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…
Peret – El muerto vivo (1966)
It’s farewell to Brazil, dear reader, and our plane is taking us back across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. Once we approach our descent takes us down into Spain where we take in some very different music today. We’re sampling a spot of Catalan rumba and one of the big names in this field is our guest today – Peret. 1001 Songs has opted for El muerto vivo, which translates as The Living Dead and originated in Colombia before Peret adapted it.
El muerto vivo has the narrator singing about an individual named Blanco Herrera who works hard, earns his money, and then proceed to blow it all on alcohol. Herrera drinks himself into unconsciousness and does not come home. The conclusion is reached that he must be dead and when a body is found that looks similar to Herrera, a funeral is held for him. Herrera ends up returning and presumably is considered the living dead. He likely regrets having one too many drinks as his wife no longer wants him now and his life has turned upside down.
El muerto vivo is a light-hearted but delightful song. It has a comical side to it but the music sucks you in and the lyrics tell a great story. Peret would leave the music industry in the early 1980s and absorb himself in religion. He later returned to the music scene in the 1990s and continued to enjoy acclaim until his death from lung cancer in 2014 at the age of 79.
Favourite songs so far:
Eddie Cochran – Summertime Blues (1958)
Ben E. King – Stand By Me (1961)
The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)
The Mamas & The Papas – California Dreamin’ (1965)
Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)
The Righteous Brothers – Unchained Melody (1965)
The Who – Substitute (1966)
The Kinks – Sunny Afternoon (1966)
The Rolling Stones – Paint It Black (1966)
The Beach Boys – God Only Knows (1966)