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…
Love – Alone Again Or (1967)
We’re heading back to the US, dear reader, and to Los Angeles where we revisit the band, Love. They previously appeared with the song, 7 and 7 Is, which appeared back in 1965. Feels like a long time ago, doesn’t it? Back then, band member Bryan MacLean had begun work on a new song which involved memories of waiting around for a former girlfriend but it wasn’t completed until 1967. The wait was worth it for the song has made it onto our prestigious 1001 list. Our featured song today is Alone Again Or.
Alone Again Or sees MacLean write from the perspective of a narrator who is waiting patiently for a girl and insists he will continue to do so. He laments that this girl will do her own thing and likely not show up, leaving him alone with his thoughts. In the second and third verses the narrator talks of hearing words of wisdom from another person who tells him that they could envisage falling in love with any person for people are fun to be around. The narrator clearly does not share this sentiment, being alone as they are, but you get the sense they would love to harbour a similar perspective about people. After all, such insight might spare them from the pain they are currently experiencing.
Alone Again Or is an emotive number from Love which is limited in lyrical output but that does not diminish the impact. One of its strengths is in the backing music which includes a brass accompaniment and some sections are akin to the kind of music you might expect to hear on Mexican shores, which is a good thing. The music is quite upbeat but does not diminish the overall impact of this song whose words convey the pain of unrequited love and loneliness. Despite the sombre subject matter, I enjoyed this one more than 7 and 7 Is, personally.
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 Who – Substitute (1966)
The Rolling Stones – Paint It Black (1966)
The Beach Boys – God Only Knows (1966)
The Doors – The End (1967)
The Kinks – Waterloo Sunset (1967)
Aretha Franklin – Respect (1967)
The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)