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…
Vince Taylor & His Playboys – Brand New Cadillac (1959)
Well, here we are in 1959 after a very long stay in 1958. Today’s artist is an inspirational one. He was born in the UK but emigrated with his family to the US at a young age. He picked up some musical influences while in the US and then returned to the UK in the late 1950s. The artist is Vince Taylor and with His Playboys he would enjoy a brief stab at the big time. Taylor began with covers of songs but it was a B-side – one of his own compositions – which makes this list.
Brand New Cadillac is a song about heartbreak and the end of a relationship…with cars thrown in! Bear with me on this one. Taylor tells us that his lover is driving away in the Cadillac of the title and he is beseeching her not to. Taylor has a Ford for company so there’s no comparison really. Not that I know anything about cars. Despite this setback Taylor hops into his car (Ford!) and gives chase, begging this woman to do a U-turn in that Cadillac and drive back to him. Something about cars in here, I think.
Researching Vince Taylor led to some interesting snippets. Taylor’s career would decline in the 60s and both drug and alcohol abuse would be a factor in this. That wasn’t to say he would be forgotten. A young musician named David Bowie would later meet Vince Taylor and the washed up singer became one of the inspirations for the legendary Ziggy Stardust. You may be familiar with that guy. We might see him in the 1970s. In summary, Brand New Cadillac is a catchy song and would make an impression for future artists such as The Clash who did their own version. Sadly, Taylor’s turbulent life would end in 1991 from lung cancer. He was just 52 years old.
Favourite songs so far:
Elvis Presley – Heartbreak Hotel (1956)
Fats Domino – Blueberry Hill (1956)
Johnny Cash – I Walk the Line (1956)
The Louvin Brothers – The Knoxville Girl (1956)
Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode (1958)
Cliff Richard & The Drifters – Move It (1958)
Ritchie Valens – La Bamba (1958)
Eddie Cochran – Summertime Blues (1958)
Peggy Lee – Fever (1958)
The Everly Brothers – All I Have to Do Is Dream (1958)