46 Years Ago: Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May” Charts For The First Time, And Begins Its Quest For The #1 Spot
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“Maggie May” Makes Its Debut On Billboard Hot 100
Featured on Rod Stewart’s 1971 album Every Picture Tells a Story, his ever iconic “Maggie May” burst onto the Billboard Hot 100 chart on August 14th, 1971, throwing elbows and all but demanding that the other 99 songs on the list take their rightful place behind it as it geared up for its run at the top.
A bright, upbeat tune that expresses the ambivalence and contradictory emotions of a young man involved in a relationship with an older woman, “Maggie May” managed to be lighthearted enough to stand the test of time and musically solid enough to earn the respect of fans and critics alike, Stewart’s signature rasp bringing a level of maturity to the story that when paired with the clock steady rhythm section, shimmering organ and twinkling guitars made “Maggie May” a fun, deeply introspective glimpse into Stewart’s rite of passage.
Fun Fact: The “Maggie May” in the story wasn’t actually named Maggie May. Stewart says that the name was taken from “… an old Liverpudlian song about a prostitute.”
Though it would ultimately top the charts in four countries – the U.S., Australia, the U.K. and Canada – Stewart later said that at first he “didn’t think much” of “Maggie May,” citing a lack of confidence both within himself and coming from the record label as well.
“At first, I didn’t think much of “Maggie May.” I guess that’s because the record company didn’t believe in the song. I didn’t have much confidence then. I figured it was best to listen to the guys who knew better. What I learned is sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t.”
We can’t even imagine what would have been if he’d scrapped it!