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…
Deep Purple – Black Night (1970)
We’re leaving the US today, dear reader, taking a plane back to the UK and heading for the county of Hertford. Here were formed Deep Purple who, along with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, are considered quintessential to the advancement of heavy metal in the 1970s. The group has been through many changes in their history and the lineups have been referred to as Mark I, II, II and IV. We pick up Deep Purple with Mark II who have just released their first album together, In Rock, but they were asked to come up with a single to promote the record. The result was Black Night.
Black Night is not the easiest of songs to decipher. It seems to be about an individual who is far from home and is struggling to feel much of anything. The refrain of “black night” captures what is all around them but it brings no comfort, instead only misery. The narrator longs to be free of this enshrouding darkness but it shows no signs of abating. Apparently, the group’s singer at this time, Ian Gillan, has looked back at the song and said it is a load of nonsense but whether that is true or not I’m unsure. Deep Purple enthusiasts may be able to shed some light on this one.
Deep Purple’s In Rock was a well received album with songs such as Child in Time demonstrating their capabilities. Though considered meaningless, Black Night proved to be their biggest success in the UK where it climbed to no.2 in the charts. It is a solid track with Gillan’s voice terrific, while Ritchie Blackmore excels on guitar with the rest of the group providing fantastic support. Mark II proved to be Deep Purple’s most successful lineup but disagreements and hostilities within the group led to a hiatus between 1976 and 1984 and the lineup has changed multiple times since but Deep Purple still continue to rock audiences around the globe today.
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)