Rod Stewart

Maggie May

Composed by Martin Quittenton / Rod Stewart

Song Review by

"Maggie May" broke down all the doors for Rod Stewart upon its release in late summer 1971. If it hadn't, there would have been no justice in the world. While it may have sounded like a slight departure to fans of the Jeff Beck Group or the Faces, the hard rock band he was fronting in 1971, it was not just of piece with the dynamic blend of folk and rock he essayed on his solo records, it was its pinnacle. As the centerpiece of his third album, Every Picture Tells a Story, it occupied a key musical and emotional spot on the record. Draped in glittering, ornate acoustic guitars and mandolins, it was a wonderful blend of epic simplicity, self-deprecating humor and emotional truth, wistful melodies, and rocking rhythms. Stewart's tale may or may not have been autobiographical, but it didn't really matter. What mattered is that every fiber of it felt as if it was true, as if the boy seduced by an older woman really was Stewart. That's not just because of his shaded vocal performance -- not just shaping the delivery of the verses, but how he ad-libs in the coda, "I'll get on back home/One of these days" in a way that sounds every bit as true as the proper song -- or because the music sweeps the listener into the tale (it certainly does that), but because the words are so fully realized. It starts simple and builds, piling up details and wry jokes, always at the expense of the narrator, not "Maggie May." He's acutely aware of his age -- "I suppose I should collect my books and head on back to school/Or steal my daddy's cue and make a living off of playing pool" -- and he can't help but feel used by Maggie, no matter how much he's seduced by her charms. He's at the end of a coming-of-age tale, now wiser, a little embarrassed, and a little regretful, but richer for the experience. And the wondrous thing about it is that the listener feels like they went on the same journey as Stewart. It's like a novella condensed into song, teeming with colorful characters, surprising situations, and unforgettable moments. Stewart made songs as good as this -- the next tune on Every Picture, "Mandolin Wind," was just as good -- but he never topped it, and it continues to define everything that is great about Rod Stewart as a singer and songwriter.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Fiddler On The Roof/Decades Collection 1970s 1971
Various Artists
Metro Goldwyn Mayer 5:45
Sing It Again Rod 1973 PolyGram 5:15
The Best of Rod Stewart [Mercury] 1976 Mercury 5:14
No Image 1979 Warner Home Video
Mad Max/Decades Collection 1980s 1980
Various Artists
Metro Goldwyn Mayer 5:45
No Image 1981 Embassy
Absolutely Live 1982 Warner Bros. 5:03
No Image 1983
Various Artists
Sandstone Music
No Image 1984
Various Artists
MGM/UA
No Image 1986 Warner Bros.
Highs of the 70's, Vol. 1 1987
Various Artists
Warner Bros. 5:46
No Image 1989
Various Artists
Rhino
Storyteller: The Complete Anthology, 1964-1990 1989 Warner Bros. 5:45
The Best of Rod Stewart [Warner Bros.] 1989 WEA International 4:59
Singers & Songwriters: 40 Hits, All Orignal Recordings [Time-Life] 1990
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
Stay with Me 1991 Polygram 5:13
The Mercury Anthology 1992 Mercury/Chronicles 5:46
No Image 1992 Warner Reprise Video / Warner Bros.
No Image 1993 Pair
Unplugged...and Seated 1993 Rhino/Warner Bros. 6:00
Vintage 1993 Mercury / Polygram 5:17
Hits of the 70's [Polygram Special Markets #1] 1993
Various Artists
Universal Special Products / PSM 5:16
Top Gear [Concept] 1994
Various Artists
Concept 5:15
No Image 1994
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd.
