Say what you will about Rod Stewart — I mean, we all do — but I will forever appreciate that he wrote, recorded, and got his record company to release as a single a song that was a positive portrayal of a gay man (and also told the sad story of his murder) in 1976. That’s insane to think about nowadays, and says plenty for how Rod chose to use his superstar capital. And then on top of that, it hit #2 in the UK! (‘Twas a more modest hit in the US, charting at #30.)
In this interview with openly gay journalist Jim Farber from 2016, Stewart says it didn’t occur to him at the time that writing about his late friend George was a big deal. But it most certainly was. “Part I” is a lovely little portrait of Rod’s friend and reportage about his death, while “Part II” is a longing plea for him to still be there (“Georgie please stay/You take our breath away”). It doesn’t hurt, either, that Rod’s voice was at its most pleasingly raw in ’76. This is easily the loveliest entry in his vast catalog.