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 Supremes – Stop! In the Name of Love (1965)

We had the privilege of Otis Redding yesterday, and today we remain in the US to savour one of the 1960s biggest acts – The Supremes. The original trio of Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard wrote their names into history with a string of stunning hits and they remain one of the most successful acts from the US in music history. 1001 Songs set themselves a challenge choosing a song from The Supremes’ playlist but they have gone with Stop! In the Name of Love.

Stop! In the Name of Love sees Diana Ross, as usual, on lead vocals with Wilson and Ballard providing the crucial backing. Ross’ narrator is a woman who is with a man who is cheating on her. She knows of his indiscretion, she has even seen the other woman that he is heading out to spend nights with. This guy isn’t worth any woman’s time clearly but the narrator doesn’t feel that way. She is pleading with him to stop this infidelity and to come back to her. For him to carry on as he is will only break her heart and he needs to decide whether it is worth the pain she is going through. I suspect he will be unmoved by such pleas. 

This is one of the classic Supremes’ songs, a match for the likes of Baby Love and You Can’t Hurry Love, a worthy addition to this list. The Supremes were an amazing group in their day and although Diana Ross was the main singer, they were still a trio and both Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard were essential to what made them great. Ross would sadly leave to pursue a solo career in 1970, while Wilson kept the group going but it did not last. Ballard, left in 1968 after difficulties with depression and alcohol and would later die in 1976 aged just 32. Diana Ross would go from strength to strength as a solo artist but it’s her work with The Supremes that continues to amaze audiences to this day.

 

Favourite songs so far:

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)

The Supremes – Stop! In the Name of Love (1965)

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