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…
Patsy Cline – Crazy (1961)
Keep the plane grounded today, air control, for we’re not leaving the US just yet. We’re back into the land of country music and it is a second appearance on this list – and indeed this week – from Patsy Cline. Previously, we enjoyed I Fall to Pieces and today we have a song written by Willie Nelson. This was prior to Nelson’s own career coming to fruition. In 1961 he wrote a song called Crazy which other artists turned down but Patsy Cline made her own. It took her to mega stardom and set Nelson on the road to a music career of his own.
Crazy is a song about heartbreak. Cline takes on the role of the distraught narrator who has been in love with someone but now that relationship is over and they have moved onto someone else. Cline acknowledges in the song that she knew she was on borrowed time with this guy and that she should have savoured the moment but that doesn’t ease her broken heart that much. The use of the word “crazy” is to describe her state of mind about this guy, how she is simply crazy to have expected anything less than what has happened, to have even imagined she would be enough for this man and that to hang on to any hopes of their being together again is simply foolish. We’re given no inkling as to whether this guy is worth all this pain unfortunately. We can only speculate based on the profound impact he has had on the narrator.
As with I Fall to Pieces, Crazy packs in a delightful vocal from Patsy Cline. It moves along at a gentle pace and with Cline’s repetition of certain lyrics the pain of the narrator is given greater emphasis and meaning. Many artists would cover this song in different genres in the years that followed but Cline’s take is considered to be the ultimate recording, with Willie Nelson also stating this was his favourite version. Sadly, in 1963 Patsy Cline was killed when a private plane she was in crashed with no survivors. She was only 30 years old.
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)
Edith Piaf – Non, je ne regrette rien (1960)
Ben E. King – Stand By Me (1961)