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…
Slade – Mama Weer All Crazee Now (1972)
We’re staying in the UK today, dear reader, but from London we’re heading north to Wolverhampton and to take in a spot of glam rock. Slade were one of the biggest UK groups of the 1970s, bagging six no.1 singles in the UK, and every December you can bet your house that you’ll hear their chart topper, Merry Xmas Everybody, a staple of the UK festive period. 1001 Songs picks up Slade in 1972 with their third album, Slayed, and what became their third no.1 UK hit single, Mama Weer All Crazee Now.
Written by singer, Noddy Holder, and bass player, Lea Holder, Mama Weer All Crazee Now was inspired by the sight of Wembley Arena after a Slade show with Holder thinking the crowd must have been somewhat “crazy” given the carnage left behind. In the song, the narrator sounds like they are on a night out, not wanting more whisky or to spend money but knowing they will be doing. They seem to be teased and cajoled by friends, making them want to drink more and to have themselves a good time. The refrain in the chorus of “I said Mama but we’re all crazy now” is this night reaching the dizzy heights of good fun but, by the sound of things, irresponsible drinking.
Slade were a really big deal in the early 1970s but their popularity began to wane later in the decade. My familiarity with them comes in the form of Coz I Luv You, Cum On Feel the Noize and Merry Xmas Everybody. Mama Weer All Crazee Now isn’t as strong as those songs in my opinion but it’s still delightful glam rock and I do wish that music like this challenged at the top of the UK charts more than forty years on. That’s me showing my age though sadly.
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)