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…
Chet Baker – I Get Along Without You Very Well (1954)
It’s still 1954, we’re still in the US and if you like the familiarity we have the talented Chet Baker back for his second appearance on this list. The jazz trumpeter was also a good looking and gifted singer, so had quite a repertoire. This song – I Get Along Without You Very Well – written by Hoagy Carmichael back in 1939 had many artists attempt it but Chet Baker’s version has been chosen here.
I Get Along Without You Very Well sees the narrator nursing a broken heart. Just as Simon and Garfunkel would attest that they were okay in I Am a Rock, Chet Baker assures us that although heartbroken in the past he is now doing very well thank you very much. The only problem is that he is anything but okay. The slightest thing triggers memories of the person he has lost, be it the rainfall or being in Spring. This is someone who is very fragile, still healing, and longing for better days hopefully to come.
I was not familiar with Chet Baker prior to starting this challenge and now I have sampled two great songs from the man, the previous being My Funny Valentine. Baker’s vocals here are tender, carefully timed and accompanied by equally gentle music. It serves to emphasise how delicate the narrator is in this moment and just how hard it is for a broken heart to heal.
Favourite songs so far:
Edith Piaf – La Vie en Rose (1946)
Elmore James – Dust My Broom (1952)