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…
John Lee Hooker – Boom Boom (1962)
We’re continuing in the US today and we’re sampling a bit more of the blues, which is a good thing based on what we’ve enjoyed so far. Today’s artist is one of the most influential names in blues circles and doesn’t really need an introduction, but for the purposes of our list he’ll have to have one. We’re talking about the legendary John Lee Hooker and the 1001 Songs list has opted for one of his most famous numbers – Boom Boom.
Boom Boom is a love song of sorts though it’s a bit saucy for the innocent minded among us. Hooker begins the song with a memorable rhythm before singing to a woman of how he is going to knock her off her feet, take her home and then boom boom, which doesn’t require a stretch of the imagination to ascertain what he is alluding to here. The rest of the song is a tribute to this woman, how Hooker loves the way she dances and how he loves the way she speaks to him, especially in those moments when she whispers romantic words in his ear.
This isn’t the first time I have heard this one. I believe I first came across it in John Landis’ 1980 comedy The Blues Brothers which contains cameos from a myriad of blues stars. At one point John Lee Hooker can be seen – and heard – performing Boom Boom but we don’t get the full rendition sadly. This is the first time I think I have heard the song in its entirety and what an experience it is. That catchy melody fully complements Hooker’s deep and – dare I say – booming voice. I’ll get my coat! A worthy addition to this list and a fine testament to a great artist. Boom Boom indeed.
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)