Rod Stewart’s “The Killing Georgie” reached #30 on the Billboard Charts in July of 1977, the third of four singles to make the Top 40 from the huge selling LP from the previous year, “A Night On The Town.” Of course, “Tonight’s the Night” was the big hit, stuck to the #1 spot for seven weeks, and I loved that album. The song “Killing of Georgie” was quite unusual fare lyrically for a chart record, dwelling on the gay bashing, and murder of Georgie. This was pretty somber stuff for mainstream radio then, and now. And, no it was not the first Top 40 hit to deal with LGBT topics…for example, “Lola” by the Kinks reached #9 in 1970, but still, this was a top artist broaching the subject, and rather sympathetically.
Unfortunately I am unable to host the video here, due to YouTube “rules” but you can easily find it.
In a 1995 interview Steward explained, “That was a true story about a gay friend of The Faces. He was especially close to me and Mac. But he was knifed or shot, I can’t remember which. That was a song I wrote totally on me own over the chord of open E.” As to why he wrote it, “It’s probably because I was surrounded by gay people at that stage. I had a gay PR man, a gay manager. Everyone around me was gay. I don’t know whether that prompted me into it or not. I think it was a brave step, but it wasn’t a risk. You can’t write a song like that unless you’ve experienced it. But it was a subject that no one had approached before. And I think it still stands up today.”