Listening Room: Rod Stewart - "Maggie May"

Rod Stewart may have become a caricature of his old self but "Maggie May" still holds up as a classic, no matter what the hip kids say.
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maggie mayIn college I had one of those old compact stereos.  I say old because this one came with a record player instead of a CD player.  A few years earlier I had grabbed a bunch of vinyl records from my aunt who was unloading them in a garage sale.  She had tons of great classics like the Beatles White Album, Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits, a couple of Simon & Garfunkel albums and many other classic rock records.  From there I started collecting any vinyl I could get my hands on, not because I was an audiophile who was trying to convince everyone that it sounded so much better than tapes and CDs, but rather I thought it cool to dig such an antiquated medium (and yes I realize that's just trading one hipster concept for another.)

One Saturday afternoon me and the relatively new girlfriend went out flea marketing with some of her hip friends.  They were interested in retro clothes while I kept digging through the record bins looking for something interesting.  What I found was "Maggie May."  The hip kids made fun of me mercilessly for it.  I think I still bought the record, but I probably buried it in the back of my collection.  I hate to admit the opinion of my girl and her friends (who I didn't know at all) made me rethink my own musical opinions but they did.  Sometime later I remember making fun of my brother for listening to Rod Stewart's greatest hits.  

Certainly Stewart has become a caricature of himself and there is plenty to make fun of in his career, but after many years I've come back to him. "Maggie May" is a great little song.  It's got that classic '70s rock feel.  Its warm and catchy as hell and slips away from the slickness that plagues some of Stewart's other songs like "Hot Legs."  Its a song that makes me want to play outside, to throw a ball around, or lounge in a hammock.  It's a song that begs to be sung along with and enjoyed for the simple pleasure of being with friends and losing your cares for a few minutes at least.

Stewart's voice is in fine form and the laid back beat makes one nostalgic for all that was good in the world, even if it never was that good.  I lost that vinyl record long ago, but I'll stand up proudly now and proclaim my love for "Maggie May" over and over again.