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…
James Brown – Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine (1970)
Our extended stay in the UK is over, dear reader, so it’s time to board a plane and fly back to the US. We’re back in the company of James Brown who has popped up on more than one occasion on our list thus far and you tend to hear him before seeing him from my experience, such is that powerful voice of his. We join Brown in 1970 when he has set himself up with a new backing band known as The J.B.s which helped to enhance his funk sound. 1001 Songs requires us all to be a bit energetic today for James Brown is thinking Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine.
Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine sees Brown engaging in some chit chat with his band throughout the number. We enjoy some enthralling exchanges as first he gets the band up and running with the music, telling them he wants to “get up” and that he feels like a “sex machine”. I think we’ve all been there, James! Bobby Byrd provides the backing vocals and throws in as much energy as Brown does when he sings his lines. Brown continues the refrain of “stay on the scene like a sex machine” before taking the group into the bridge. He and Byrd continue their back and forth until the closing minute when Brown calls on the band to play out the song and bring it to an abrupt end. They duly comply with their leader’s request and we are left somewhat sad this sexy funkathon is over.
Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine is one of James Brown’s most popular songs and it remains a privilege to listen to today. Lyrically, there isn’t a lot to go into here in depth. It’s all about being a sex machine and having the right moves. The pleasure in the song comes from Brown’s interactions with his backing band and their music supports him well throughout. Bobby Byrd is a great addition on the backing vocals and the interchange between him and Brown has one moving along to the music. Go on then, dear readers, one more time – get up!
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)