Super-Producer Trevor Horn’s Sublime Setting Of Rod Stewart’s Sailing To The Royal Philharmonic’s Orchestration

When Rod Stewart released Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? in 1978, for many fans it was a rhetorical question. Critics weren’t impressed, even when Stewart said that the song wasn’t about him but was a 3rd-person slice-of-life. The fans prevailed and the song topped the charts in the UK, US, Canada and Australia. After all, Stewart was a chart-topping pinup with a sexy, husky voice who retained some street cred from his time in The Faces and his love of football.

As the years have passed, Rod Stewart has remained popular even as he’s drifted to the middle of the road and his once husky voice has slowly become gritty. This has impacted on his albums and his performances. For these reasons, I was pleased that producer Trevor Horn used Rod’s original vocals when he oversaw the setting of Stewart’s hits to a backing by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 2019. Our first video is Horn’s reimagining of sexy, young Rod Stewart’s mega-hit Sailing.

The cut-aways to Stewart in a boat are from the original video. The footage was filmed in the Port of Dublin and broadcast on Top of the Pops on 28 August 1975. The multi-lingual rave responses to the video on Rod Stewart’s official YouTube channel attest to Stewart’s broad appeal. Here’s a couple of English comments. Andrea Ruggia writes: “Even better than the original version, Rod’s voice is timeless!”. Diane924 states: “I want to hear this song when I’m leaving this world. It’s perfection”

The Horn-produced album is titled You’re In My Heart, so it would be remiss of us to miss the remake of this classic track. First a few words about Trevor Horn. Wikipedia states “His influence on pop and electronic music in the 1980s was such that he has been called ‘the man who invented the eighties’.” Horn’s band, The Buggles, released Video Killed The Radio Star in 1979. From there, Horn moved to production. His notable early productions include Frankie Goes to Hollywood and The Art of Noise.

You’re In My Heart (The Final Acclaim), from the 1977 album Foot Loose & Fancy Free, was a top 10 hit around the world. It includes the great couplet “You’re Celtic, United, but baby I’ve decided/ You’re the best team I’ve ever seen.”

I opened with some comments about Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? to locate Rod Stewart in the culture of the 1970s. Predictably, the song was seen as too throwaway for inclusion on the album with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Nonetheless, the song plays an important part in the mythology of Sir Roderick David Stewart, as this hilarious clip from Mike Myers’ So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993) attests. Och Aye.

If you would like to see more from Rod Stewart, you can subscribe to his YouTube channel or follow him on Facebook. You can also visit his official website for more information.

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