(Debuted December 10, 1988, Peaked #4, 24 Weeks on the Chart)
During his career, Rod Stewart has been regarded as one of those artists who've shown a great deal of talent, and then proceeded to blow that potential away with songs that are really below their level. Critics point to the raw talent he showed on his first four albums, then toss out the comparative "disappointments" (like the boastful "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy" or the theme from Legal Eagles, "Love Touch") as examples of where he went astray. However, from time to time he comes up with material that shows why he's as great as people say he is. "My Heart Can't Tell Tell You No" is one of those times.
Written by Simon Climie (of Climie Fisher) and Dennis Morgan, "My Heart Can't Tell You No" might be infused with prototypical 1980s hooks and production tricks, but it also showcases Stewart's voice as an instrument. While the lyrics express the regret after a breakup but a longing to keep things going, the voice makes you feel he believes it with all of his heart. As a singer, Stewart brings an emotion to words written by another person, and that's exactly what he's supposed to do.
At the time this song came out, I was a lovestruck 16 year-old and was convinced it was a decent song. I'm older now, and have gone through a lot more in my own life. And Stewart's performance has only strengthened in my mind. Even when I heard Sara Evans' remake of the song on my radio recently, her version -- while good -- still doesn't make me forget that Stewart did it better.