How The Rolling Stones inspired a classic Rod Stewart hit

How The Rolling Stones inspired a classic Rod Stewart hit

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How The Rolling Stones inspired a classic Rod Stewart hit
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How The Rolling Stones inspired Rod Stewart’s hit ‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?’

(Credits: Far Out / Alamy)

Music

For all of their notorious partying, first and foremost, The Rolling Stones are excellent musicians and have greatly influenced rock and roll. One of the most fascinating ways they’ve impacted popular culture is by directly inspiring one of Rod Stewart’s best-known hits, ‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?’ Notably, at the time of the song’s recording, the Stones and Stewart were already connected through guitarist Ronnie Wood. He played with the vocalist in the post-Small Faces band Faces and officially joined up with Mick Jagger and his group in 1976.

It transpires that Stewart’s 1978 disco-rock hit from Blondes Have More Fun was inspired by The Rolling Stones’ ‘Miss You’, taken from their own disco-flirting album of the same year, Some Girls. Confirmed by the drummer who played on ‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?’, former Vanilla Fudge member Carmine Appice. During an interview, the drummer also revealed that the song didn’t turn out as similar to The Rolling Stones as he first expected. 

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Speaking to Songfacts in 2004, Appice reflected on recording ‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?’, and how ‘Miss You’ impacted it. “We were in the studio, and ‘Miss You’ by The Rolling Stones was a big hit,” the drummer remembered. “Rod was always a guy that used to listen to what was going on around him.”

“He was always looking at the charts and listening. He was a big fan of The Rolling Stones, so when they came out with ‘Miss You,’ disco was really big at the time, so he wanted to do some kind of disco-y song, but nothing like Gloria Gaynor.” Famously, Gloria Gaynor’s best-known song is the 1978 disco-pop hit, ‘I Will Survive’.

Providing more detail about how ‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?’ emerged, Appice continued: “With the band, he would always tell us, ‘I want a song like this’ or ‘I want a song like that,’ so I went home and I came up with a bunch of chords and a melody. I presented it to him via a friend of mine, Duane Hitchings, who is a songwriter who had a little studio. We went in his studio with his drum machines and his keyboards, and he made my chords sound better.”

Appice said that he expected the Rod Stewart song to sound much more like The Rolling Stones than it does in the final mix. He was critical of producer Tom Dowd’s approach, as he felt it “dwarfed” the sound of the band. Regardless, though, it went to number one “everywhere” when it was released. 

Appice said: “We gave Rod a demo of the verses and the bridge, and Rod came up with the chorus. We played it with the band many, many ways before we got the correct arrangement with Tom Dowd. Unfortunately, they put so much stuff on it that it dwarfed the sound of the band. It made the band sound smaller because it had strings and two or three keyboard players, congas, and drums. When we were doing it, we thought it was going to be more like The Rolling Stones with just the band playing it. It came out and went to #1 everywhere.”

Listen to ‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?’ below.


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How The Rolling Stones inspired a classic Rod Stewart hit

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