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…
Python Lee Jackson – In a Broken Dream (1970)
We’re leaving New York and taking a long flight to Australia, dear reader. Back in the 1960s a rock band were formed by the name of Python Lee Jackson. They lasted in their native Australia from 1965-1968 before disbanding. The group came back together briefly from late 1968 into 1969 when they spent time in the UK recording. During these sessions vocalist Dave Bentley was not confident with three tracks the band were working on so a session vocalist was brought in instead. His name was Rod Stewart and one of the songs he recorded – In a Broken Dream – helped land Python Lee Jackson a place on our list.
In the song, Stewart sings of broken hearts and broken dreams. He seems to be offering sage advice to an individual or to individuals. Conflicting imagery offers mixed messages but we hear advice about not taking risks with love for doing so prevents scars. An individual drinks alone in a room, happy and content, but still alone. The array of images suggests hopes and dreams dashed, perhaps of a romantic nature, but there is also the admonishment here of being cautious in pursuit of such fantasies in future. Best to stay grounded, not risk being burned but not taking such a chance ensures loneliness is overwhelming. A Catch-22 scenario ensues.
The history behind this track is fascinating with the unknown Rod Stewart compensated for his vocal work with the purchase of new seat covers for his car. Sounds like a fair deal. The song was initially released as a single in 1970 but had little impact. Re-released in 1972 with Rod Stewart having now been in Small Faces and launched a successful solo career, In a Broken Dream made the UK Top 5 thanks to the prestige of Stewart’s name. Even at this early stage, the song showcases Stewart’s distinctive but immaculate vocals. Another ambiguous track for our list, it’s a notable piece of music history especially for Rod Stewart enthusiasts.
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)