Saturday, June 8, 2013

Rod Stewart - Body Wishes

This week (June 10th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Body Wishes, the twelfth studio album from Rod Stewart. It charted at number 30 on the US Billboard Hot 200, number 19 in Japan, number 15 in Canada, number 14 in Australia, number 6 in the Netherlands, number 5 in the UK, number 3 in Sweden and number 2 in Germany. The cover was a homage of Elvis Presley’s 1959 album 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong.

Backing Stewart up on this album were Tony Brock (drums and backing vocals), Jim Cregan (guitar and backing vocals), Jay Davis (bass and backing vocals), Robin LeMesurier (guitar), Kevin Savigar (keyboards and synthesizers), Tommy Vig (percussion) and Jimmy Zavala (saxophone and harmonica).

Side one opens with “Dancin’ Alone”, the B-side to the second single. The lyrics give the implication that sometimes you have to find satisfaction in yourself, without the aid of a partner.

The first single released was “Baby Jane”; it went to number 14 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 9 in the Netherlands, number 3 in Sweden, number 2 in Switzerland, and number 1 in Germany, Ireland, New Zealand and the UK. With a strong dance beat behind it, this one tells the tale of a woman who had moved up in her social standings and the guy who was so in love with her.

Stewart adopts a bit of a spoken-singing style on the start of “Move Me”, a song about love that has grown cold and unaffectionate. The guy pleads for anything, even a little touch, to show that she still cares.

Things slow down a tad with the title track “Body Wishes”. It was released as the third single and went to number 21 in Switzerland, number 14 in Ireland and number 2 in Germany. The lyrics are laced with, by today’s standards, rather mild sexual innuendos.

“Sweet Surrender” was the fourth and final single. The song has a country-twinge to it musically that makes for a nice change of pace.

Side two begins with “What Am I Gonna Do (I’m So In Love With You)”. As the second single, it went to number 35 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 3 in Switzerland and the UK, number 2 in Ireland, and number 1 in Germany and New Zealand. I remember this one playing on the radio during the summer months of 1983; I like the swing of the rhythm and the enduring profession of love in the lyrics.

The B-side to the fourth single was “Ghetto Blaster”, a synth heavy dance track (which ironically starts with a line that says “it ain’t meant to make you dance” - failed there). The topical lyrics bring up the subjects of starving children, war and government corruption. There is even a child chorus saying “take us to your leader”.

“Ready Now”, the B-side to the first single, is about coming to accept that some relationships are poison and that the only way to change things is to walk.

“Strangers Again” slows things down one more time with another song that addresses a troubled relationship.

“Satisfied” closes out the album with a ballad, this time with a rich orchestration behind it. Via the lyrics, Stewart speaks to the ladies and pleads with them to make sure they tell their men how much they appreciate them.

I recently picked up a five-pack of Rod Stewart CDs from the 80’s for twenty dollars (a great deal), however Body Wishes was skipped over in the sequence. I have read that it critically was panned back at the time it was released, but I did not find it to be a bad album. Yes, the lyrics seem to indicate that Stewart was struggling with some personal things and chose to work them out via his music. But that is not an uncommon thing at all. I would have liked a bit more variety in themes myself but what is presented does work.


HERC said...

My girlfriend back then loved the album's two singles and she played them constantly.

Will you be reviewing the other discs in the box? Looks like you haven't reviewed any of his other albums...yet. Do you have a favorite Rod Stewart album?

My favorite album of his is Every Picture Tells A Story - it's one of my Top 10 Desert Island discs. My favorite 1980s album from him is Tonight I'm Yours. I stopped buying his albums after Camouflage.

Well, that's partially true: I did buy each of his American Songbook discs as they were released for my Mom either as Mother's Day, birthday or Christmas presents.

And a few years back, Target had the Definitive Rod Stewart 2CD+1DVD on sale so I picked that up to top off my collection.

Have listened to his latest album Time on Spotify twice through now but nothing really has struck my fancy.

Martin Maenza said...

Herd, I am sure I will get to other Rod Stewart albums as time and schedule allow. Off the top of my head, I do not have a favorite - that collection of five was the first of his albums I ever owned.