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…
Jackie Wilson – (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher (1967)
We’re staying in the US, dear reader, but heading over to Detroit, Michigan. Our artist and guest today started his career with Bill Ward and his Dominoes before pursuing a solo career in the late 1950s. Jackie Wilson would enjoy a good career as a solo artist but it was one blighted with controversies, not to mention him being shot at one stage in the 1960s. We are here to celebrate his music, of course, and from his collection of hits, 1001 Songs has selected (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher.
(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher sees Jackie Wilson following a theme that we have explored in many of our songs up to now. We have the narrator who is reflecting on a time when life was downbeat for them and they had little to look forward to. Into their life steps a very special woman, love blossoms, and now the narrator feels happier than ever before. He tells this person just how great her love makes him feel and beseeches her to continue with this for he can’t get enough of being with her and being in love with her.
The title of this song did not jump out at me but as soon as Wilson began to sing, I recognised it. It’s a really upbeat little number and showcases what a great voice Jackie Wilson had. Sadly, his music career would come to an end in 1975 when he suffered a serious heart attack while singing on stage. Ironically, the final words he sang were “My heart is crying..” Though Wilson survived, he slipped into a coma due to oxygen deprivation to his brain. He did regain consciousness but could no longer speak and spent the rest of his life out of the public eye in a retirement home, passing away from pneumonia in 1984 at the age of 49. Two years later in the UK, Jackie Wilson topped the charts with a re-release of Reet Petite. The magic lived on.
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 Monkees – I’m a Believer (1966)
The Doors – The End (1967)