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…
Frank Sinatra – In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning (1955)
I’m still feeling at home in the US so will stay at least another day. I didn’t imagine this list would not have at least one song from today’s artist – Frank Sinatra. I’m sure My Way will pop up at some point but we have a different song today. Written by David Mann and Bob Hilliard, In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning, would be the title track on Sinatra’s 1955 album, In the Wee Small Hours. It would be covered by many artists but it is Sinatra who has the plaudits for this particular list.
In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning is a song about lost love and longing for someone who is no longer there. Sinatra sings of being awake while the rest of the world is asleep. There is no solace to be found in his empty bed, no sleep waiting for him there, so he stands alone and thinks of the one he loves, lamenting the end of their love and longing for her to be back again. The song would set the tone for Sinatra’s album which is considered one of the earlier examples of the concept album with the theme of loneliness and lost love running through each of its tracks.
This is a short, slow song with a beautiful melody to accompany Sinatra’s powerful voice. You can almost picture him looking out of the window, up at the stars and singing this one aloud. It’s another example of love that has ended on this list of 1001 songs, surely a testament that the most powerful songs are those that deal with the harder emotions that many of us go through in our lives.
Favourite songs so far:
Edith Piaf – La Vie en Rose (1946)
Elmore James – Dust My Broom (1952)