Class Reunion 1971: Greatest Hits of 1971 1995
Various Artists
Rebound Records 5:48
No Image 1995
Various Artists
Special Music Company 5:15
Maggie May: Classic Years 1995 Alex
My Favourite Songs 1995 Universal International 5:15
The 70's Come Alive Again 1995
Various Artists
Universal Special Products 5:12
British Rock, Vols. 3-4 1995
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 4:54
The Best of Rod Stewart [Rebound] 1996 Eclipse Music Group
The Greatest Tour Bands Ever Recorded 1996
Various Artists
Universal Special Products 5:12
Handbags & Gladrags 1996 Mercury 5:13
25 Years of Number 1 Hits, Vol. 1 (1970-1971) 1996
Various Artists
Connoisseur
Best of the '70's [Polydor] 1996
Various Artists
Polydor 5:14
No Image 1997
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
Hard Rock Cafe: Classic Rock 1997
Various Artists
Rhino 5:15
The Best of Rod Stewart Featuring the Faces 1997 Timeless
WCBS FM 101.1 25th Anniversary, Vol. 3: The 70's - Silver Anniversary Edition 1997
Various Artists
Collectables 5:10
Best of Love: 16 Great Soft Rock Hits 1998
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 5:14
70's Rock Hits [Rebound] 1998
Various Artists
Rebound Records 3:41
The Rock Album 1998 Rebound Records 5:17
Daydream 1998
Various Artists
Delta Distribution 4:59
Have a Nice Decade: The 70s Pop Culture Box 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 5:19
Chronicles: 70's Rock Classics 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 4:59
Soft Rock Classics [Crimson] 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 4:58
Fantastic 70's 1998
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 5:15
Sounds of the Seventies: '70s Gold 1998
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Time/Life Music 5:16
The Very Best of Rod Stewart [Mercury] 1998 Mercury / Universal International 5:17
No Image 1999
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
Best of Love [Madacy] 1999
Various Artists
Madacy 5:14
Pure 70's 1999
Various Artists
Polygram / Polygram 5:14
Time in a Bottle: Mellow Rock Classics 1999
Various Artists
Delta Distribution 4:59
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Rod Stewart 1999 Mercury 5:46
Best of the Best: 70's Pop & Rock, Vol. 1 1999
Various Artists
Primary Colors 5:47
With Love [Universal] 1999
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 5:13
Sounds of the 70's [Global TV] 1999
Various Artists
Global TV 5:10
Classic Rod Stewart: The Universal Masters Collection 1999 Universal International 5:46
Rock On, 1971: Ain't No Sunshine 1999
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:44
Millennium Edition 2000 Universal International 5:48
Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1971 2000
Various Artists
Buddha Records 5:16
Singers & Songwriters: 1974-1975 [2000] 2000
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 5:15
No Image 2000
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 5:44
Reason to Believe [Spectrum] 2000 Spectrum Music / Universal 5:17
Number One 70's 2000
Various Artists
PolyGram 5:13
Amplified 2000
Various Artists
UTV 5:15
20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: Best of the '70s 2000
Various Artists
Hip-O 5:15
Casey Kasem: America's Top 10 Through the Years 2000
Various Artists
Top Sail Productions 5:16
No Image 2000
Various Artists
Realm Records 5:14
'70s Rock Hits 2001
Various Artists
Compose Records 5:14
Notre Dame University: Fightin' Irish 2001
Various Artists
Alphabet City Sports Records / Alphabet City 5:08
Casey Kasem: America's Top 10 Through Years - The 70's 2001
Various Artists
Top Sail Productions 5:16
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Telstar TV Records 5:15
No Image 2001 Mercury / Universal Music 5:16
Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1970-1974 2001
Various Artists
Buddha Records 5:16
The Very Best of Rod Stewart [Warner Bros.] 2001 Warner Bros. 5:46
Once Upon a Song 2001
Various Artists
Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 5:13
Singers and Songwriters: 1970-1972 2001
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
The Story So Far: The Very Best of Rod Stewart 2002 Warner Bros. / WEA International 5:46
Ultimate Power of Love 2002
Various Artists
Madacy 5:14
Dogtown and Z-Boys 2002
Original Soundtrack
Universal Distribution 5:15
Reason to Believe: The Complete Mercury Studio Recordings 2002 Mercury 5:50
Easy, Vol. 3 2002
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 5:12
It Had to Be You... The Great American Songbook [Video] 2003 J Records
Sweet Little Rock 'N' Roller/Reasons to Believe/Maggie May 2003 Spectrum Music 5:17
While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Vol. 2 2003
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Classic Rock for Dummies 2003
Various Artists
Superb Records 5:15
Elite: Rock 2003
Various Artists
Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd.
