Liberal Arts Blog — “I Want To Know What Love Is,” (Foreigner), “Mony, Mony,” (Billy Idol), “Maggie Mae” (Rod Stewart)

John Muresianu
6 min readFeb 2, 2023


Liberal Arts Blog — Thursday is the Joy of Music Day

Today’s Post: “I Want To Know What Love Is,” (Foreigner), “Mony, Mony,” (Billy Idol), “Maggie Mae” (Rod Stewart)

Have you ever turned on the radio randomly and been blindsided by the power of a song you had heard before long ago but completely forgotten about? This happened to me several times over the last few months and for the life of me I could not even remember the name of the band or singer whose song it was. So this morning I decided to find out a little more about each. Can you top the raw power of these three songs? Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LOVE IS (Foreigner, 1984) — Mick Jones (song writer), Lou Gramm (lead vocals)

1. Lyrics (refrain): I want to know what love I want you to show me I want to feel what love is I know you can show me

2. “According to Gramm, Jones was originally reluctant to let Gramm hear his initial rough version of the song. Gramm speculated that the song was emotional to Jones because it “represented things in his own life that he hadn’t been able to resolve, and he wasn’t too sure he wanted to have millions of people hear about it.”

3. Foreigner was a British-American band “formed in New York City 1976 by veteran British songwriter and guitarist Mick Jones and fellow Briton and ex-King Crimson member Ian Macdonald and with American vocalist Lou Gramm.”Other members of the band were Dennis Elliot (British) and Americans Al Greenwood and Ed Gagliardi.

Foreigner — I Want To Know What Love Is (Official Music Video)

I Want to Know What Love Is — Wikipedia

MONY, MONY (Billy Idol version, 1981) -a cover of the 1968 song of Tommy James and the Shondells; don’t miss either the story of the song title’s origin or the parody by Weird Al Yankovic.

1. Lyrics: Well you make me feel like a pony Like a pony, like a pony Come on, come on, come on Mony, Mony Mony, Mony, yeah Mony, Mony I feel all right I said, yeah (yeah), yeah (yeah), yeah (yeah), yeah (yeah), yeah (yeah), yeah (yeah)

2. “True story: I had the track done before I had a title. I wanted something catchy like “Sloopy” or “Bony Maroney” but everything sounded so stupid. So Ritchie Cordell and I were writing it in New York City, and we were about to throw in the towel when I went out onto the terrace, looked up and saw the Mutual of New York building (which has its initials illuminated in red at its top). I said, “That’s gotta be it! Ritchie, come here, you’ve gotta see this!” It’s almost as if God Himself had said, “Here’s the title.” I’ve always thought that if I had looked the other way, it might have been called “Hotel Taft.”

3. Weird Al Yankovic did a parody entitled “Alimony.” (fourth link below)

NB: The biggest song of the Shondells had been “Hanky Panky” (1966). The band changed direction with “Crimson and Clover” (1968).

Billy Idol — Mony Mony (Live) (Official Music Video)

Tommy James and The Shondells — Mony Mony

“Weird Al” Yankovic: Even Worse — Alimony

Tommy James and the Shondells — Wikipedia

Tommy James & The Shondells — Hanky Panky 1966

Tommy James & The Shondells — Crimson and Clover (Official Audio)

“Weird Al” Yankovic — Wikipedia

MAGGIE MAE (Rod Stewart, 1971) — autobiographical — he was 16 years old — no wonder it has a raw power to it

1. “Wake up, Maggie, I think I got somethin’ to say to you // It’s late September and I really should be back at school // I know I keep you amused, but I feel I’m being used // Oh, Maggie, I couldn’t have tried any more // You led me away from home // Just to save you from being alone // You stole my heart and that’s what really hurts”

2. “The mornin’ sun when it’s in your face really shows your age // But that don’t worry me none, in my eyes, you’re everything // I laughed at all of your jokes, my love, you didn’t need to coax // Oh, Maggie, I couldn’t have tried any more // You led me away from home // Just to save you from being alone // You stole my soul, and that’s a pain I can do without”

3. “All I needed was a friend to lend a guiding hand // But you turned into a lover, and mother, what a lover, you wore me out // All you did was wreck my bed, and in the morning, kick me in the head // Oh, Maggie, I couldn’t have tried any more

NB: You led me away from home // ’Cause you didn’t wanna be alone // You stole my heart, I couldn’t leave you if I tried // I suppose I could collect my books and get on back to school // Or steal my daddy’s cue and make a living out of playin’ pool // Or find myself a rock and roll band that needs a helpin’ hand // Oh, Maggie, I wished I’d never seen your face // You made a first-class fool out of me // But I’m as blind as a fool can be // You stole my heart, but I love you anyway // Maggie, I wished I’d never seen your face .. I’ll get on back home one of these days // Ooh, ooh, ooh.”

Until this morning’s poking around I had absolutely no idea how big a success Rod Stewart has been — one of the best selling performers of all time with 250 million records sold, 10 number one albums and 31 top ten singles in the UK.

Rod Stewart — Maggie May (1971)

Rod Stewart — Wikipedia


“In my walks, every man I meet is in some way my superior and in that I can learn of him.” Ralph Waldo Emerson


PDF with headlines — Google Drive


#1 A graphic guide to justice (9 metaphors on one page).

#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20


Time to share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to music. Or the coolest thing you learned in your life related to music. Say your favorite song or songs. Or your favorite tips for breathing, posture, or relaxation. Or some insight into the history of music….Or just something random about music… like a joke about drummers, jazz, rock….or share an episode or chapter in your musical autobiography.

This is your chance to make some one else’s day. And perhaps to cement in your memory something important you would otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that matters to you.



John Muresianu

Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.