Rod Stewart’s Songwriter Revealed the Meaning of ‘Young Turks’

“Young Turks” is one of Rod Stewart‘s most famous songs. The title of the song is an English slang term. During an interview, the co-writer of “Young Turks” discussed the meaning of the track. He also said he incorporated a certain instrument into Stewart’s music because Stewart wanted to be “cutting edge” at the time.

Rod Stewart with a microphone
Rod Stewart | Ian Dickson/Redferns

This instrument appears in a Rod Stewart song because he was trying to be ‘cutting edge’

Carmine Appice has quite a lot of experience in the music industry. He was a member of a band called Vanilla Fudge. He also co-wrote “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?,” one of Stewart’s most famous songs. During an interview with Songfacts, Appice spoke about co-writing Stewart’s hit “Young Turks.”

 “‘Young Turks’ was written by me and Duane in his studio,” Appice recalled. “Duane [Hitchings] had just gotten this drum machine — Rod was always trying to be on the cutting edge at that time, so we did drum machine stuff. Duane had just gotten a sequencer, so we started screwing around and came up with the chords and melodies, then we presented it to Rod.”

‘Young Turks’ is a slang term in England

Historically, the Young Turks were members of a nationalist movement in Turkey. Appice gave fans insight into the meaning of “Young Turks.” “In English slang, a ‘Young Turk’ was a rebellious kind of teenager that would go against the grain,” he said. “That was the story of this guy Billy leaving his town and getting his chick pregnant.” Appice said Stewart’s songs had stories and “Young Turks” was no exception.

Appice gave fans more detail on how he co-wrote the song. “This one was easy because we used the whole concept that we came up with,” he said. “We just transferred it from the 8-track that Duane had going right onto the 24-track. We used the drum machine and everything. Once we gave Rod the music, he wrote the lyrics.”


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The way the world reacted to Rod Stewart’s ‘Young Turks’

“Young Turks” became a major hit for Stewart. The track peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 19 weeks. Its parent album, Tonight I’m Yours, was also popular. Tonight I’m Yours peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard 200, remaining on the chart for 31 weeks. 

“Young Turks” was a hit in the United Kingdom too. According to The Official Charts Company, the track peaked at No. 11 in the U.K., staying on the chart for nine weeks. Meanwhile, Tonight I’m Yours hit No. 8 in the U.K. and stayed on the chart for 20 weeks. “Young Turks” seemed to connect with listeners in the United States even if it uses a slang term from England.