Rod Stewart’s Breakout Hit Was Inspired By His First Time

In 1971, Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May” became a breakout hit that turned him into a true rock star. The song is told from the point of view of a teenage boy reflecting on his relationship with a predatory older woman. Though Stewart took some artistic license in the lyrics, inspiration for the tune came from his own experience with an older woman who took his virginity back when he was a teenager.

Stewart was a teenager when he had the encounter that inspired the song

In July 1961, a 16-year-old Stewart and some friends snuck into the Beaulieu Jazz Festival. Once inside, Stewart headed to a beer tent, where he was picked up by a woman about twice his age. He described the encounter in an interview with the Wall Street Journal years later: “I met an older woman who was something of a sexual predator. One thing led to the next, and we ended up nearby on a secluded patch of lawn. I was a virgin, and all I could think is, ‘This is it, Rod Stewart, you’d better put on a good performance here or else your reputation will be ruined all over North London.’ But it was all over in a few seconds.”

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