On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.

My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.

I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.

So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…

 

The Nat King Cole Trio – (Get Your Kicks on) Route 66 (1946)

Back to the US today but upon landing we’re straight into a car and cruising on down from Chicago all the way to Los Angeles. It’s a straightforward enough drive for we are heading along the fabled Route 66. The song (Get Your Kicks on) Route 66 was written by Bobby Troup during his own drive down the famous highway. Upon completion the song was passed to The Nat King Cole Trio.

The song is simple enough, talking about a road trip down Route 66 and listing many of the destinations that one will come to along the way. Missouri, Oklahoma City, New Mexico, Arizona and San Bernardino are just a selection of the destinations you can expect to pass through on your own American odyssey. Nat King Cole sings the bulk of the lyrics at the outset before a musical interlude takes over prior to one more repetition of the chorus.

In the past I have often thought it would be amazing to drive a car (I can’t drive by the way!) across the US, in the style of Kerouac, taking in each of the states in turn and cruising from coast to coast. This song is a piece of history in itself, celebrating a legendary highway that has fallen victim to the passing of the years now and has been largely replaced by new highways though it retains its identity in some parts of the US as Historic Route 66. The song evokes images of carefree escapism, the chance to live a life on the road for a time and given the madness that the world conjures up on a daily basis today that wouldn’t be a bad thing to experience.

 

Favourite song so far:

Billie Holiday – Strange Fruit (1939)

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