Rod Stewart, “Mandolin Wind”

Rod Stewart’s career is a large book with several chapters, from his blues-singing days with Jeff Beck (“I Ain’t Superstitious”), to his rock/pop work with the Faces (“Stay With Me”), to his solo albums that included a nod to disco music (“Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?”), as well as several albums of his take on the Great American Songbook and other standards. Somehow, he has managed to be extremely successful with all of these. But because of his stylistic changes and his perennial sex appeal, the side of Stewart that has gone largely ignored is his songwriting ability. While many of his original tracks have been co-writes, he wrote frequently by himself in the early years. “Mandolin Wind,” from his 1971 Every Picture Tells a Story album, is a tune he wrote single-handedly that is still cherished as one of that era’s most sensitive and compelling love ballads. “Mandolin Wind” is notable for being a song that is based solely on imagination, or is maybe inspired by cinema or literature, as opposed to any type of personal experience; the song’s backdrop is a harsh winter on the American prairie, something Stewart wouldn’t have had much firsthand knowledge of. And it’s…

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