Jun 08

ROD STEWART – “I Don’t Want To Talk About It”/”The First Cut Is The Deepest”

FT + Popular40 comments • 3,882 views

#405, 21st May 1977

Rod at bay: both cuts of this double-A side find Stewart on the defensive, licking wounds inflicted in failed relationships. The subdued, pretty, “I Don’t Want To Talk About It” is much the more effective (even if its clumsy heart-heart rhyme grates), rambling effectively and reminding you that the lothario is at his most dangerous when cornered. It hardly sounds like a No.1, and would work better without the guitar solo or that odd tacked-on key change, but it’s grown on me and I could take another helping or three of that gentle acoustic picking.

“First Cut Is The Deepest” doesn’t work nearly so well. It relies on you buying Rod as a bruised ingénue on the rebound, which is tough going on impossible. The problem with Rod is always one of credibility – right from the start of his career he wrote himself into his songs so indelibly that I’m always prodding his tracks for believability in a way I’d never do for most of his peers. “First Cut” sounds weatherbeaten and cynical, rather than freshly hurt, and it doesn’t help that it’s such a middleweight plod of a song.



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  1. 26
    Erithian on 10 Jun 2008 #

    Incidentally, it was while Rod was number one with this that we had a little bit of anarchy in the UK – or at least Wembley – when Scotland beat England 2-1 on 4 June and the Tartan Army staged their famous pitch invasion, breaking one of the crossbars. Whether Rod was involved is debatable, but he did claim to have a piece of Wembley turf in his possession in later years. (Any comment on this from our Caledonian friends??)

  2. 27
    DJ Punctum on 10 Jun 2008 #


    (of course, one year later Rod would record his not unrelated masterpiece)

  3. 28
    LondonLee on 10 Jun 2008 #

    Re: #25

    I always considered the Renoir pastiche to be the back cover and the boater ‘n’ blazer portrait was the front. I could be wrong though.

  4. 29
    Erithian on 11 Jun 2008 #

    Lee – you’re more likely right though. Maybe I just spent more time looking at the back than the front.

  5. 30
    rosie on 12 Jun 2008 #

    Passing the memorial to Emlyn Hughes, Barrow’s second-favourite sporting son, this morning I was reminded that during the uncontentious part of Rod’s reign and just two-and-a-half months after my father’s death, Dad’s beloved Liverpool FC won the European Cup at last. Although I don’t believe, and never have believed in such things I liked to think as I watched the match that Dad was cheering on the ‘Pool on from the great terrace in the sky. Of course, they kept on winning it after that, year after year (except for the years when Nottingham Forest or Aston Villa won it.)

  6. 31
    DJ Punctum on 12 Jun 2008 #

    As commemorated by Liverpool FC’s Top 20 hit that month, a modified cover of the Rubettes’ “We Can Do It.”

  7. 32
    intothefireuk on 13 Jun 2008 #

    I don’t recall which side was the more played but ‘First Cut..’ is by some margin the worst offender here. A lazy vocal and soporific band performance do not ‘sell’ the song for me. I wasn’t familiar with the PP version of the song so could make no comparison, I just knew that Rod’s version sucked big ones. ‘I Don’t Wanna…’ however, is an ok song and one that has grown on me over time. In 1977 though I would have viewed both about as welcome as a trip to the dentist as their pedestrian pace would have seemed to slow to a crawl with the imminent arrival of a certain royal salute. It beggars belief how Rod clung to the top an extra week (or weeks) when he had already outstayed his welcome so hats off to Auntie Beeb for ensuring Liz’s parade wasn’t reigned on.

  8. 33
    DJ Punctum on 13 Jun 2008 #

    All this conflict! Aren’t we ready to show that we can come together and think like one?

  9. 34
    Mark G on 13 Jun 2008 #

    think like one what?

  10. 35
    DJ Punctum on 13 Jun 2008 #

    Just put your trust in me – I’ll try not to let you down.

  11. 36
    SteveM not in New York, London or Paris but Munich on 13 Jun 2008 #

    hated the EBTG cover at the time (unaware it was a cover back then) but now I´m quite fond of it/the song generally. most strange. now wondering what motivated EBTG´s decision to cover it incidentally.

  12. 37
    intothefireuk on 13 Jun 2008 #

    # 36 Err..money ?

  13. 38
    SteveM on 25 Jun 2008 #

    I’m sure if money was all they were after they would’ve covered Typically Tropical. And they certainly could’ve done with a bit more sun.

  14. 39
    Larry on 15 Nov 2014 #

    Pretty much alone here but I find Rod’s “First Cut” thrilling and can listen to it over and over. The note of weariness is perfect for the song.

  15. 40
    Inanimate Carbon God on 23 Jan 2015 #

    Re 5/6: Pale imitations of PP Arnold classics lacking vim and vigour? We ain’t seen nothing yet on Popular.

    Re 27:

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