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…
Yes – Sweetness (1969)
We’re going back to the UK today, dear reader, and I feel I’ve been back and forth across the Atlantic so many times now I could do it with my eyes closed. Anyway, we find ourselves back in London and in 1968 a group were formed by the name of Yes. Over the years they have undergone many changes in personnel but we visit the band in the early days of 1969 when they released their debut album – Yes. They released a couple of singles from said album and one of these – Sweetness – has been selected for our 1001 Songs list.
Sweetness is a love song with the narrator telling us about someone who sounds pretty damn amazing. We hear how this person lights up days with sunshine, she mixes the “sweetness” of the title into the moments the couple share together and she is very perceptive about her lover’s changing moods. In summary, if he’s being a moron she knows how to handle him. It sounds like she knows all the rights things to do and say to make this narrator’s life complete. He envisages a world without her and it sounds like a bleak place. This person completes him and he does not wish to be without her and her “sweetness”.
Yes are one of many groups I want to learn more about. Their name pops up often when I read about other bands but this is the first time I have experienced their work. Sweetness is a, well, sweet love song with some great vocals from Jon Anderson but he is ably supported by other band members with their backing vocals offering a pleasant harmony throughout. As first songs go, this was an interesting taster of Yes but I understand in the 1970s that their style changed to a more progressive rock so I’ll be intrigued to see if they pop up again on this list.
Favourite songs so far:
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 Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)
Procol Harum – A Whiter Shade of Pale (1967)
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (1968)
The Kinks – Days (1968)