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…
Hank Williams – I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry (1949)
Our final song of the 1940s sees us remain in the US but shift on over to the world of country music and to a song from one of the genre’s undoubted legends – Hank Williams. A prolific songwriter and popular entertainer in his day, Hank Williams seemingly had it all but he would sadly die aged only 29 on the back seat of a car where, thanks to years of alcohol and drug abuse, his heart simply couldn’t take any more. From Williams’ impressive repertoire we have I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.
The song may be inspired by the breakdown of Williams’ own marriage but what is not in doubt is that it is about the end of a relationship and the pain that comes with it. Williams uses some fantastic imagery to capture the despair his narrator is feeling. In the song the moon disappears from view to cry, while one verse speaks of a robin that weeps as the surrounding leaves in the trees begin to die. There is little ambiguity here from Hank Williams. This is pure heartbreak.
I have previously seen the Hank Williams’ biopic I Saw The Light (2015) which starred Tom Hiddleston and, for me, was unfairly slated by the critics. The film gave me some background to the singer but it was still a privilege to experience some of his material. This may come across as quite a simple song lyrically but such is Williams’ use of imagery that it will leave a big impression and loneliness is certainly conveyed throughout.
Favourite song so far:
Edith Piaf – La Vie en Rose (1946)