Legends: Do It Again 2003
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 5:15
Essential 70's [Universal] 2004
Various Artists
Universal International 5:15
No Image 2004
Various Artists
Brunswick / Universal
No Image 2004
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 5:15
Time 100: Music of Our Lives 1960-1980 2004
Various Artists
WEA International 5:15
Friends Reunited: Music of the Year 1971 2004
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 5:00
Capitol Gold Legends, Vol. 2 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 5:14
Classic Rock Ballads [Universal] 2004
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Doc Rock presents Campfire Classics 2004
Various Artists
BMG International 4:59
You're the Star 2004 Rremark 4:13
No Image 2004
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 4:57
Rock & Roll Collection 2004 Madacy Distribution / Madacy 5:17
VH1 Storytellers 2004 Rhino
Ultimate Love [Madacy] 2004
Various Artists
Madacy 5:14
Essential Collection 2004 Baricum
The Number One Musicals Album [2004] 2005
Various Artists
Universal International 5:13
Best #1 Singles in the World Ever 2005
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 5:13
1S - 38 of the Greatest Number 1 Singles of All Time 2005
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 5:12
Classic Rock Gold 2005
Various Artists
Hip-O 5:46
Lords of Dogtown 2005
Original Soundtrack
Geffen 5:15
Naughty But Nice 2005
Various Artists
Family Recordings 5:08
Very Best of FM Lovearth 2005 2005
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Gold 2005 Mercury / Universal Music 5:50
Rod Stewart Live 2005 J Records 5:40
Ultimate Seventies 2005
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
'70s: Gold 2006
Various Artists
Hip-O 3:42
No Image 2006
Various Artists
Industrie
Disky Friends Reunited 1971 2006
Various Artists
Universal/Spectrum 5:00
#1 Hits of the 70s [Madacy] 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 5:45
Rock Giants, Vol. 1 [BR] 2006
Various Artists
BR Music
Colour Collection 2006 Universal Distribution / Mercury 5:48
Greatest Ever! Easy: The Definitive Collection 2006
Various Artists
Union Square Music 5:14
Greatest Ever! Number 1's: The Definitive Collection 2006
Various Artists
Union Square Music
#1 Rock and Roll Hits 2006
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 5:45
No Image 2006
Various Artists
Brunswick / Universal 5:47
The Greatest Classic Rock Hits of All Time 2006
Various Artists
Universal Special Products 5:01
Essential Playlist: 20 Non-Stop Hits! 70s 2007
Various Artists
Madacy 3:38
Greatest Ever! Seventies 2007
Various Artists
Union Square Music 5:13
Number 1's: '70s Pop 2007
Various Artists
Hip-O 3:42
Ultimate Hits: Best of the '70s 2007
Various Artists
Madacy 3:38
The Seventies Collection 2007 Mercury 5:11
Live in London 2007 Immortal 5:30
Legends Informercial Set 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 5:15
Get Ready, Here Come the '70s 2007
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 5:13
Classic Rock Number 1s 2007
Various Artists
Hip-O 5:46
Dick Clark's American Bandstand 50th Anniversary 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 5:16
Music for Seventies 2007
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 5:13
Les 100 Plus Grands Tubes 2007
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 5:12
Playlist Plus: Classic Rock 2008
Various Artists
Hip-O 5:46
Dad's Jukebox 2008
Various Artists
Universal / Universal Distribution 5:13
Driving Songs: The Ultimate Collection 2008
Various Artists
Ultimate / Ultimate Entertainment 5:11
High Fidelity Hits of 70's FM 2008
Various Artists
Rhino 5:15
Some Guys Have All the Luck 2008 Rhino / Stiefel Entertainment / WB Records / Wea UK 5:47
The Definitive Rod Stewart 2008 Rhino / Warner Bros. 5:45
Ultimate 70s Collection [Collectables] 2008
Various Artists
Collectables 5:13
Tour of Duty: Top 100 2008
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 5:47
Rock & Roll '70s 2009
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 5:45
Dad Rocks! 2009
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 5:12
The Definitive Collection 1969-1978 2009 Mercury 5:47
The Rod Stewart Sessions 1971-1998 2009 Stiefel Entertainment / Warner Bros. / Rhino / Stiefel Entertainment/WB Records 5:27
Ultimate Collection: Dad 2009
Various Artists
Ultimate 5:12
School of "Rock 'n' Roll": 70s 2010
Various Artists
Collectables 5:13
Icon 2010 Island / Mercury 5:47
Best 1200 70's
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Campfire Classics
Various Artists
Phantom Import Distribution
No Image
Various Artists
Chanel
No Image
Various Artists
Word Distribution
De Pre Historie: 1971, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Eva 5:13
No Image
Various Artists
Sire 5:10
No Image
Various Artists
Polygram
Rock Ballads: Ultimate Collection
Various Artists
Ultimate
The Best Rock Anthems ...Ever!
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 5:12
No Image Encore
WCBS FM 101.1: The Anniversary Album - The 70s
Various Artists
Collectables 5:13
Windswept Pacific
Various Artists
Longitude
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