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…
Otis Redding – I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (to Stop Now) (1965)
We’re staying in the US today, dear reader, and it’s time we took in a bit of soul again. The King of Soul – Sam Cooke – was murdered in December 1964 and his crown, arguably, went to today’s artist – Otis Redding. When I hear that name, my first thought is Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, but 1001 Songs has not chosen that classic, at least not yet. Instead, they have opted for another popular number from Redding in the form of I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (to Stop Now).
I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (to Stop Now) is in a similar vein to The Righteous Brothers’ You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’. Redding’s narrator sings of a relationship he is in and how happy it makes him. The problem is that the love is no longer reciprocated. This used to be a good relationship but Redding concedes it has been going on too long. The cracks are visible, the damage is irrevocable but Redding is desperate to hang on to what remains just a bit longer. He admits they have been together too long and he is to blame for this. He knows it’s time to walk away, to let his lover be free but he needs more time before he admits defeat.
This is a tragic song that is beautifully captured in its lyrics while Redding’s vocals are immaculate. I take my hat off to Sam Cooke for his stunning voice and although he is worthy of the title “King of Soul”, Otis Redding was a worthy successor and could have gone on to give the world so much more than he did. Sadly, in December 1967 while touring, Redding’s plane crashed in Lake Monona, Wisconsin, and with it another legend of soul was gone. Redding was just 26 years old.
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)