0113: “Stay With Me” by Faces

Goddamnit Rod Stewart could sing. If you were born after 1980 chances are you may only know Rod Stewart as an elder crooner, and as the guy who sang “Maggie May.” If you were born after 1980 chances are you may only know Ronnie Wood as Keef’s backup guitarist with The Rolling Stones but goddmanit that guy could play lead. If you were born after 1980 you may not know the name Faces but you almost certainly have heard the song “Ooh La La” (which Ronnie, and not Rod, sang lead vocals on) and “Stay With Me,” even if you did not know the band name that produced them. Regardless of when you born you may not know the name Ian McLagan but goddamnit that guy could play any instrument in the genus keyboard. The ass-kicking rock ability of “Stay With Me” is on par with any A- song from the catalogs of The Rolling Stones, The Who, and The Stooges, which, let’s be honest, is one of the highest compliments one can write about a rock song. Stewart sings and shouts with a raspy freewheeling energy, Wood unleashes towering riff after towering riff, and McLagan plays up his moments with a Wurlitzer that make for some of the most memorable keyboard use in a rock song in all of modern history. Not to minimize the efforts of Ronnie Lane (bass) and Kenney Jones (drums), who, goddamn, work up some magic on this track too, but this song is defined by the wizardry of Stewart, Wood, and McLagan. Their power is at the forefront here and it is inescapable. “In the morning/Don’t say you love me/’Cause only kick you out of the door” Stewart sings to open the track in communion with Wood’s otherworldly guitar riffs and McLagan’s Wurlitzer. This is one of the best rock songs of the ’70s, amongst a murderer’s row of rock songs from that decade (see: what Keef and Mick Taylor did a year later on Exile on Main Street before Ronnie Wood replaced Taylor). Goddamnit Rod Stewart could sing.

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