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 Flamingos – I Only Have Eyes For You (1959)
Continuing in the US today we are steering a course back to that much-loved doo-wop sound that we’ve already seen a few times on this list. Our artists today are The Flamingos who soldiered their way through much of the 1950s without getting anywhere. In 1959 they finally achieved success with a cover version of I Only Have Eyes For You previously written for the 1934 film, Dames. With The Flamingos it gained a new lease of life.
I Only Have Eyes For You is a pretty self-explanatory title for a song. The Flamingos throw in that doo-wop backing while lead vocalist Nate Nelson takes us through this romantic journey. Nelson sings of unknown surroundings including the skies, people and objects in the vicinity. He cannot see any of these things for his eyes are fixed solely on the woman he loves and he has no desire to turn them away, instead he is going to savour and prove his love with a passionate gaze.
This is a pleasant doo-wop song that would prove to be the biggest hit for The Flamingos. They would never reach such heights again but it would be enough to later see them go into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Artists such as Art Garfunkel and Rod Stewart would record their versions of I Only Have Eyes For You, but it is this version from The Flamingos that takes home all the plaudits and, of course, a place on this list.
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)