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…
B.B. King – The Thrill Is Gone (1969)
Here we are, dear reader. It’s the final song of 1969. We bring the curtain down on the 1960s. What an amazing decade it has been. My current top 10 songs are all from the 1960s now, that’s how good this period has been. Anyway, on to the last song. We have another appearance on our list from B.B. King. He previously popped up back in 1953 with Please Love Me, can you believe, but has snuck onto our 1960s’ selection at the very last opportunity. 1001 Songs has selected The Thrill Is Gone, first written in 1951 by Roy Hawkins and Rick Darnell, but the ultimate version is considered to be this one by King.
In The Thrill Is Gone, B.B. King’s narrator is a man who has seen his relationship with a woman end and he is in the transitionary phase between the pain of break-up and moving on with one’s life. The narrator here uses the refrain of the thrill being gone to justify their perspective on the parting but there is still heartbreak evident. This man isn’t quite over this woman yet but he paints her as manipulative and states in the long run that he will be okay, he will reach a better state physically and mentally, but for now the separation is still very raw.
B.B. King’s cover of The Thrill Is Gone became one of his biggest hits and a staple of future performances. His vocal work here is exemplary, really tapping into the anguish of the protagonist. No break-up is straightforward and this one sounds downright complicated, a mixture of relief and regret in equal measure. It’s a great song to bring an end to our time in the 1960s. I’ll bid a fond farewell to this wonderful decade. Tomorrow, dear reader, our odyssey takes us into the 1970s which I’m sure will have some truly outstanding music.
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)