#70: Ain’t Love A Bitch by Rod Stewart

Peak Month: June 1979
16 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN Chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #22
YouTube.com: “Ain’t Love A Bitch
Lyrics: “Ain’t Love A Bitch

Roderick David Stewart was born in London, England, in 1945. In 1956 he got introduced to rock ‘n roll when he saw Bill Haley and His Comets in concert, and heard Little Richard’s “The Girl Can’t Help It”. He was given a guitar by his dad in 1959, and he learned to play the Kingston Trio’s “A Worried Man”. He quit school at age 15 and worked as a newspaper boy. He auditioned with Joe Meek in 1961, but didn’t get a record deal. By 1963 he was part of an R&B band called The Dimensions. In 1965 he teamed up with Long John Baldry, Julie Driscoll and Brian Auger to form a blues band called Steampacket. This lasted another year. Eventually, Stewart became part of the Jeff Beck Group in 1967. When that band broke up in the fall of ’68, Rod Stewart got invited to join the reformed Small Faces, who were now just called Faces.

The Faces played a rowdy, brawling brand of rock that could make a large arena seem like a corner bar. Rod Stewart’s raspy, soulful vocals and the musicianship of other Faces bandmates  made the group a rival live act to the Rolling Stones. Their onstage performances paved the way for punk bands like the Sex Pistols. They also were influences for roots bands decades later like the Georgia Satellites and the Black Crowes.

The Faces made four studio albums with A Nod Is as Good as a Wink…To a Blind Horse in 1971 their biggest seller. Their first hit single, “Stay With Me”, went to #6 in the UK, #17 in the USA and #1 in Vancouver.

Meanwhile, Stewart also embarked on a parallel solo career. In 1970 he released Every Picture Tells A Story. The album was released with the double-sided hit number one hit “Maggie May” and “Reason To Believe”. The followup single from the album was a cover of a Temptations hit from the mid-sixties titled “(I Know) I’m Losing You“.

In the fall of 1972 Stewart’s single from Never A Dull Moment, “You Wear It Well”, peaked at #8 in Vancouver (BC) and #13 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also became his second chart topping single in the UK. Between 1973 and 1975 Stewart charted four singles into the Top Ten on the UK charts: “Oh! No Not My Baby”, the medley “Farewell/Bring It On Home To Me/You Send Me”, a cover of the Isley Brothers “This Old Heart Of Mine”; And a number one hit in England titled “Sailing”, later covered by Joan Baez on her Blowin’ Away album in 1977.

But Stewart waited for four years to return to the Top Ten in most North American radio markets in 1976 with “Tonight’s The Night”, from his A Night On The Town album. He was a common Top Ten feature in Vancouver (BC). In 1977-78 Rod Stewart had more Top 30 hits starting with “You’re In My Heart”, “Hot Legs”, and “I Was Only Joking“.

Stewart continued to have chart successes in the late 70s with “Do You Think I’m Sexy?” and “Ain’t Love A Bitch”.

Ain't Love A Bitch by Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart co-wrote “Ain’t Love A Bitch” with Gary Grainger. Born in 1950 in London, UK, Grainger’s professional career took off with the formation of Strider. After two albums – Misunderstood and Exposed and two extensive tours with The Faces in 1974, Grainger left Strider to work with Rod Stewart. He wrote songs for Rod Stewart including “Hot Legs“, “I Was Only Joking“, “Passion”, “Somebody Special” and more. Grainger was a musician on Roger Daltry’s 1987 album Can’t Wait to See the Movie. And in 1990, he was on stage with Nick Lowe in support of Lowe’s Party of One album.

“Ain’t Love A Bitch” begins with the tale of a 17-year-old boy who is taken “way upstairs” by a woman who “wiped me clean.” That sexual awakening set him on a lifelong trajectory for seeking out more love making. In the pursuit of love, Stewart sings “I been in fights, locked away for nights…I been tailed, impaled, strung up, and nailed and left without a stitch, I been scratched and taxed and finally axed…” Looking back on all those years, he confides “Maybe it’s a matter of fact I just can’t grow up.” But in a way that lets him off the hook, he normalizes his problem with growing up when he claims “Deep down ain’t we all a little juvenile?”

“Ain’t Love A Bitch” peaked at #1 in Lethbridge (AB), #2 in Vancouver, and Allentown (PA), #3 in Toronto, #4 in Phoenix, #7 in Los Angeles, #9 in Kingston (ON), Tucson (AZ), Cincinnati (OH), and Memphis, #10 in Hope (BC) and San Diego.

In the early 80s, Stewart had more hits with “Passion”, “Young Turks” and “Tonight I’m Yours (Don’t Hurt Me)”. The latter hit was the title track from the album Tonight I’m Yours (Don’t Hurt Me). Internationally, the title track was the debut single from the album. But in North America, “Young Turks” was the debut single and the title track was the followup release.

Through the 1980s, Rod Stewart had many international Top Ten hits, including “Baby Jane”, “Infatuation”, “Some Guys Have All The Luck”, “Love Touch”, “Forever Young”, “My Heart Can’t Tell You No”, “Crazy About Her”, “This Old Heart Of Mine”, “Downtown Train”, “Broken Arrow”, “Rhythm Of My Heart” and “The Motown Song”.

In 1993 Stewart recorded a song with Sting and Bryan Adams titled “All For Love”, which climbed to #1 in many countries. Since 1977 Rod Stewart has mounted over thirty tours. He has sold over 200 million records. He has been nominated fifteen times for a Grammy Award, and won once in the category of Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Stardust: The Great American Song Book Volume III, in 2004. He has also been nominated seven times for a Juno Award in Canada. He also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

On October 1, 1977, April 14th and 15th, 1979, December 7, 1981, July 11 and 12, 1984, August 20, 1988, and December 11, 1993, Rod Stewart appeared in concert each time at the Pacific Coliseum. Amongst these concerts, On July 16, 1989, and December 9, 1991, Stewart performed at BC Place Stadium.

Rod Stewart performed in concert in Vancouver each time at General Motors Place on the following dates: April 15, 1996, September 11, 1998, May 4, 1999, June 1, 2001, March 17, 2004, March 10, 2007, and August 8, 2009. Subsequently, at Rogers Arena, Rod Stewart appeared in Vancouver on April 22, 2011; August 2, 2014, and later on April 10, 2018.

February 8, 2023
Ray McGinnis

John Walsh, “The Saturday Profile: Rod Stewart, Rock Star: Do ya Still think I’m Sexy?,” Independent, UK, December 5, 1998.
Stewart Goes Beneath the Covers,” BBC, December 23, 2006.
Matthew Taylor, “Five decades of rocking and 62 hits earn Rod CBE,” Guardian, December 30, 2006.
Pagham’s Gary Grainger celebrates Rod Stewart’s classics in Southampton,” Midhurst and Petworth Observer, June 8, 2012.
C-FUN Top Thirty,” CFUN 1410 AM, Vancouver, BC, June 16, 1979.

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One response to “Ain’t Love A Bitch by Rod Stewart”

  1. Leo Santana says:

    Rod Stewart has always been one of my favourite rock stars. His very distinctive raspy soulful voice made him a true legend. Great and well written article. Thx

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