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…
Faust – It’s a Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl (1972)
The American break comes to an end, dear reader, as we jump on a plane and head across the Atlantic to Europe. Upon reaching the continent we head over to West Germany, as it was known at this time, and as it’s the early 1970s we’re going to be taking in some krautrock. Faust were formed in 1971 and when we join them a year later their second album has been released with 1001 Songs opting for the opening track – It’s a Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl.
Lyrically, there is very little to tell you about this particular song. It is comprised of two lines repeated which are, “It’s a rainy day, sunshine girl. It’s a rainy day, sunshine babe.” That’s it. What makes the track worth our time (7 minutes of it to be precise) is the music. Opening with a repetitive drumbeat, the song builds steadily with the entrance of a piano before we hear the first vocals. Once the singing has begun we get a guitar entering the fray and the song progresses from there, mixing things up throughout its duration, experimenting with sounds and rhythms.
One of the pioneers of krautrock, Faust come across as a group not concerned by commercially friendly sound or indeed short length. It’s a Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl may have a continuous refrain as its only lyrics but the music is what makes the track interesting to listen to. I am partial to long, ambient pieces of music such as Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree so certainly wasn’t bored listening to this one. Faust would disband in 1975 after their latest album was rejected but some members reemerged in the 1990s and began touring again. What happened in between seems to be a mystery.
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)
Derek & The Dominos – Layla (1970)
David Bowie – Life on Mars? (1971)
Rod Stewart – Maggie May (1971)
Stevie Wonder – Superstition (1972)