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Every Picture Tells a Story

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Every Picture Tells a Story
Studio album by
Released28 May 1971
RecordedNovember 1970−January 1971
StudioMorgan Studios, London
GenreRoots rock[1]
ProducerRod Stewart
Rod Stewart chronology
Gasoline Alley
Every Picture Tells a Story
Never a Dull Moment
Singles from Every Picture Tells a Story
  1. "Reason to Believe" / "Maggie May"
    Released: July 1971 (US)
  2. "(I Know) I'm Losing You"
    Released: October 1971 [2]
  3. "Every Picture Tells a Story"
    Released: 1972

Every Picture Tells a Story is the third studio album by Rod Stewart. It was released on 28 May 1971. It incorporates hard rock, folk, and blues styles.[3] It went to number one on both the UK and US charts and finished third in the Jazz & Pop critics' poll for best album of 1971.[4] It has been an enduring critical success, including a number 172 ranking on Rolling Stone's 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[5]


This album is a mixture of rock, country, blues, soul, and folk, and includes Stewart's breakthrough hit, "Maggie May", as well as "Reason to Believe", a song from Tim Hardin's debut album of 1966. "Reason to Believe", with Pete Sears on piano, was released as the first single from the album with "Maggie May" as the B-side; however, "Maggie May" became more popular and was a No. 1 hit in both the UK and US.

The album includes 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) appear on the album, with guitarist/bassist Ronnie Wood and keyboardist Ian McLagan on Hammond B3 organ being employed most. 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".[6] Other contributors included Ray Jackson on mandolin (though Stewart allegedly forgot his name and merely mentioned "the mandolin player in Lindisfarne" on the sleeve) and 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 had Ian McLagan on piano, along with the Faces as a band.[citation needed]

The album 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.[citation needed]

The Temptations cover, "I Know I'm Losing You" reached the top 40 at No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Christgau's Record GuideA+[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[9]

In his original Rolling Stone review, John Mendelsohn wrote: "Boring as half of it may be, there's enough that is unqualifiedly magnificent on the other half."[10] However, Village Voice critic Robert Christgau gave the album a glowing review, writing: "Rod the Wordslinger is a lot more literate than the typical English bloozeman, Rod the Singer can make words flesh, and though Rod the Bandleader's music is literally electric it's the mandolin and pedal steel that come through sharpest."[7]

A retrospective review by Pitchfork's Tal Rosenberg called it "a rollicking and surprisingly grounded document of early '70s folk-rock".[8]


The album has been an enduring critical success, including a number 172 ranking on Rolling Stone's 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time,[5] maintaining the rating in a 2012 revised list,[11] dropping slightly in a 2020 revised list to number 177.[12] 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] It 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 a retrospective review for AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote: "Without greatly altering his approach, Rod Stewart perfected his blend of hard rock, folk, and blues on his masterpiece, Every Picture Tells a Story."[3]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."Every Picture Tells a Story"Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood6:01
2."Seems Like a Long Time"Theodore Anderson4:02
3."That's All Right / Amazing Grace"Arthur Crudup / traditional; arranged by Stewart6:02
4."Tomorrow Is a Long Time"Bob Dylan3:43
Side two
1."Henry"Martin Quittenton0:32
2."Maggie May"Stewart, Quittenton5:15
3."Mandolin Wind"Stewart5:33
4."(I Know) I'm Losing You"Norman Whitfield, Eddie Holland, Cornelius Grant5:23
5."(Find a) Reason to Believe"Tim Hardin4:05
Total length:40:31


  • "Henry" was only printed on the label of the original British and international releases, not on the sleeve. It was 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". The words were written by John Newton.


On the album's liner notes, the names of two alcoholic beverages (Martell Cognac and Mateus Rosé) are interspersed amongst the personnel credits.


  • Desmond Strobel – art direction
  • John Craig – design, illustration
  • Lisa Margolis – front cover photo
  • Aaron Sixx – back cover photo



Certifications for Every Picture Tells a Story
Region Certification Certified units/sales
New Zealand (RMNZ)[28] 2× Gold 15,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[29]
1998 release
Gold 100,000
United States (RIAA)[31] Platinum 2,500,000[30]

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2006). The Essential Rock Discography. Canongate. p. 1046. ISBN 1841958271. ...the album was a masterclass in roots rock...
  2. ^ "Rod Stewart singles".
  3. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Every Picture Tells a Story at AllMusic. Retrieved 29 November 2005.
  4. ^ "The 1971 Jazz & Pop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. 10 February 1972. Retrieved 16 July 2011.
  5. ^ a b 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. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 16 July 2011.
  6. ^ Liner notes, Faces' The Definitive Rock Collection, Rhino Records, 2007
  7. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: S". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved 13 March 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  8. ^ a b Rosenberg, Tal (10 December 2023). "Rod Stewart: Every Picture Tells a Story Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved 10 December 2023.
  9. ^ "Rod Stewart: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 5 January 2013. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  10. ^ Mendelsohn, John (8 July 1971). "Every Picture Tells A Story". Rolling Stone. No. 86. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  11. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest albums of all time". Rolling Stone. 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  12. ^ "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. 22 September 2020. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  13. ^ a b c Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  14. ^ "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 16, No. 12". RPM. 6 November 1971. Archived from the original on 29 April 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  15. ^ "dutchcharts.nl Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tell a Story" (ASP). Hung Medien (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  16. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  17. ^ "norwegiancharts.com Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tell a Story" (ASP). Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  18. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  19. ^ "Swedish Charts 1969–1972/Kvällstoppen – Listresultaten vecka för vecka > Augusti 1971 > 10 Augusti" (PDF) (in Swedish). hitsallertijden.nl. Retrieved 3 May 2012. Note: Kvällstoppen combined sales for albums and singles in the one chart; Every Picture Tells a Story ranked at the number-thirteen on the list on 10 August 1971.
  20. ^ "Rod Stewart > Artists > Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
  21. ^ "Allmusic: Every Picture Tell a Story : Charts & Awards : Billboard Albums". allmusic.com. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
  22. ^ "Album Search: Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tell a Story" (ASP) (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 1 May 2013.[dead link]
  23. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1971" (in Dutch). Archived from the original (ASP) on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  24. ^ "The Official UK Charts Company : Album Chart History". Archived from the original on 17 December 2007. Retrieved 17 December 2007.
  25. ^ "Billboard.BIZ Top Pop Albums of 1971". Billboard. Archived from the original on 31 December 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  26. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1972" (ASP) (in Dutch). Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  27. ^ "Billboard.BIZ Top Pop Albums of 1972". Billboard. Archived from the original on 6 December 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  28. ^ "Rod's Got The Face in New Zealand" (PDF). Cash Box. 30 March 1974. p. 53. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  29. ^ "British album certifications – Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells a Story". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  30. ^ "Eddy to Buddy Bopper to Rod Hit to Hit". Billboard. 27 May 1972. p. M-5. Retrieved 9 May 2023.
  31. ^ "American album certifications – Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells a Story". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 18 October 2019.