Between 1971, when his solo career took off, and 1994, Rod Stewart reached the number 1 spot on the Australian chart four times. Much more successful out on his own than with The Jeff Beck Group or Faces in that sense, the husky-voiced singer released a steady stream of popular songs, able to navigate changing musical trends in the process. Here are his eight biggest hits in Australia, all of which reached the top 3 on the singles chart.
8. "Young Turks”
Peak: number 3 (two weeks)
At 36, he might have been twice the age of the rebellious teens this song was about, but Rod Stewart – and his sound – remained youthful by tapping into the synth-driven new wave scene on this second single from Tonight I’m Yours. The title is never sung in “Young Turks”, resulting in people often calling it “Young Hearts Be Free Tonight” (or some variation) instead.
7. "Tonight’s The Night (Gonna Be Alright)”
Peak: number 3 (five weeks)
This sexy tune caused a stir at the time due to its pretty literal description of a night of love-making, echoed in the music video with Rod seducing his then-girlfriend, Swedish actress Britt Ekland, who also supplied the lines in French spoken towards the end of the song. As well as being banned for a time by the BBC, the song was targeted by Jesse Jackson’s Operation PUSH, which took a stand against sexually-oriented music during the mid-70s.
6. "Rhythm Of My Heart”
Peak: number 2 (two weeks)
Like many of his singles in the late 80s and early 90s (see also: “The Motown Song”, “Downtown Train”), and indeed at other points throughout his career, this Vagabond Heart single was a remake of a little-known song that Rod made much more famous. Originally recorded by Dutch performer René Shuman, “Rhythm Of My Heart” was based on the melody of traditional Scottish tune “Loch Lomond”. It was held off the number 1 spot in Australia by “The Grease Megamix”.
Peak: number 2 (three weeks)
ABBA’s “Mamma Mia” was responsible for denying Rod a chart-topper with this big ballad, which was also a remake – in this case of a song released three years earlier by The Sutherland Brothers. Despite Rod’s preference for another track, “Sailing” was the lead single from his Atlantic Crossing album, which was his first recorded in the US. The song itself, according to the singer, is the only one he has recorded completely sober.
4. "You’re In My Heart (The Final Acclaim)”
Peak: number 1 (one week)
By 1977, Rod’s relationship with Britt Ekland had ended, with the tracks on Foot Loose & Fancy Free dealing with the ups and downs of their romance. This chart-topper was one of the more complimentary songs, although Rod has stated that it wasn’t completely about Britt, since he was involved with a number of women at the time.
3. "All For Love” (with Bryan Adams and Sting)
Peak: number 1 (two weeks)
Taken from the film The Three Musketeers, this soundtrack single united three of the most successful male vocalists in the world at that point – and returned Rod to the number 1 spot for the first time in 15 years (and for what would be the final time). “All For Love” was written by Bryan Adams with his “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” collaborators, Michael Kamen and Mutt Lange.
2. "Da Ya Think I’m Sexy”
Released: 1978 (two weeks)
Peak: number 1
Rod jumped on the disco bandwagon with this song, which was inspired by what The Rolling Stones had done with “Miss You” the year before. The track featured what Rod described as “unconscious plagiarism” of “Taj Mahal” by Jorge Ben – the case was settled – and a string line from “If You Want My Love, Put Something Down On It” by Bobby Womack. In 1997, it returned to the top 3 of the Australian chart thanks to a remake by British dance act N-Trance with a featuring credit for Rod.
1. " Maggie May / Reason To Believe”
Peak: number 1 (four weeks)
The single that started it all for Rod is also his biggest hit in Australia. The double A-side comprised original track “Maggie May”, which was written about the first – much older – woman he had sex with at the age of 16, and his remake of “Reason To Believe”, which had previously been released by its writer, Tim Hardin, and The Carpenters. Both songs were included on Rod’s third album, Every Picture Tells A Story, which became his first of six number 1 albums in Australia.
Rod Stewart has just released You're In My Heart, a stunning compilation of his hits accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Get it on limited edition pink vinyl here!
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