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…
John Lennon – Imagine (1971)
Continuing in the UK we make our way back to Liverpool to see those Beatles again. Paul McCartney, George Harrison and John Lennon have all featured as solo artists on here so is it Ringo Starr’s turn? Sorry, Ringo, we’ve gone with John Lennon again today. No offence. In 1971 Lennon released a new album entitled Imagine and from that record 1001 Songs has gone with the title track for their prestigious list.
Inspired by poetry written by his wife, Yoko Ono, Lennon wrote Imagine and asked the listener to sit back and picture a different world to the one we have now. He sings of a world where everyone is united. Religion, countries, classes, wars are all eradicated and you are left with a world of peace, bereft of violence, and where every individual can afford to live and survive. This utopia is, of course, beyond reach at this moment in time and such is human nature, our inability to share, that this world will, sadly, remain forever out of our grasp. Lennon still wants us to imagine it though, even if it’s only for a moment.
Imagine is one of John Lennon’s best known songs from his solo work. It’s largely Lennon’s voice and the accompanying piano throughout, it sounds deceptively simple when you listen to the lyrics but it has a deep and meaningful message for the listener. The song would be a Top 5 hit in the UK and the US in the 1970s but would top the UK charts in January 1981 following Lennon’s tragic death at the hands of Mark Chapman in December 1980. Lennon’s utopia sounds just that and it’s a pleasant experience to immerse ourselves, however briefly, in this impossible dream.
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 Kinks – Days (1968)
King Crimson – The Court of the Crimson King (1969)
Derek & The Dominos – Layla (1970)
David Bowie – Life on Mars? (1971)
Rod Stewart – Maggie May (1971)