Every Picture Tells a Story is the third album by Rod Stewart, released in May 1971.
It incorporates hard rock, folk, and blues styles.
It went to number one on both the UK and US charts and finished third in the Pazz & Jop critics’ poll for best album of 1971.
It has been an enduring critical success, including a number 172 ranking on Rolling Stone magazine’s 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
The album is a mixture of rock, country, blues, soul, and folk, and includes Stewart’s breakthrough hit, ˝Maggie May˝, as well as ˝Reason to Believe˝, a song from Tim Hardin’s debut album of 1966. ˝Reason to Believe˝ was released as the first single from the album with ˝Maggie May˝ as the B-side, however, ˝Maggie May˝ became more popular and was a No. 1 hit in both the UK and US.
The album also included a version of Arthur Crudup’s ˝That’s All Right (Mama)˝ (the first single for Elvis Presley) and a cover of the Bob Dylan song ˝Tomorrow Is a Long Time,˝ an outtake from Dylan’s 1963 album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (it would see release on 1971’s, Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Vol.
All five members of the Faces (with whom Stewart at that time was lead vocalist) appeared on the album, with guitarist/bassist Ronnie Wood and keyboardist Ian McLagan on Hammond B3 organ being most prominent.
Due to contractual restrictions, the personnel listings were somewhat vague, and it was unclear that the full Faces line-up recorded the version of the Motown hit ˝(I Know) I’m Losing You˝.
Other contributors included Ray Jackson on mandolin (though Stewart forgot his name and merely mentioned ˝the mandolin player in Lindisfarne˝ on the sleeve).
Micky Waller on drums.
Maggie Bell performed backing vocals (mentioned on the sleeve as ˝vocal abrasives˝) on the title track, and Madeline Bell sang backup on the next track, ˝Seems Like A Long Time˝.
Pete Sears played all the piano on the album except for one track, ˝I’m Losing You˝ which featured Ian McLagan on piano, along with the Faces as a band.
It reached the number-one position in both the UK (for six weeks) and the US (four weeks) at the same time that ˝Maggie May˝ was topping the singles charts in both territories, making Stewart one of the few artists to achieve such a feat.
It has often been voted among the best British albums of all time.
In 1992, the album was awarded the number-one spot in Jimmy Guterman’s book The Best Rock ’N’ Roll Records of All Time: A Fan’s Guide to the Stuff You Love.
Every Picture Tells a Story was ranked 99th in a 2005 survey held by British television’s Channel 4 to determine the 100 greatest albums of all time.
The Temptations cover, I Know I’m Losing You reached the top 40, at No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US.