Rod Stewart was 28 years old when he made the bold critique about the state of UK politics. The self-professed shy and timid singer didn’t hold back when he launched into a scathing attack on the Conservative and Labour parties. ITV host Russell Harty was flabbergasted by the future ‘Maggie May’ crooner’s comments in 1973, which have been exposed from unearthed accounts.
At this point, Rod Stewart was a rising star at the beginning of a long and successful career in the music industry.
He was first recognised while drunkenly belting out songs at a railway station as he waited for the last train home – one decade before his controversial interview.
The raspy voiced performer would go onto sell more than 120 million records worldwide, reaching number one in the UK charts with six of those hits.
But at the time of his political wisecracks, the young star was a mere shadow of the success he savours today when he spoke out on The Russell Harty Show.
There the host asked him: “Why in heaven’s name do you want to give free concerts to the Liberal Party?”
With a slight smirk on his face, Rod replied: “Yeah well, I think the Liberals have got a lot to say.
“You know, it’s early days yet. It’s really early days, but I think, say another year or so.
“They’ve got one more bi-election…if they can win that one, you know, they’ve got a lot to say for themselves.”
The singer, who was clad in a slightly see-through all-white frilly outfit, appeared nervous during his comments.
Host Mr Harty, who stared intensely at him during the response, appeared to be confused and stunned into silence by the star’s next answer.
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Rod said: “Must be better than the other two. It’s the difference between a car crash and an aeroplane crash.”
The singer then quipped: “Sorry Ted, I’m with you Jeremy.”
The men he was referring to were Conservative leader Edward Heath, sometimes referred to as ‘Ted’, and the Liberal Party’s Jeremy Thorpe.
His comments would be somewhat prophetic and appeared telling of the political landscape in the years leading up to the 1974 General Election.
While it concluded with Labour candidate Harold Wilson as Prime Minister for a second time, the broader picture was somewhat murkier.
It was the first time Labour and Conservatives had received less than 80 percent of the nation’s votes between them.
Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe had managed to win 10 percent of the vote, approximately six million people – a staggering feat for them at the time.
This was the UK’s first hung parliament since 1929 – and ended after Mr Heath resigned during coalition talks, which led to a Labour victory.
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