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…
Joni Mitchell – A Case of You (1971)
A short stay in the US, dear reader, as we head north across the border and into Canada. Here we find a highly acclaimed singer and songwriter by the name of Joni Mitchell. In 1971 Mitchell released her fourth album, Blue, which is regarded by many critics as one of the best records of the 20th century. 1001 Songs could not resist having another listen and have lifted the track, A Case of You, for this list.
Written by Joni Mitchell, A Case of You is about a woman who is having conflicted thoughts and feelings about a man in her life. She describes him as both “bitter” and “sweet” and laments that their love has now become lost. She is torn about what to do now. This man clearly makes her feel good given some of the imagery being offered. Mitchell sings about how he is in her blood, a captivating image to convey how she feels him throughout her body. She reminisces about the good times and it makes the present that much harder. In the final verse another woman beseeches Mitchell to seek out her lover but warns her there is a price to pay for doing so.
A Case of You is said to have either been inspired by Leonard Cohen or about Mitchell’s separation from Graham Nash once of The Hollies and then Crosby, Stills & Nash. Whatever the origin, this is a beautifully written piece with some truly gorgeous imagery to capture the narrator’s conflicting feelings about this man in her life. Joni Mitchell’s voice here is simply stunning, perfectly delivered, controlled and full of emotion. She is highly regarded to this day and with songs as fantastic as this it’s not hard to see why.
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)