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…
Bobby Darin – Lazy River (1961)
Extended stay in the US once more and we have a second appearance on this list from Bobby Darin. He previously graced us with Mack the Knife back in the 1950s but has bagged himself a song from the 1960s for our magical 1001 as well. Written by Hoagy Carmichael and Sidney Arodin way back in 1930, this song is known either as Lazy River or Up a Lazy River. It’s been covered by many artists but Bobby Darin is the one that shines brightest with his take.
Lazy River seems to be a romantic song of sorts. In the song the narrator addresses another person, presumably their lover, and beseeches them to journey up the lazy river of the title to a secluded and sun-kissed area with the welcome embrace of shade beneath the trees and a robin’s song hanging melodiously in the air. It’s a place to go when you want to to dream, to forget your troubles, and to simply be at one and in love. An idyll of sorts if you will, a sanctuary from the real world. Sounds good to me.
Bobby Darin starts this one slowly but you soon feel like you are building up to something. He doesn’t disappoint. The music level rises and Darin’s vocals become more urgent. Before you know it he’s in full jazz swing and packs a lot of energy into a song that is less than three minutes. This isn’t quite as good as Mack the Knife but is a solid song all the same. I had heard of Bobby Darin before commencing my musical odyssey but don’t recall listening to any of his work prior to this. I’m now glad I have.
Favourite songs so far:
Elvis Presley – Heartbreak Hotel (1956)
Johnny Cash – I Walk the Line (1956)
Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode (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)
Johnny Kidd & the Pirates – Shakin’ All Over (1960)
Edith Piaf – Non, je ne regrette rien (1960)