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Posted by: In: Other 21 Jun 2022 Comments: 0


179-Rod Stewart-Sailing.

1975-Number 1 single. It was re-issued in 1976, and reached Number 3.

Best Bit-At 3.46. Rod has absolutely no chance of getting in to the Navy until he gets his hair cut.

‘Sailing’ was written in 1972 by Gavin Sutherland who was one half of The Sutherland Brothers with his brother Iain Sutherland (1948-2019.) (see also best songs 697) The Sutherland Brothers were the first to record ‘Sailing,’ which reached Number 54 in the UK in July 1972. In the UK The Sutherland Brothers are best remembered for their 1976 Number 5 hit ‘Arms of Mary,’ while in America they are known for the 1973 Billboard Number 48 song ‘(I Don’t Want To Love You But) You Got Me Anyway.’

Rod Stewart (see also best songs 965-565-206-70 and 34) first got to know about The Sutherland Brothers after Dee Harrington his girlfriend at the time saw them perform on the BBC television programme ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test,’ on June 20th, 1972. Stewart then went to see them play live at the ‘Marquee Club’ in London, and then went on to work with the brothers on two new songs for his forthcoming Album ‘Atlantic Crossing,’ but in the end neither song was used.

‘Sailing’ was the first single released from Rod Stewart’s sixth solo studio Album ‘Atlantic Crossing’ from 1975, and was produced by Tom Dowd (1925-2002) (see also best songs 475.) The impressive list of musicians who played on ‘Sailing,’ or ‘Atlantic Crossing’ include members of Booker T & the M.G.’s, (see also best songs 906) and The Memphis Horns. ‘Sailing’ is Rod Stewart’s best ever selling single, with sales in excess of 1.2 million copies in the UK. The song went to Number 1 on it’s initial release in 1975. and then in 1976 the song re-entered the UK top 40, and reached Number 3 after being used as the theme song for ‘Sailor,’ a documentary series on the ‘HMS Arc Royal, aired on BBC 1. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart ‘Sailing’ made little impact as the Albums lead single, only making a disappointing Number 58 placing.

It will come as a surprise to many to find out what the true meaning of ‘Sailing’ actually is, the songs writer Gavin Sutherland has explained.’Most people take the song to be about a young guy telling his girl that he’s crossing the Atlantic to be with her. In fact it’s an account of mankind’s spiritual odyssey through life on his way to freedom and fulfilment with the ‘Supreme Being.’

‘Can you hear me, can you hear me, Through the dark night, far away. I am dying, forever crying, To be with you, who can say.’