Rod Stewart co-wrote this with guitarist Gary Grainger. Although it is intensely personal, this is a song with which any man of a certain age will identify, especially one who has failed to live up to his potential, lost the love of his life, or screwed up big time. And surely most of us can fill at least one of those categories.
Although written from a male perspective, most women too could say the same. By the time he recorded "I Was Only Joking," Stewart was already an A-list performer; he would go on to amass a fortune of over $200 million, yet even the mega-successful have regrets.
The Susie alluded to herein was known as Susannah Boffey when she met him as a 17-year-old art student in 1961. At the time, he was an unknown Roderick Stewart. In 1963, she gave birth to a daughter who was fostered out and eventually adopted by a wealthy couple from East Sussex. In 2010, Sarah Streeter was finally admitted to her father's family, but sadly her mother said she didn't care about her anymore.
"I Was Only Joking" alludes too to alcohol, which was only one of the substances he imbibed along the way. Drugs and alcohol are of course an occupational hazard for successful rock musicians due to the lifestyle.
The radio edit runs to 4 minutes 50 seconds while the album version runs to a full 6 minutes 7 seconds. Released as a double-A-side single with "Hot Legs," it reached #5 in the UK.
Suggestion credit: Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2