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…
Lata Mangeshkar – Chalte Chalte (1971)
We are going on a very long journey today, dear reader. From Canada we are jumping on a plane and making our way to Asia, to the southern half and on to India. Here we are in the company of a legendary singer by the name of Lata Mangeshkar who once appeared in the Guinness Book of Records for the sheer output of recordings that she has done. We’re talking in the thousands here which is impressive. 1001 Songs had the unenviable task of narrowing the selection down to a solitary track and they have come away with Chalte Chalte.
Chalte Chalte was performed by Mangeshkar for the soundtrack to the film, Pakeezah, which was released in 1972 and tells the story of a courtesan who falls in love with a man even though she is forbidden to have any feelings of her own. In Chalte Chalte, Mangeshkar sings of walking along a road and how she meets a man as she does so. This encounter brings her much joy it seems but we then hear mention of lights and flames dying, the chance to be together seems to have been missed and Mangeshkar laments the unsuccessful meeting. It wasn’t to be.
My familiarity with music from India stretches as far as the influence this country had on The Beatles while 1990s’ band, Kula Shaker, released an album that was heavily immersed in Indian music as well. Although I needed a translation once again I did thoroughly enjoy Chalte Chalte, which I came nowhere near to pronouncing correctly. The musical accompaniment is wonderful and Mangeshkar has a beautiful, soothing voice to go with it. Mangeshkar is still with us today at 90 years old and is highly respected in India and across the globe.
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)