What’s Goin’ On

Throwback: Rod Stewart

Today in 1976: 'Tonight's the Night' hits No. 1

Rod Stewart On Stage

Rod Stewart's corny but confident ode to seduction, "Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright)," sealed the deal 42 years ago when it went all the way to No. 1 on this day in 1976.

But the salacious single didn't stop there. It proved its remarkable staying power by riding the top of the charts for eight weeks before cooling off a week after ringing in the new year.

The sweet melody, orchestral strings and flirtatious guitar licks helped sugarcoat the not-so-subtle lyrics, which initially got the song banned in the United Kingdom. The buildup to deflowering "my virgin child" even includes a few lines that might make a gangsta rapper blush.

"Don't deny your man's desire," Stewart sings. "You'd be a fool to stop this tide/Spread your wings and let me come inside."

Like most wild nights, the fun began innocently enough when Stewart was visiting Dan Peek of America, who was working on a song called "Today's the Day." "Rod said that he liked it," remembers the writer of the 1974 Top 10 hit "Lonely People," "and that it gave him an idea for a song."

Did it ever. Stewart even got then-girlfriend Britt Ekland to join the fun, convincing her to coo her satisfaction in French near the song's climax. "I remember I got her drunk," Stewart told an interviewer, "pissed as a fart to sing that old French bollocks on the end, because she didn't want to do it."

The sweet talk of "Tonight's the Night," apparently, didn't extend to real life.