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 MC5 – Kick Out the Jams (1969)
We’re staying in the US today, dear reader, and heading over to Detroit for some more rock music. Yesterday, we were in the company of The Stooges who were considered influential for the punk rock movement of the 1970s. Today, we have The MC5 who are also considered to be pioneers of a sort for the punk still to come. In 1969 the group released their debut album and from that record 1001 Songs has selected the title track – Kick Out the Jams.
Kick Out the Jams was a phrase that the group used when they were a house band at a club. While waiting to go on stage, another group would complete their set before jamming and prolonging their act. The phrase “Kick out the jams” was an instruction to stop jamming and get off the stage but it came to take on a new meaning with many listeners seeing it as kicking out restrictions in many forms found in society. In the song The MC5 sound like they are keen to be on stage but one of the main reasons is for the benefit of a girl who sounds really into their music. You get the impression she becomes lost in the melodies, so the narrator here is very eager to get the other group off stage (kick out the jams!) so he can get his band on for her benefit.
I wasn’t familiar with The MC5 prior to this challenge but the phrase Kick Out the Jams did resonate with me. The song has been covered by many artists so it could be I have heard an alternative version some years before. It’s a decent little rock number, very reminiscent of some of the rock groups still to come in the 1970s and 1980s. Apparently it is one – if not the – first rock song to use the F word! So, there you go. The group had ended by 1972 but the surviving members have reformed in recent years so I worry for any support bands they might have, especially if they resort to jamming at the end of their set!
Favourite songs so far:
The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)
Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)
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)
King Crimson – The Court of the Crimson King (1969)
Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love (1969)