The song is one of Stewart’s most memorable ones but was involved in some controversy
Rod Stewart’s disco hit “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” peaks to No.1 in 1979
The Rod Stewart smash disco hit “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” was written by Stewart, Carmine Appice (former Vanilla Fudge) and Duane Hitchings, though it incorporates the melody from the song “Taj Mahal” by Jorge Ben Jor and the string arrangement from the song “Put Something Down On It” by Bobby Womack. The song is featured on Stewart’s album “Blondes Have More Fun”, and was released as a single in November 1978. It reached No.1 in the UK on December 2nd, 1979 and spent four weeks at the top of the US Billboard Hot 100 in February 1979. It has been noted that Stewart created parts of the song through musical plagiarism. A copyright infringement lawsuit by Brazilian musician Jorge Ben Jor claimed the chorus of the song had been derived from his song “Taj Mahal”. The case was “settled amicably” according to Jorge Ben Jor, in Ben Jor’s favor. Royalties from the song were donated to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Stewart performed the song at the Music for UNICEF Concert at the United Nations General Assembly in January 1979. Rod Stewart admitted in his 2012 autobiography to “unconscious plagiarism” of the Ben Jor song, which he had heard while attending the Rio Carnival in 1978. He also admitted that he had consciously lifted the song’s signature synthesizer riff from the string arrangement on Bobby Womack’s “(If You Want My Love) Put Something Down On It”. Stewart contends that it is legal to lift a line from any song’s arrangement as long as the core melody line isn’t copied. Despite the controversy, the song remains one of Stewart’s signature songs during a turning point on his career. After starting out as a Blues Rock singer in the 1960’s and in the 1970’s as the leader of The Faces, Stewart headed into a more Pop direction, specially Dance, inspired by the Disco trend of the day. Throughout the 1980’s he scored several Pop hits such as “Tonight I’m Yours”, “Young Turks”, “Baby Jane” and “Some Guys Have All the Luck” among many others. He shifted musical directions again during the turn into the 1990’s by favoring easy listening and romantic songs rather than his old Blues and Rock roots, which he still does to this day.
Look back at the iconic 1979 music video for “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” by Rod Stewart
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