Rod Stewart’s album A Spanner in the Works came out during my first year at the Record Store. I have a lot of fond memories of hearing certain songs. “Leave Virginia Alone” was one of them. Tom Petty penned this acoustic mid-tempo hit. Petty wrote it during the 1994 Wallflowers sessions, though his version was not released until after his passing. Though it has a certain unmistakable Petty quality, Stewart makes it his own song simultaneously. Like an electron caught between two positive charges, “Leave Virginia Alone” is both quintessentially Rod and Tom at once. My preference is to Rod’s rendition.
The B-side is an exclusive non-album song called “Shock To The System”. To my knowledge it’s never been released anywhere else, making this brief single worth owning for fans. It’s a guitar based rocker with funky bass and a nice fat horn section backing Rod. Good song. Sounds like vintage 70s Rod, with 90s production. A bit like “Hot Legs”. Probably considered not commercial enough for a 90s Rod album.
4/5 stars. Good, but too brief.