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…
Toots & The Maytals – Pressure Drop (1968)
We’re back in full on flying mode today, dear reader. We were in the UK yesterday with The Rolling Stones, and today we are heading across the Atlantic Ocean and back to Jamaica. We were here not so long ago and sampling some reggae and we’re enjoying some more today. Good stuff. Toots & The Maytals were led by Toots Hibbert and were the first to use the word “reggae” in a song. 1001 Songs has opted for a song that helped to make their sound known to many across the world – Pressure Drop.
Pressure Drop is said to be a revenge song of sorts. The title makes reference to a barometer which was used at this time to forecast changes in the weather. A drop in pressure on the barometer might spell an impending storm. The phrase “pressure drop” is said to have been used as a form of slang to essentially wish ill on another person. In the song the narrator makes reference to another person and repeatedly insists that the pressure is going to drop for them i.e. bad things are going to happen. Sinister.
Pressure Drop is lyrically quite repetitive but it’s hard not to get lost in it. Toots & The Maytals collectively have such great voices and the music is so intoxicating that it’s easy to forget what you’re hearing and just immerse yourself in the beat. Pressure Drop was instrumental in helping to launch reggae around the world and the song would be subsequently covered by numerous artists such as The Specials and The Clash, which was quite a testament to its greatness.
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)