Rod Stewart – Tonight’s The Night

The hoary old argument about the art and the artist inevitably arises when considering serial offender Rod Stewart’s 1976 hit Tonight’s The Night.

On the one hand it’s a great tune, albeit one shorn of any vestige of the blues with which he made his name and reputation, and any of the raunch that characterised his spell at the helm of The Faces.
 
On the other, it’s a creepy first-person narrative about his seduction of a “virgin child” by the fireside. One can only hope he doesn’t mean it literally.
 
The lyrics come close to Carry On territory with his invitation to the mystery lady/girl to “spread your wings and let me come inside.” Urgh!
 
The whole thing, illustrated by a video that makes you cringe inwardly and​ outwardly as Rod loosens his bow tie, takes a slurp of wine and winks.
 
It only gets worse when Britt Ekland, his latest blonde girlfriend of the time, starts murmuring in French about how she’s frightened and wants her mummy.
 
Rod’s not bothered, though. Just so long as he gets his leg over (spot the laddish gesture at 2.47).
 
The important things, he explains, are that she “lets her inhibitions run wild.” And on no account “deny her man’s desire.” Or, alarmingly, say a word afterwards – we wouldn’t want the Yew Tree boys hearing about it, would we?
 
Thing is, if you can overlook the creepy lyrics and video – quite an ask in this day and age – it’s a great pop song. At least it was in 1976.

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