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…
Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons – The Night (1972)
We’re leaving John Denver and the Rocky Mountains behind today, dear reader, and we’re making our way to New Jersey to take in a group formed in 1960. The Four Seasons are still going to this day and since the 1970s have sometimes been known as Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, the handle we’re also embracing on this day. Valli is the only founding member still in the group with many line-up changes as the years have gone by. 1001 Songs joins The Four Seasons in 1972 with the release of a new single – The Night.
In The Night, Frankie Valli takes the lead vocal with The Four Seasons joining with him on backing vocals. The narrator in the song is on the brink of losing a woman who now has eyes for another man. It’s a difficult situation but he pleads with her one final time to not go for this other guy and to think about what she wants. The chorus suggests that the woman is wavering somewhat, her initial interest in this other man is still there but it’s now clouded by doubts. Our narrator sees that she is torn about what to do and he warns her to choose very carefully for once he has gone he won’t be coming back.
As a group, The Four Seasons are all good singers with Valli’s lead vocals being excellent and the remainder of the band supporting him ably. We have no resolution to the song so it’s unclear what choice the woman being addressed ultimately makes but that just makes the piece all the more intriguing. The Night did not fare well upon release in 1972 but it was successful in Northern Soul circles in the UK and a 1975 re-release saw it chart well in the UK. We have good taste do us Brits. Sometimes.
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)