|Single by Rod Stewart|
|from the album Every Picture Tells a Story|
|A-side||"(I Know) I'm Losing You"|
|Genre||Folk rock, soft rock|
"Mandolin Wind" is a song written by Rod Stewart. It was first released on Stewart's 1971 album Every Picture Tells a Story and later as the b-side of a single from that album, his cover of "(I Know) I'm Losing You." In 1972, it was covered by The Everly Brothers on their album Stories We Could Tell, and in 1977 it was covered by Earl Scruggs on his album Strike Anywhere. The song has also appeared on numerous Rod Stewart compilation and live albums, including Sing It Again Rod, Storyteller – The Complete Anthology: 1964–1990 and Unplugged...and Seated. It has also appeared on Everly Brothers and Earl Scruggs compilation albums.
"Mandolin Wind" has been heavily praised by music critics. In his review of Every Picture Tells a Story in Rolling Stone Magazine, John Mendelsohn refers to the song as being "nearly as good" as the #1 single off the album, "Maggie May." Rock: The Rough Guide went further, calling the song the highlight of the album. Stewart Mason of Allmusic called the song "every bit...equal" to "Maggie May," and Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine called the song "unbearably poignant." In its review of Every Picture Tells a Story, Billboard Magazine called "Mandolin Wind" an "excellent Stewart composition," and in its review of Stories We Could Tell the magazine noted that the song offered "great single potential." Rod Stewart biographers Tim Ewbank & Stafford Hildred refer to the song as "a stunning ballad."
The song combines elements of rock music and folk music. The lyrics tell of the singer's love for his woman after she stayed with him through a particularly brutal winter on the American frontier. The song uses mostly acoustic instruments, with a particularly prominent mandolin part. Stewart has stated that he "always thought the mandolin was such a romantic-sounding instrument." Although the tempo remains slow to medium throughout, Stewart Mason describes the song as "a masterpiece of dynamics." The song rocks harder during the fadeout than during the rest of the song. Mason finds the song's "simple, sweet declaration of love and fidelity" more believable than Stewart's later love songs.
Stewart has stated that his "goal in life is to play 'Mandolin Wind' and make it sound like the record."
The identity of the mandolin player on "Mandolin Wind" is unclear. The liner notes state that "the mandolin was played by the mandolin player in Lindisfarne" but that Rod Stewart had forgotten his name. In 2003, Ray Jackson claimed to be the mandolin player on the album, at least for the song "Maggie May." Ray Jackson is the talented mandolin player from English folk-rock band Lindisfarne. Mason attributes the mandolin playing to Martin Quittenton. The liner notes to Every Picture Tells a Story list Quittenton only as the acoustic guitar player.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Various Artists – Roots of Rock: Soft Rock". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
- Erlewine, S.T. "Every Picture Tells a Story". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
- "What's Playing". Billboard Magazine. 1 January 1972.
- Grady, M. "Stories We Could Tell". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
- "Strike Anywhere". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
- "Mandolin Wind". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
- Mendelsohn, J. (8 July 1971). "Every Picture Tells a Story Review". Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
- Buckley, J., ed. (1999). Rock: The Rough Guide (2 ed.). Rough Guides. p. 1013. ISBN 978-1-85828-457-6.
- Mason, S. "Mandolin Wind". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
- "Billboard Album Reviews". Billboard Magazine. 19 June 1971. p. 49.
- "Billboard Album Reviews". Billboard Magazine. 25 March 1972. p. 37.
- Ewbank, T. & Hildred, S. (2005). Rod Stewart: The New Biography. Citadel Press. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-8065-2644-7.
- Thompson, D. (2011). 1000 Songs that Rock Your World. Krause Publications. p. 74. ISBN 978-1-4402-1422-6.
- Charone, B. (November 1975). "Rod Jumps Teams". Creem Magazine.
- Southall, B. (2009). "Chapter 7: Ray Jackson". Pop Goes to Court: Rock 'N' Pop's Greatest Court Battles. Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-036-6.
- "Every Picture Tells a Story Liner Notes".