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Readers’ Poll: The 10 Best Rod Stewart Songs

See what track topped ‘Reason To Believe,’ ‘Mandolin Wind’ and ‘Young Turks’

Rod Stewart

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 14: Singer Rod Stewart performs at Sprint Center on August 14, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jason Squires/WireImage)

Jason Squires/WireImage/Getty

Later this month Rod Stewart will release his new album Another Country, which features 11 songs he wrote or co-wrote, including his great new single "Please." In a recent Rolling Stone feature, he explained the decision to return to songwriting. "I'd done the Great American Songbook albums," he said. "I'd done a soul album. I'd done a rock [covers] album. I backed myself into an alley because there's not much left to do except write." We asked our readers to vote for their favorite Rod Stewart songs. Here are the results. 

Rod Stewart

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 14: Singer Rod Stewart performs at Sprint Center on August 14, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jason Squires/WireImage)

Jason Squires/WireImage/Getty

5

“Hot Legs”

Some songs have hidden meanings that take years of study to full understand. And then there's a song like "Hot Legs," where basically everything you need to know is in the title. The song is about a woman with great legs that randomly shows up at 3:45 a.m. to surprise Rod Stewart with some late-night sex. "Hot legs, you're wearin' me out," he sings. "Hot legs, you can scream and shout/Hot legs, are you still in school?" That last one is a very pertinent question, but he doesn't seem to be waiting for an answer before getting down to business. Things were different in the 1970s. 

Rod Stewart

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 14: Singer Rod Stewart performs at Sprint Center on August 14, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jason Squires/WireImage)

Jason Squires/WireImage/Getty

4

“The Killing of Georgie”

The gay rights movement was still in its infancy in 1976 when Rod Stewart released "The Killing of Georgie." Very few mainstream pop acts were writing songs about the subject, but Stewart had a homosexual manager and publicist and wanted to write about their struggles. "The Killing of Georgie" is about a gay man thrown out of his home by his parents. He finds a community in New York, but is killed by a street gang one night after a Broadway show. It's one of Stewart's finest lyrics, and he recently brought it back into his live show. 

Rod Stewart

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 14: Singer Rod Stewart performs at Sprint Center on August 14, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jason Squires/WireImage)

Jason Squires/WireImage/Getty

3

“Reason to Believe”

Rod Stewart released his cover of Tim Hardin's "Reason to Believe" as a single in 1971, but disc jockeys turned it over and began playing the B-side instead — something about an affair with a woman named Maggie. Anyway, his cover of "Reason To Believe" didn't get a lot of attention until two decades later when he taped an MTV Unplugged special and brought it back. VH1 put it into heavy rotation and suddenly the song was a huge hit without that pesky B-side distracting everybody. 

Rod Stewart

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 14: Singer Rod Stewart performs at Sprint Center on August 14, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jason Squires/WireImage)

Jason Squires/WireImage/Getty

2

“Mandolin Wind”

This tender love song from Every Picture Tells a Story was never a single and was overshadowed by the many hits that Stewart scored solo and with the Faces during this time period. But looking back it's clear it was one of his finest tunes of the era. It's about a guy missing his love after they survived a horrific winter together. As the title makes clear, there's a lot of mandolin in the song. Outside of a single performance in 2010, he hasn't played it since 1993. 

Rod Stewart

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 14: Singer Rod Stewart performs at Sprint Center on August 14, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jason Squires/WireImage)

Jason Squires/WireImage/Getty

1

“Maggie May”

In 1961, a teenaged Rod Stewart went to the Beaulieu Jazz Festival with some buddies. It was there that he met an older woman that took his virginity in a beer tent. "How much older, I can't tell exactly," he writes in his 2012 memoir Rod: The Autobiography. "But old enough that she was highly disappointed by the blink-and-you'll-miss-it-brevity of the experience." The memory came back to him 10 years later when he wrote "Maggie May," a highly fictionalized experience of the early sexual encounter. It became his first huge hit and remains his signature song to this day. Rod has no idea if the real Maggie May knew the song was about her. 

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