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…
Van Morrison – Into the Mystic (1970)
We’re continuing in the UK, dear reader, but this time we’re heading over to Northern Ireland where we check in on Van Morrison. He previously made an appearance on this list with a tale about Cyprus Avenue. Today we pick up Morrison’s story in 1970 with the release of his latest album – Moondance – which was critically acclaimed. From that record, 1001 Songs has lifted the fifth track – Into the Mystic.
Into the Mystic is an ambiguous track but appears to concern a boat journey which has a sense of the spiritual about it. Morrison sings about sailing down river and going “into the mystic” of the title. It seems like a pleasant place. He is not taking this journey alone though. Another person is with him, a lover by the sound of things and he sings of a desire to rock their “gypsy soul” before the two of them head into the mystic. The second verse is repeated and here Morrison listens out for a foghorn which sounds the time to make for home. The final line states “too late to stop now” which may indicate the intensity of his love for this person or just that they have gone beyond the point of no return on this voyage of theirs.
It’s interesting to broaden my knowledge of Van Morrison as we continue our journey through these 1001 Songs, dear reader. Into the Mystic is something of a peculiarity, its lyrics heavily spiritual and the underlining meaning rather obscure. You can’t help but immerse yourself in its splendour though with beautiful accompanying music, while Morrison’s voice takes hold of us and guides us on the river journey. It sounds like we come back soon enough but some of us will not be so eager for the experience to end.
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)