From Rod Stewart’s seventh album A Night on the Town, ‘The Killing of Georgie’ is a fine example of narrative lyricism and, in the less liberal context of the 1970s, a somewhat innovative venture into the subject of homosexuality. The lyrics tell the story of the eponymous Georgie, rejected by his parents after coming out as gay but then finding love, popularity and happiness when he moves to “The Great White Way” of New York City. There is a tragic sting in the tale when Georgie leaves a Broadway musical early one night and is subsequently attacked and killed by a New Jersey gang on his way home.
‘The Killing of Georgie’ is based on the true story of a gay friend of Stewart’s and keyboardist Ian McLagan whom they met during their time in The Faces; apparently his actual murder occurred in 1974 but the lyrics mention “1975” purely for rhyming reasons. The fact that the song was inspired by real tragedy lends it a considerable poignancy, particularly in the carpe diem philosophy of the lyrics: “Never wait or hesitate/Get in kid before it’s too late/You may never get another chance.”
Still standing up very well after nearly 40 years, ‘The Killing of Georgie’ is evidence that, when he wasn’t romping around in ludicrous leopard skin leggings or beseeching compliments as to his own sexiness, Rod Stewart very much had his songwriting moments.