On this date in 1971 the UK #1 was “Hey girl, don’t bother me” by the Tams. Treat yourself to this performance of a great chart-topper. Rod Stewart was at #2 with “Maggie May”, listed in some charts as a double A side with “Reason to Believe”, another pair of great songs. Here’s the classic “Top of the Pops” clip of the former, with John Peel pretending to play the mandolin, and here’s a later, Unplugged version of the latter. Again, treat yourself.
“Maggie May” was on its way to the top of the chart, both here in the UK and in the US. For a while in October 1971 Rod Stewart occupied the #1 slots in the singles and album charts in both countries. He was the first chart act to achieve this feat. Elvis Presley, the Beatles, The Rolling Stones: none of them managed to have the same single and album top the charts on both sides of the Atlantic simultaneously.
“Maggie May” is always on my mind at this time of the year, thanks to the opening lines: “Wake up Maggie / I think I’ve got something to say to you / It’s late September and I really should be back at school”. I have been singing it all day, right up to the three options laid out at the end of the song, preceded by the phrase “I suppose I could”:
- collect my books and get on back to school; or
- steal my daddy’s cue and make a living out of playing pool; or
- find myself a rock ’n roll band that needs a helping hand.
Rod clearly went for the third option. Smart move.