1001 Songs Challenge,  1960s,  Music

1001 Songs Challenge #231: I’m a Man (1967)

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 Spencer Davis Group – I’m a Man (1967)

After our Anglo-American fusion yesterday with The Jimi Hendrix Experience, we are more certain of your location today, dear reader. We’re back in the good old UK and head into the Midlands to the city of Birmingham. Our guests today are The Spencer Davis Group made up of Spencer Davis, Pete York and brothers – Steve and Muff Winwood. They enjoyed a brief period of success including two no.1 hits in the UK. However, 1001 Songs has chosen one of their last songs with this line-up – I’m a Man.

I’m a Man could be semi-autobiographical for the band because it appears to be about a narrator who is in the music business and loving it. Their appearance leaves a lot to be desired as they are unshaven and their home is a mess. They are too focused on music and don’t need any distractions. However, distractions there are in the form of beautiful women and though the narrator does their best to resist a glance or falling in love, the chorus hits hard with the refrain “I’m a Man” and for that reason this person cannot help loving an unspecified woman. They fight hard to be the workaholic musician, invested in their art but can’t resist the lure of love. It comes with being a man, I guess.

The Spencer Davis Group are one of those bands who I am unfamiliar with yet when you hear a certain song, your ears prick up and you think, “Oh, that’s one of their songs.” The same happened here with I’m a Man. I had heard the song before many times but never knew who the artist was. It’s a great song, notable for the inclusion of a Hammond organ that drives the melody. By 1967 the group would sever, with the Winwood brothers both leaving. The group pushed on with new members until disbanding in 1969 with occasional reunions in the years that followed.


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 Doors – The End (1967)

The Spencer Davis Group – I’m a Man (1967)

My name is Dave and I live in Yorkshire in the north of England and have been here all my life. I hope you enjoy your visit to All is Ephemeral.

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