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 Sonics – Psycho (1965)

Only a brief stop in a land Down Under, dear reader, so hope you enjoyed the sunshine. We’re back on that plane and bracing ourselves for a long flight back to the US. We find ourselves in the northwest in the state of Washington. Today’s group influenced the likes of Bruce Springsteen, over in New Jersey, and Nirvana, also from Washington, so something clearly inspirational in the Washington waters. Our group is The Sonics and 1001 Songs has gone with Psycho.

Psycho sees the narrator singing of a woman who is making his life difficult. She’s not a bad person, you understand, it’s just that he is clearly into this woman but the feelings are not reciprocated. She turns him down, makes him feel like a clown, he is going out of his mind because of this woman, hence the use of the word “psycho”. It doesn’t sound like there is much of a chance for this guy where this woman is concerned and it is really affecting him. I would say move on and find someone else but the narrator isn’t ready to do that just yet.

Lyrically there is not a lot in Psycho but in some respects the words are superseded by the music. It’s loud, raucous, hits hard and there’s a mean saxophone thrown into the mix as well. Quite a concoction for the fine musical diner, you might say. You can imagine this would have felt somewhat ahead of its time and been influential with the likes of punk rock that would come in the 1970s and even grunge in the 1990s. The good times for the group would not last with original members gradually leaving to be replaced though there have been reforms up until the time of writing so The Sonics are not quite done yet. They will be remembered as influencers for music still to come and that is not a bad legacy to have.

 

Favourite songs so far:

Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode (1958)

Eddie Cochran – Summertime Blues (1958)

The Everly Brothers – All I Have to Do Is Dream (1958)

Edith Piaf – Non, je ne regrette rien (1960)

Ben E. King – Stand By Me (1961)

The Righteous Brothers – You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling (1964)

The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)

The Mamas & The Papas – California Dreamin’ (1965)

The Rolling Stones – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (1965)

The Seekers – The Carnival is Over (1965)

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