Rod's self-penned paean to the trials and tribulations of a love affair with an older woman, apparently based on personal experience. In the January, 2007 issue of Q magazine, Stewart recalled: "Maggie May was more or less a true story, about the first woman I had sex with, at the Beaulieu Jazz Festival." The reference to returning to school in "late September" refers to the Michaelmas term, the first academic term of the academic year of many British and Irish universities.
Initially, Maggie May was released as the B-side to Reason To Believe. However, after a couple of weeks it was apparent that DJs were playing Maggie more frequently, and so the song was reclassified as the A-side even though the it continued to be pressed as the B-side. Oddly, in the days of Top-40 Hit Radio, when songs were released for airplay and to the public on 45RPM singles, "Maggie May" was not edited in any way or fashion. The full 5:15 version was pressed to single, even though its multiple refrains & 5-bar mandolin solo could have been easily taken to edit. Perhaps it was because "Maggie May" was initially only meant to be a B-side single, and many B-sides are left intact without editing.
Speaking of that mandolin solo, DJ John Peel appeared with the Faces on TOTP playing, or rather miming, the mandolin part, even though it was Lindisfarne's Ray Jackson on the record.
The song not only launched Rod as a solo artist, but both it and the album Every Picture Tells A Story were at number one in the UK and US charts simultaneously, as well as spending 4 weeks at the top spot in Australia at the same time.
In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the song #130 on their list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Enjoy. Here's Rod The Mod, complete with John Peel mugging gamely in the back. At 2'24" look at JP's expression. Priceless.