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…
Jacques Dutronc – Et moi et moi et moi (1966)
We move into 1966, dear reader, the only time England ever won the football World Cup not that we mention it much here in the UK, you understand. As we shift into a new year we hop on a plane once more and fly across the Atlantic to France. Touching down, we find ourselves in the company of a Parisian by the name of Jacques Dutronc. He started out as a songwriter and was asked to work with novelist, Jacques Lanzmann, to pen what became Et moi et moi et moi, which then became Dutronc’s debut effort and found its way onto this list. Nice going, Jacques.
Et moi et moi et moi translates as “And me, and me, and me” which sounds pretty self-indulgent and you would be right in assuming so. Dutronc’s narrator takes us through several verses and each one opens with something serious and profound in the world such as mention of 700 million Chinese or 900 million people who are starving, but he immediately changes the focus to himself each time and we get to hear about the narrator instead. What they are up to is bigger than global crises. We hear about them watching television, drinking whisky, being in a bath with a woman, and even going out hunting rabbits, seemingly mundane things that are more important than the hundreds of millions of people across the globe. This is narcissism central.
Et moi et moi et moi was considered a breakthrough of sorts in the world of French rock music and was even embraced in the likes of the UK despite the language barrier. Although I relied on a translation, it did not diminish the impact of the song. It is pure selfishness but, sadly, echoes the world we live in today where some people, not all of us thank goodness, are so absorbed in themselves they remain oblivious to the plights of others or, if they are aware of other’s misfortune, they don’t consider it more important than their own situation. Et moi et moi et moi indeed.
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 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)
The Righteous Brothers – Unchained Melody (1965)