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…
Neil Young – Oh Lonesome Me (1970)
From Australia yesterday, dear reader, we head back across the sea and stop off in Canada. Today’s artist was born here before heading to the US and enjoying a successful music career. He was a member of Buffalo Springfield and also joined up with Crosby, Stills & Nash for a time. We are talking about Neil Young who we saw recently with the song, Ohio, but today we have a first entry from him as a solo artist. In 1970, Young attempted a cover version of Don Gibson’s 1958 country song, Oh Lonesome Me, and claimed a place on our list for his efforts.
In Oh Lonesome Me, Neil Young is a narrator who has seen a relationship come to an end and he is not handling it very well. He doesn’t go out to meet new people. Instead, he stays home and muses about the past, lamenting the loneliness he now feels. He thinks about his former lover and imagines her being out and enjoying life, seeing other men while he remains at home in misery. Would he take her back? Of course, in a heartbeat he would, but the chances of such a reunion seem slim and this man is left to nurse a broken heart alone, knowing he should move on, but right now it’s just too damn difficult.
I’ve enjoyed Neil Young’s prior work on this list with Buffalo Springfield and when he joined up with Crosby, Stills & Nash, so it was good to finally have some of his solo material to get my teeth into. This cover version of Oh Lonesome Me is slower than Don Gibson’s version and the change in tempo adds to the overall sombre mood of the piece. Young reflects a man who is deeply struggling with the end of a relationship and you can’t help but wish him well in hopefully finding better days in future.
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)