On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge 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 every day (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… legendary!
Roy Brown – Good Rockin’ Tonight (1947)
” Good Rocking Tonight” was originally a jump blues song released in 1947 by its writer, Roy Brown and was covered by many recording artists (sometimes as Good Rockin’ Tonight). The song includes the memorable refrain, “Well I heard the news, there’s good rocking tonight!” The song anticipated elements of rock and roll music.
We remain in the US, in particular New Orleans where we meet an influential musician by the name of Roy Brown. Championing a more upbeat version of the blues known as jump blues, Brown penned Good Rockin’ Tonight in the 1940s and it would go on to be covered by numerous artists. Brown himself is considered to have been a precursor to both R&B and rock and roll, not a bad tag to have against your name.
In Good Rockin’ Tonight Brown sings of how he has heard about the good rockin’ of the title and he beseeches a woman to join him. He promises her a memorable time and that they will hold each other tight as they rock away all of their blues and troubles. Presumably the rockin’ of the title is dancing and enjoyment and that is essentially the theme of the song all the way through.
From my research it was interesting to hear how Brown was made to sing the song over the phone to a record producer who insisted his friend give the singer money and make a promise not to let him out of their sight until the song had been recorded. When rock and roll and R&B did take off then many artists would eclipse Brown and others that covered this song would enjoy greater success but Good Rockin’ Tonight is as much about the influence as it is about the content and the sound.
Favourite song so far: