Every Picture Tells a Story

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Every Picture Tells a Story
Studio album by Rod Stewart
Released May 1971 (US)
July 1971 (UK)
Recorded January 1971
Genre Roots rock[1]
Length 40:31
Label Mercury
Producer Rod Stewart
Rod Stewart chronology
Gasoline Alley
Every Picture Tells a Story
Never a Dull Moment

Every Picture Tells a Story is the third album by Rod Stewart, released in the middle of 1971. Its incorporates hard rock, folk, and blues styles.[2] It went to number one on both the UK and U.S. charts and finished third in the Pazz & Jop critics' poll for best album of 1971.[3] It has been an enduring critical success, including a number 172 ranking on Rolling Stone magazine's 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time[4] and inclusion in both 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (2005) and 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die (2008).[citation needed]


The album is a mixture of rock, country, blues, soul, and folk, and includes his breakthrough hit, "Maggie May", co-written by classical guitarist Martin Quittenton, as well as "Reason to Believe", a song from Tim Hardin's debut album of 1966. "Reason" had initially been the A-side of the single and "Maggie May" the B-side, until general reaction resulted in their reversal.[citation needed]

The album also included a version of Arthur Crudup's "That's All Right (Mama)" (the first single for Elvis Presley) and a cover of the Bob Dylan song "Tomorrow Is a Long Time," an outtake from Dylan's 1963 album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (it would see release on 1971's, Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. II).[citation needed]

All five members of the Faces (with whom Stewart at that time was lead vocalist) appeared on the album, with guitarist/bassist Ronnie Wood and keyboardist Ian McLagan on Hammond B3 organ being most prominent. Due to contractual restrictions, the personnel listings were somewhat vague, and it was unclear that the full Faces line-up recorded the version of the Motown hit "(I Know) I'm Losing You".[5] Other contributors included Ray Jackson on mandolin (though Stewart forgot his name and merely mentioned "the mandolin player in Lindisfarne" on the sleeve). Micky Waller on drums. Maggie Bell performed backing vocals (mentioned on the sleeve as "vocal abrasives") on the title track, and Madeline Bell sang backup on the next track, "Seems Like A Long Time". Pete Sears played all the piano on the album except for one track, "I'm Losing You" which featured Ian McLagan on piano, along with the Faces as a band.[citation needed]

It reached the number-one position in both the UK (for six weeks) and the US (four weeks) at the same time that "Maggie May" was topping the singles charts in both territories, making Stewart the first artist to achieve such a feat. It has often been voted among the best British albums of all time.[citation needed]

In 1992, the album was awarded the number-one spot in Jimmy Guterman's book The Best Rock 'N' Roll Records of All Time: A Fan's Guide to the Stuff You Love.[citation needed]

Every Picture Tells a Story was ranked 99th in a 2005 survey held by British television's Channel 4 to determine the 100 greatest albums of all time.[citation needed]

In 2009 the song "Every Picture Tells a Story" was used for the soundtrack of Rockstar Games' "Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned". This album sold 4 million copies worldwide.[citation needed]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[2]
Robert Christgau A+[6]
Rolling Stone (average)[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 5/5 stars[8]

In his original Rolling Stone review, John Mendelsohn said "there's enough that is unqualifiedly magnificent."[7]

Track listing[edit]

Side one[edit]

  1. "Every Picture Tells a Story" (Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood) - 6:01
  2. "Seems Like a Long Time" (Theodore Anderson) - 4:02
  3. "That's All Right" (Arthur Crudup) - 3:59
  4. "Amazing Grace" (Traditional, arranged by Stewart) - 2:03
  5. "Tomorrow Is a Long Time" (Bob Dylan) - 3:43

Side two[edit]

  1. "Henry" (Martin Quittenton) - 0:32
  2. "Maggie May" (Stewart, Quittenton) - 5:16
  3. "Mandolin Wind" (Stewart) - 5:33
  4. "(I Know) I'm Losing You" (Norman Whitfield, Eddie Holland, Cornelius Grant) - 5:23
  5. "Reason to Believe" (Tim Hardin) - 4:06

Notes "Henry" was only printed on the center label of the original vinyl LP release, not on the sleeve. It is also omitted in the track listing of some CD versions, as in some pressings of the album and most Stewart compilations, the "Henry" intro is incorporated into the full "Maggie May" track.

"Amazing Grace" is not listed on the label on most editions, and on some CDs is part of "That's All Right". It is actually written by John Newton.

Chart positions[edit]

Year Chart Position
1971 US Billboard Top LPs[9] 1
Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart
UK Albums Chart[10]




  1. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2006). The Essential Rock Discography. Canongate. p. 1046. ISBN 1841958271. "...the album was a masterclass in roots rock..." 
  2. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Every Picture Tells a Story at AllMusic. Retrieved 29 November 2005.
  3. ^ "The 1971 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. 10 February 1972. Retrieved 16 Jul 2011. 
  4. ^ Levy, Joe; Steven Van Zandt (2006) [2005]. "172 | Every Picture Tells a Story - Rod Stewart". Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (3rd ed.). London: Turnaround. ISBN 1-932958-61-4. OCLC 70672814. Retrieved 16 Jul 2011. 
  5. ^ Liner notes, Faces' The Definitive Rock Collection, Rhino Records, 2007
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: Every Picture Tells a Story". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 22 January 2008. 
  7. ^ a b Mendelsohn, John (8 July 1971). "Every Picture Tells A Story". Rolling Stone (86). Retrieved 15 Aug 2011. 
  8. ^ "Rod Stewart: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 23 November 2012. 
  9. ^ Rod Stewart > Every Picture Tells a Story > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums at AllMusic. Retrieved 20 Aug 2011.
  10. ^ "Number 1 Albums – 1970s". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 9 February 2008. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  11. ^ Rod Stewart- Every Picture Tells a Story @Discogs.com Retrieved 8-13-2011.
Preceded by
Tapestry by Carole King
Billboard 200 number-one album
2–29 October 1971
Succeeded by
Imagine by John Lennon
Preceded by
Daddy Who? ... Daddy Cool by Daddy Cool
Australian Kent Music Report number-one album
1 November - 5 December 1971
Succeeded by
Teaser and the Firecat by Cat Stevens
Preceded by
Fireball by Deep Purple
Imagine by John Lennon
UK Albums Chart number-one album
2 October 1971 - 30 October 1971
13 November 1971 – 27 November 1971
Succeeded by
Imagine by John Lennon
Top of the Pops, Volume 20
by Various artists