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). WK Stewart admitted to “unconscious plagiarism” in his 2012 autobiography. WK He also said the “song’s signature synthesizer riff” came from Bobby Womack’s “If You Want My Love Put Something Down on It.” WK


Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Rod Stewart
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 497.
  • KL Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh (2005). 1000 UK Number One Hits: The Stories Behind Every Number One Single Since 1952. London, Great Britain: Omnibus Press. Page 243.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

The Police charted with "Roxanne"

First posted 2/10/2012; updated 2/9/2021.

Roxanne

The Police

Writer(s): Sting (see lyrics here)


Released: April 17, 1978


First Charted: February 10, 1979


Peak: 32 US, 31 CB, 39 HR, 1 CL, 2 CO, 12 UK, 31 CN, 34 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.4 UK, 0.4 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 126.3 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Drummer Stewart Copeland told Rolling Stone “That song has been the turnaround for us.” RS500 Punk was hitting London in 1977 and The Police’s brand of art rock wasn’t well received. The group was excited when they landed a gig as an opening act for a punk band at a Paris club. However, upon arrival it turned out there was no other act and the group ended up playing to an empty house. SJ

Things got worse when the band’s car broke down after the gig. Sting, the band’s singer and chief songwriter, decided to stake a stroll, finding himself wandering through Paris’ red-light district. As Sting recounted, “It was the first time I’d seen prostitutes on the streets…I imagined being in love with one of those girls.” SJ

The idea for the song “Roxanne” was born. The namesake was inspired by the heroine in the play Cyrano de Bergerac. A poster for the play was featured in the hotel lobby where the band was staying in Paris. RS500

Sting originally conceived of the song as a bossa nova, but Copeland suggested the final rhythmic form as a tango. WK Although Sting wasn’t particularly impressed with the end result, the group’s manager, Miles Copeland III, was “immediately enthusiastic.” WK The single was the first major-label release for the group after they’d released “Fall Out” on an independent label in 1977. SF It didn’t chart initially, but was rereleased after “Can’t Stand Losing You” became a minor UK hit in the fall of 1978.


Resources and Related Links: