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 Beatles – Hey Jude (1968)
We’re making the short journey from Northern Ireland, across the Irish Sea, and to Liverpool, England today, dear reader. Once again The Beatles are featuring on our list but we’re now late into the sixties so I imagine our time with the Fab Four could be ending soon, possibly today, which will be a great shame. As well as a plethora of excellent albums, The Beatles also had some brilliant singles that did not feature on any of their records, save the greatest hits collections. One such example is what 1001 Songs has selected today i.e. Hey Jude.
Hey Jude was written by Paul McCartney and began life as a song of comfort for John Lennon’s son, Julian, though Lennon believed it was written for him. Lennon had left home to be with Yoko Ono, leaving his first wife, Cynthia, and young Julian behind. McCartney continued to visit them and composed Hey Jude in response to the turbulent family life unfolding. The song begins with the narrator telling Jude that they are going to be okay, that things might be bad at the moment but they will get better. The narrator also encourages Jude to pursue an unnamed woman and in doing so she will help him to improve. Jude is also advised to be open with his emotions, not to bottle up his pain but to express it and only then can his healing begin.
Clocking in at more than seven minutes, Hey Jude is one of the longest songs The Beatles ever recorded. It’s rightfully considered one of their classics and will often be on lists of THE 10 best ever songs by The Beatles. I personally wouldn’t rate it as highly as that but that’s just me. McCartney sings this one beautifully and after completing each of the verses, the song has a long outro where the audience is called upon to join in and sing with multiple “na na nas” and, of course, “Hey Jude”. Even after hearing this one hundreds of times, it’s hard to resist joining in when you reach those closing minutes. Are you singing the outro right now? I certainly am.
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)