1001 Songs Challenge,  1960s,  Music

1001 Songs Challenge #114: Save the Last Dance for Me (1960)

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…


The Drifters – Save the Last Dance for Me (1960)

Save the Last Dance for Me

” Save the Last Dance for Me” is a song written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, first recorded in 1960 by the Drifters, with Ben E. King on lead vocals. In a 1990 interview, songwriter Doc Pomus tells the story of the song being recorded by the Drifters and originally designated as the B-side of the record.

Lyrics (via Genius)


Well, we’re back to the US today for their first song to appear in the 1960s. Didn’t take the Americans long did it? They’re damn good at music, that’s for sure. The group today specialised in doo-wop, R&B and soul but they went through many incarnations with three distinct lineups in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. We are concerned with the second of the three lineups when a lead vocalist by the name of Ben E. King took on today’s song. Written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, our second entry in the 1960s is Save the Last Dance for Me.

Save the Last Dance for Me is a love song with a bit of dancing thrown in. While The Drifters throw in some of the doo-wop we’ve come to love, Ben E. King sets the scene by telling us of a woman who is dancing with other men and having a good time. This is not a problem, he has no issue with it which is good, but the one thing he wants this woman to know is that because she will be going home with him, he wants her last dance to be with him.

This is good love song from The Drifters and it is sung very well by Ben E. King. Perhaps we’ll see more from him later on this list? Who knows? Now, Save the Last Dance for Me is one of those songs with a touch of ambiguity about it. One could argue the man is already with this woman and knows the last dance will be with him before they go home together which makes it very romantic. Alternatively, maybe he is watching her from afar and pleading in the distance for her to notice him and to let him be the last man she dances with that night, which is kind of sad. However you look at it, it’s another moving romance as we continue our journey into the 1960s.


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 Drifters – Save the Last Dance for Me (1960)

My name is Dave and I live in Yorkshire in the north of England and have been here all my life. I hope you enjoy your visit to All is Ephemeral.

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