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…
Lorraine Ellison – Stay with Me (1966)
Back to the US today, dear reader, after enjoying some lovely French cuisine. Being back in the States, it’s high time we had a bit more soul, I think, and today’s artist offers plenty of that. Lorraine Ellison was in the music business for just over a decade before quitting for family reasons but she is our special guest today and very welcome she is as well. Written by Jerry Ragovoy and George David Weiss, Stay with Me was Ellison’s best known song and good enough for a place on our magical list today.
Stay with Me sees Ellison taking on a narrator who is facing the end of a relationship. It has echoes of The Supremes’ Stop! In the Name of Love where the narrator has seen their man turning his attention to another woman. Ellison pleads with her man, reminding him that she has always been there for him and has given him everything, perhaps too much, yet it seems like the end is nigh. The narrator isn’t giving up though. They dig deep and cry out for this man to stay with them, for this love of theirs to not end but I daresay this one looks like a doomed romance.
Stay with Me is a deceptive song in that you think it will be a quiet affair. Ellison starts gently, telling us of this troubled relationship but when she hits the chorus, the music intensifies and her voice rockets up to the stratosphere. It comes out of nowhere and hits you like a left hook in a boxing ring. You’re not ready for it, it’s intense and emotional, then we come down for the calm verses before the energy rises once more. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when Ellison was recording this in the studio and how draining it must have been to put this much heart and soul into a recording. Stunning.
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)