Though he was in the music business since the early 1960s, it wasn’t until 1971 that Rod Stewart would be a household name. And it would begin with his third album, Every Picture Tells a Story.
Released in May 1971, it was his first album where Stewart alone would be at the helm, after co-producing his first two solo albums with Lou Reizner. Most of the songs on the track listing were covers, all of which would display Stewart’s mixture of rock, soul, blues, folk and country. They include covers of the Temptations’ “(I Know) I’m Losing You,” Bob Dylan’s “Tomorrow Is a Long Time,” Tim Hardin’s “Reason to Believe” and the song that first made Elvis Presley famous, the Arthur Crudup-penned “That’s All Right.”
But there were also a few originals. They were the title track (written with Ronnie Wood), “Mandolin Wind,” and co-written with composer Martin Quittenton, the breakout single, “Maggie May,” which hit number one.
Every Picture Tells a Story was widely acclaimed by critics upon release, and became Stewart’s first number one album in the U.S. and U.K., knocking artists including Carole King, Deep Purple and John Lennon from the top. It would also go on to be certified platinum in America, and became Stewart’s biggest landmark album, going on to be included in both Rolling Stone’s list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (at number 172), and the book, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.