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…

 

Gino Paoli – Sapore di sale (1963)

What’s this? We’re not staying in the US today, you say? Yes, you heard it right, dear reader. Today, we’re hopping on a plane and crossing the Atlantic Ocean into Europe. Upon reaching the mainland we head on down to beautiful Italy to sample some of the music there. If we have time for the local cuisine I will not be saying no. I do love Italian food. Our featured guest is one of Italy’s much-loved sons by the name of Gino Paoli who has written some celebrated classics. Dipping into his back catalogue, 1001 Songs has opted for Sapore di sale.

Sapore di sale translates as Flavour of Salt and, yes, I did have to seek out a translation for this one given my Italian being non-existent. Don’t judge me! The song sees Paoli take on a narrator who is singing about being at the beach, looking upon the sun-kissed ocean and to cap off this coastal idyll he is with a gorgeous woman. She keeps heading into the water for a swim while the narrator looks on longingly. She then returns to land and he takes in the salty taste of her skin and lips and is lost in that moment. Time stands almost still in this beach retreat and the lovers are in no rush for it to end. 

As with many songs on this list that I have sought a translation for, Sapore di sale is incomprehensible to me without any knowledge of Italian but that doesn’t mean it isn’t wonderful to listen to. On its own it is a pleasant number from Paoli but with that translation you are transported to that beach, the sun hot against your face and the blue waves lapping against the shore, and possibly your toes if you are sitting close enough. Though the age of the lovers in the song is unspecified, I imagine them as young and carefree, not yet fully aware of life’s challenges and the world in general. A delightful song for the summer.

 

Favourite songs so far:

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)

Roy Orbison – In Dreams (1963)

The Ronettes – Be My Baby (1963)

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