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…
Everly Brothers – Love Hurts (1960)
We’re in the US again today and we say welcome back to the talented duo – Don and Phil – also known as the Everly Brothers. You may recall that their previous appearance on this list was back in 1958 with All I Have to Do Is Dream, currently one of my ten favourite songs on the list thus far. Today’s selection was written by Boudleaux Bryant and recorded by the brothers in 1960. Though it appeared on an album it was never released as a single. The song is Love Hurts.
Love Hurts is pretty self-explanatory with a title like that. There’s no ambiguity here, folks, this is the pain and suffering that love can give us. The Everly Brothers take us through a series of striking images to convey the beauty and deception of love, comparing it to a cloud (beautiful) but reminding us clouds carry rain (tears?). It’s also juxtaposed with a stove and we’re told it can burn you. Nasty. They go on to sing of others that have fallen under love’s spell and are tricked by it. Not good. By the end the brothers’ sombre singing echoes the pain of love and how it has left them in a dark place.
I hadn’t heard this one from the Everly Brothers before. It was a song that would be covered by the likes of Roy Orbison as well as rock group Nazareth in the 1970s. It is Phil and Don that have the honour here on this list though and it’s not hard to see why. Their beautiful voices wrap around one another and create a gorgeous but poignant melody. This doesn’t reach the heights of All I Have to Do Is Dream but it’s a masterclass in harmony and one that would influence other singers that would emerge later in this decade.
Favourite songs so far:
Elvis Presley – Heartbreak Hotel (1956)
Fats Domino – Blueberry Hill (1956)
Johnny Cash – I Walk the Line (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)
The Shirelles – Will You Love Me Tomorrow (1960)