Rod Stewart is a rooster-haired wannabe roots singer who might be great, in the way Elvis or Wayne Newton are great. Time will tell. I try to ignore what the warbling woodpecker does now, in both his musical as well as social life, and remember the first time I heard Every Picture Tells a Story.

I was dead broke and in college, the same way some of you are now. We had not learned the blessing of the Ramen noodle; we had only the christening of the Campbell's chicken noodle soup. It was the same dilemma, however, as I'm sure you can plainly see.

I had successfully held down several part-time jobs, but (as part-time jobs will do), they had run their course and left me at Square One again. Being the cute little anarchist at the time, I had just finished attempting to sell the local hippie newspaper on the street. This had led to my arrest by the local constabulary establishment, and I was familiar enough with City Hall to understand that fighting them was only going to lead to even fewer dollars in my pocket.

This part may really interest those of you who are concerned about inflation and who know anything about American currency. A new shop opened up on the corner across from where I had been trying to sell the newspapers in the summer of 1971. It was what we'd have called back then a head shop. Now, you must understand that this was a new concept at the time. Hippies had not yet been marginalized, cannibalized, serialized, demonized and any other trite concepts that end with "ized." {This is, by no means, meant to be a racial or musical comment on the way Ernie Isley plays the guitar.} But, the point I wanted to make is what the lady who opened the shop offered to pay me per hour and what I was glad to accept:

One dollar. Yes, one little green piece of paper in the lowest common denomination for one hour's work was an offer which was satisfying to both employer and her new employee. Is it any wonder that I would find myself dealing narcotics in just a few short months? Not that this was not an average or a fair wage at the time; but, seriously. The irony is that running her little shop actually helped sweep me into the crime underground sooner than was probably forecast by my mom's astrologer. Both would have told you it was inevitable, regardless.

There were two rooms in the store. The outer room was for the glass case in which lay the accoutrements of smoking dope. We didn't have to call them by some ambiguous code name back then. You had your hash pipes, bongs, rolling papers, rolling devices, etc. On the floor of the front room were the record racks. Pure vinyl records. No alternative listening systems: It was the 33 LP or nothing. And, I might add, these sound better (still) than any CD I have ever heard. IF you can find a good system on which to play them. Convenience does not ensure quality.

You know how it is the first day on a new job? You're all set to do your best and, at the same time, try to be humble and please the boss. I walked in at noon on a Monday and she handed me the keys and said, "I'm out of here. Close up at 9:00. Lock the doors and hide the money between Hendrix and Humble Pie in the stacks." And that was the way it went that entire summer. I became the music guru and learned how to work stoned.

The back room was the black light room with the posters on the wall and the strobe light flashing. My normal day at work would be to pick out a new hash pipe, load it with the latest sample from the last customer to whom I gave the "narcotic discount" on store wares, fire it up in the black light room before opening the doors to the after lunch afternoon shopping crowd, and put on Every Picture Tells a Story.

There were hundreds of other great records from which to choose, but I always put this one on first. I didn't know Rod Stewart would grow up to be a whore and a humper of SuperModels. All I knew was that this croaking and smoking voice was giving me chillbumps ever time I heard this record.

Maggie May is the thing that has been done to death on the oldies' stations, and it's hard to love it now due to the overplay factor. But this song was magical (and still is, actually, if you can do enough drugs to forget you ever heard it before -- call me and we'll work something out). It was never my favorite on this album, however.

The title song was so damn hot. Understated rock music which actually rocked like hell without having to resort to a screaming stack of Marshalls was kinda new back then. Bob Dylan's Tomorrow is a Long Time was done much better (I would find out later) by Ian and Sylvia as well as Dylan himself, but this was the first time I ever heard it. Likewise, I did not know who Tim Hardin was, but I knew that Reason to Believe was a wonderful song. Mandolin Wind also managed to catch a mood most days.

Ron Wood, who became (finally, as I'm sure he would put it) a member of a really profitable rock band, had a lot to do with the way this whole record sounds.

Maybe it was the hashish. Maybe it was the dollar an hour. Maybe it was the black light poster of the Fugs. All I know is, I liked this record then and I like it now. I don't think he's so much "sold out" as he has "sold off." You gotta play the market to survive. Especially if you’re trying to keep a SuperModel in clothes.