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Rod Stewart won’t drop “raunchier” songs from live shows: “They represent that era”

Rod Stewart defended his songs and said he gives the audience "what they want"

By Emma Kelly

Rod Stewart wears a silver jacket and polka dot shirt performing live
Rod Stewart will not retire some of his more old-fashioned lyrics. (Photo: YouTube)

Rod Stewart will not retire his “raunchier” songs from setlists, saying that they “represent an era”.

The 76-year-old appeared on ‘Loose Ends’ on BBC Radio 4 earlier this week when he was asked by presenter Clive Anderson if he had ever felt pressured to drop some of his “raunchier” tunes that “don’t fit in with the modern way of thinking”.

Examples given included ‘Tonight’s The Night’, which features the lyrics “Don’t deny your man’s desire/ You’d be a fool to stop this tide” and “Don’t say a word my virgin child/ Just let your inhibitions run wild.”

Stewart said: “Things like ‘Hot Legs’ and ‘Stay With Me’ and ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy’ were all written in a different era.

“They represent that era, and that’s what makes them worthy.”

He continued: “I give the audience what they want.

“No matter how you try when you get in my position people do not really care about new songs. They just love all the old stuff. I am lucky that I have got a barrow load of old stuff.

“They are great songs if they last this long. If you look at ‘Maggie May’, every time I play ‘Maggie May’ I say, most of you were not even born when this came out. So it must be a good song.”

The Rolling Stones on stage
The Rolling Stones will no longer play Brown Sugar. (Picture: Alamy)

Last month, The Rolling Stones confirmed they would no longer be playing their 1971 song ‘Brown Sugar’ on tour due to the lyrics about slavery.

On the song, Mick Jagger sings: “Gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields/ Sold in a market down in New Orleans/ Scarred old slaver knows he’s doing alright/ I hear him whip the women just around midnight.”

Speaking to The Los Angeles Times, Jagger said: “We’ve played Brown Sugar every night since 1970, so sometimes you think, we’ll take that one out for now and see how it goes. We might put it back in.”

Bandmate Keith Richards added that he “doesn’t understand where the beef is” with the lyrics, saying: “I’m hoping that we’ll be able to resurrect the babe in her glory somewhere along the track.”

Other artists who have dropped controversial songs from their setlists include Paramore, with frontwoman Hayley Williams explaining in 2017 that they would no longer play ‘Misery Business’ live due to the lyric “once a whore you’re nothing more”.