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…
Cream – Sunshine of Your Love (1967)
We’re straight back to the UK today, dear reader, and it is a second appearance on our illustrious list by Cream. Drummer Ginger Baker was in the headlines recently, having sadly passed away at the age of 80. Bassist, Jack Bruce, died in 2014 aged 71. Of the original trio only Eric Clapton now remains. Our previous post on Cream mentioned they were a supergroup – a trio of brilliant musicians in their respective fields – but their union was sadly short-lived. From their collection, 1001 Songs has opted for Sunshine of Your Love.
Sunshine of Your Love is a love song with the narrator biding their time waiting to be with their lover. They wait throughout the night but when morning comes the couple will be together once more. As soon as they are reunited, the narrator assures his lover that he will be going nowhere and that he’ll essentially remain with her until the end of time itself. Is she okay with this? The title makes reference to the feeling this person gives the narrator, that her love is akin to sunshine brightening up the day and sending the darkness scattering into the background.
Sunshine of Your Love is notable for the bass riff that Jack Bruce came up with and it was said to be inspired by watching Jimi Hendrix on stage one night. Whenever I hear that riff it makes me think of how it was used in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 classic Goodfellas. We hear the music as Robert DeNiro’s Jimmy Conway sits at a bar, cigarette in one hand, his eyes shifting as he contemplates his next move. The song itself is an undoubted classic, a showcase of the magic that is created when you put three musical geniuses together in a studio. Unfortunately, as already mentioned, genius cannot account for divergent personalities which ultimately put paid to Cream in 1968.
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)
The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)
Procol Harum – A Whiter Shade of Pale (1967)