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…
T. Rex – Bang a Gong (Get It On) (1971)
We’re continuing in the UK today, dear reader. We had David Bowie guesting yesterday and today we have a group who were contemporaries of Bowie, with one in particular being a friend and music rival by the name of Marc Bolan. Bolan’s group, T. Rex, were formed back in 1967 and first known as Tyrannosaurus Rex. After dabbling in psychedelia in the 1960s, Marc Bolan shortened the name to T. Rex and the group became purveyors of glam rock in the early 1970s which saw them shoot to the top of the UK charts. 1001 Songs had a tough choice on its hands but they have gone with Bang a Gong (Get It On).
Also known as just Get It On, the song was written by Marc Bolan and is clearly of a sexual nature as he sings about a rather impressive woman. In each verse this woman is described as “dirty” and “sweet” but this is okay because she’s the narrator’s girl and he loves her. Other comparisons see her juxtaposed with a car, she has a “hubcap diamond star halo” and she has the “blues” in her “stockings” and in her “shoes”. Each verse follows this theme, describing everything agreeable about this woman before we switch to the chorus and Bolan bellows “get it on, bang a gong, get it on.” If that isn’t something sexual he is referring to then I don’t know what is.
With a fabulous guitar riff and catchy piano work it’s hard not to love this glam rock number which stands up well more than 40 years after its release. T. Rex initially outshone David Bowie in the early 1970s. While Bowie made it big with Ziggy Stardust, Marc Bolan saw his group hit the top of the UK charts on four occasions with Get It On being one of the no.1 hits. After 1973 the group’s popularity began to wane while Bowie went from strength to strength. The group continued to release music but disbanded in 1977 when Bolan was killed in a car accident at the age of 29, the potential for greater material being lost with him.
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)
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)
David Bowie – Life on Mars? (1971)