Rod Stewart – If I Had You

From Stewart’s terrible 2001 Human LP, there’s almost nothing that isn’t awful about this song: the soft reggae lilt, the cod soulful backing vocals, the wretched guitar solo and the overall AOR sheen. And yet I love it. The original, by The Korgis (a hit in 1979), came bathed in a sappiness and airiness that made it easy to miss. But what it did have is that lovely melody and sentiment: with you by my side I could do absolutely anything.

On Rod’s version the melody is still there but it’s considerably lifted by his voice. And although it’s one of his lazy, phoned in contributions it just seems right. When I listen to it I can hear how it’d sound with just him and an acoustic guitar. How it would sound, in fact, if he’d recorded it during his great early 70s period.

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About Paul Saxton

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