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 Who – My Generation (1965)
After a long stay in the US, we’re back on a plane across the Atlantic and to my homeland in the UK once more. We’re in London for today’s group, another Fab Four you might say in the form of The Who. Together, Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon produced some of the classic hits from the 1960s and were comparable to The Beatles and The Rolling Stones in terms of their fanbase and influence. 1001 Songs has opted for an obvious choice from The Who’s back catalogue in the form of My Generation.
My Generation is said to have tapped into the Mod counterculture and the angst of being a teenager in the 1960s. Going through the lyrics the narrator tells us that his “generation” is put down, treated cold and that his desire is to die before he gets old. There is a clear divide between the old and the young here. The young generation are very different and represent things that the older generation do not understand or, maybe, choose not to understand. They expect this generation to behave in a certain way but they refuse to. The 1960s were a time of great changes socially, politically and culturally and My Generation captures the essence of this period.
I love The Who and when I think of the group the likes of My Generation, Substitute and Baba O’Riley are the first songs that immediately spring to mind. My Generation is, arguably, the group’s best known song and still sounds immense to this day, with four talented musicians working in perfect cohesion. The Who still perform to this day but sadly only Daltrey and Townshend remain. Moon died in 1978 from a drug overdose, aged just 32, while Entwistle died in 2002, aged 57, also from a drug overdose that contributed to a fatal heart attack. At their peak, The Who were something very special and My Generation is just one example of their genius.
Favourite songs so far:
Eddie Cochran – Summertime Blues (1958)
The Everly Brothers – All I Have to Do Is Dream (1958)
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 Supremes – Stop! In the Name of Love (1965)
Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)
The Who – My Generation (1965)