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…
Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band – Big Eyed Beans from Venus (1972)
From Tennessee and over to California today, dear reader. We have a second appearance on our list from Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band. Previously he popped up in 1967 with Electricity but today we are switching our focus to a slightly different idea, it’s one that seems a bit ambiguous, it’s from the group’s seventh album, Clear Spot, and it goes by the name of Big Eyed Beans from Venus. I know, I’m not sure either.
Where to begin with Big Eyed Beans from Venus? Well, first of all it’s trying to narrow down what we are referring to by these so called “beans”. Interpretations have suggested alien but other listeners have said the song is of a sexual nature and that we are referring to breasts here instead. There was a book, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, but that was in 1992, 20 years after this song was released and I’d be surprised if that author was thinking of this song by using the planet metaphors for men and women. Some of the lyrics here, through the use of subtle imagery, do seem to hint at the song being sexual but it’s hard to be certain. Either way it’s a peculiar song.
Listening to Electricity back in 1967, I realised that Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band were something a little different. The same is true of Big Eyed Beans from Venus. It’s ambiguous and likely sexual with the lyrics but it doesn’t come across as remotely offensive and the guitar work used here is simply phenomenal. I find myself intrigued by Captain Beefheart’s music and plan to explore his discography further, as well as many other artists that have appeared on this list up until now.
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)