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…
Diana Ross – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (1970)
We’re not ready to leave the US yet, dear reader. Instead we’re heading back to Detroit, the birthplace of our next guest. We’ve seen her already when she was the leader of The Supremes but by 1970, Diana Ross had started her solo career, which continues to this day. Back in 1970, Diana Ross was convinced to re-record AIn’t No Mountain High Enough. It was a hit first for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell but The Supremes had recorded the track as well. Ross did have another go at the song and it snatched her a place on our 1001 Songs list.
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough is a love song but a pretty sad one. Ross’ narrator begins by speaking the opening few lines before switching to singing. We learn that our narrator is in love with someone but that they are no longer together now. The narrator let this person go free, to pursue their dreams and desires but their love for them remains undiminished. The song is a testament to this eternal love, a reminder that however long, whatever the distance, if the former lover says the word our narrator will come running for them, traverse any gap that lies between them, just so they can be together once more.
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough was originally a track weighing in at six minutes or so. However, the single slashed the length in two and was well received, sending Ross to the top of the US charts. While I love Ross’ work with The Supremes and do believe those many hits were a group effort, there is no denying the quality of her voice as a solo artist. Though there is a great deal of sadness to this song, it still come across as an upbeat number that proved Ross could be a star in her own right and she never really looked back from here.
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)
Derek & The Dominos – Layla (1970)