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…
Danny & the Juniors – At the Hop (1958)
Continuing in the US today and we’re hanging onto rock and roll for as long as we can. Today’s artist and their song has a bit of a history. When it was written they were known as The Juvenairs and the song was called Do the Bop. Television host, Dick Clark, suggested some changes and all of a sudden we had today’s song on this list – At the Hop by the now renamed group, Danny & the Juniors.
At the Hop is a song about dancing and in particular the high school dance of which the term “Hop” was a slang term for such a gathering in the 1950s. Danny & the Juniors sing of going to the high school dance and proceed to list a series of different dances that one can do dependent on the music that is playing. Rock, roll, slop, stroll, chalypso and chicken are examples of the sort of moves one can indulge in. Sounds like a wild party to me. I’m not sure I would fare so well!
At the Hop was a massive success, a chart topper in the US and one of the biggest sellers of the year. I do enjoy the song but one of the problems for me is that I was familiar firstly with their follow up song – Rock and Roll is Here to Stay. That song sounds similar to this one musically and for that reason I feel the impact of At the Hop wasn’t as big on me as it maybe should have been. A part of me wishes I had heard this one first. Both are still great songs from this time though and it’s good to see one of them on this list.
Favourite songs so far:
Edith Piaf – La Vie en Rose (1946)
Elmore James – Dust My Broom (1952)
Little Richard – Tutti Frutti (1955)
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)