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 Platters – Only You (and You Alone) (1955)

The rock and roll scene is in full swing now, meaning we have to stay in the US so we don’t miss anything. Today’s artists are one of the most popular acts from this time. The Platters were gifted with the doo-wop sound and one of their biggest hits would be The Great Pretender. Today’s song, however, is one that gave the group one of their earliest hits when they finally hit upon a version that would prove too hard for audiences to resist.

Only You (and You Alone) is a love song with a simple but poignant message. Tony Williams leads the vocals on the song with the rest of the group providing the backing. Williams sings of one person and one person alone giving him everything he needs, making the world as wonderful as it is. Everything comes down to this one individual and The Platters leave us in no doubt about how truly special they are.

Tony Williams has a great voice here, generating both love and fragility as he conveys the song’s loving message. The other members of the group provide strong support with the backing vocals and the doo-wop sounds fantastic. Only You (and You Alone) would be a breakthrough for The Platters as they were one of the first African-American groups to be embraced both in the charts and by audiences listening in as music continued to develop through the 1950s.

 

Favourite songs so far:

Edith Piaf – La Vie en Rose (1946)

Elmore James – Dust My Broom (1952)

Little Richard – Tutti Frutti (1955)

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