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 Yardbirds – Happenings Ten Years Time Ago (1966)
We’re back in the UK today, dear reader, and returning to London where we feature a new artist. The Yardbirds were first formed in 1963 but had disbanded by 1968. In that five-year period a trio of legendary guitarists – Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page – had all been in the band at some point. That’s quite an accolade. Today 1001 Songs has opted for a song from 1966 when Clapton was no longer in the group but Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck both were. Out song is Happenings Ten Years Time Ago.
Happenings Ten Years Time Ago is a psychedelic number that was intended as a sort of commentary on reincarnation. In the song the narrator is taking in the world around them but certain memories are being triggered, random items resonate with them, it’s as if they have experienced some of this before. The narrator seems to be struggling with their grasp of reality here, beginning to question what is real around them and what is but a dream. They reveal that the answers can be found in their mind but that time has the tendency of burying such meaning as the years go by.
I don’t have much familiarity with The Yardbirds I’m ashamed to say but was very impressed with Happenings Ten Years Time Ago. The psychedelia is strong here and the luxury of hearing Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page on guitar is one hell of an experience. The song would mark one of the few instances where Beck and Page were recorded together. Beck would soon quit the group in the middle of a tour while Page continued with The Yardbirds until their end in 1968. Page would go on to form Led Zeppelin with Robert Plant, John Bonham and John Paul Jones, who played bass on Happenings Ten Years Time Ago. While The Yardbirds left their mark on music, Page would enjoy far greater success with Zeppelin, who may yet make an appearance on this list.
Favourite songs so far:
Ben E. King – Stand By Me (1961)
The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)
Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)
The Righteous Brothers – Unchained Melody (1965)
The Who – Substitute (1966)
The Rolling Stones – Paint It Black (1966)
The Beach Boys – God Only Knows (1966)
The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby (1966)
The Four Tops – Reach Out (I’ll Be There) (1966)
The Monkees – I’m a Believer (1966)