Rod Stewart wrote his 1977 hit “The Killing of Georgie (Part I and II)” about a close friend of his. He tells us Georgie was cast out of his home by his parents after coming out as gay to them. Georgie moves to New York City, where he finds adulation from people who love to be around him and becomes “the toast of the Great White Way.” In the summer of 1975 he tells Rod he’s in love. Leaving a Broadway show, Georgie and his boyfriend are walking arm in arm in Manhattan when they encounter a gang from New Jersey. The original intention of the gang is to mug the couple, but as you may gather from the song’s title, it doesn’t end well for Georgie.
That the story of an unambiguously gay man should become a top 30 hit in 1977 amazes me. How many hit songs have such a main character? There’s the cross-dressing man who calls himself Lola in The Kinks song of that name and then there’s um, hmmmm, uh…there’s our list, then.
Stewart told Mojo magazine that when he wrote the song, “everyone around me was gay.” He had a gay manager and a gay publicist. “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.”
Part I of the song ends with Stewart sharing with us Georgie’s philosophy on life: Never wait or hesitate / Get in kid, before it’s too late / You may never get another chance / ’Cos youth’s a mask but it don’t last / live it long and live it fast.
Today Rod Stewart turns 70 years old. Here are twenty of his finest moments.
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