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…
Ray Charles – Your Cheating Heart (1962)
We’re continuing in the US and enjoying some more soul today from Ray Charles. It’s a second appearance on this list from the legendary singer and pianist. Will he appear again is the question? Today’s song was written by country star, Hank Williams, and became a popular number in that genre after Williams’ tragic early death, aged only 29. Charles picked up the song in the 1960s and put his own spin on it. The result? A place on this prestigious list, of course.
Hank Williams wrote Your Cheating Heart in reference to his wife, Aubrey, which was a marriage that had deteriorated and led to divorce. In the song the narrator sings to someone about their cheating heart and warns them of what it is to come because of their betrayal. This person may not feel any pain at the moment, but the narrator assures them that they soon will. They will regret their infidelity and will call the narrator’s name. Only bad things are coming their way.
When an artist covers a song it can either be to recreate it in a similar manner or to do something completely different with it. Ray Charles shows that he can dip into a song from another genre here and fashion it into what sounds like an original song from himself. Charles’ lead vocal soars along with that piano accompaniment and we have his backing vocalists to add even more gusto to the song. I’m sure Hank Williams would have been impressed.
Favourite songs so far:
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)
The Contours – Do You Love Me (1962)