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 – Cum on Feel the Noize (1973)
We’re extending our stay in the UK, dear reader, which is fine by me. Today we’re heading back to Wolverhampton and checking back in with that glam rock quartet – Slade. We previously enjoyed Mama Weer All Crazee Now and we now join the group in 1973 with their popularity still in the stratosphere. From a busy year for the band, 1001 Songs has selected the group’s fourth UK no.1 hit single – Cum on Feel the Noize.
Written by Noddy Holder and Jim Lea, Cum on Feel the Noize is in a similar vein to Mama Weer All Crazee Now with the group inspired by the raucous crowds they performed their shows for. In the verses, Holder sings about what others make of him and he casually shrugs off the criticisms or concerns. Such examples include his singing being “out of time” but Holder responds that it “makes me money”, so what’s the problem here? He also doesn’t worry about his “funny face” or being a “scruff bag”. Each time Holder uses the refrain of “I don’t know why” when trying to explain his approach, before calling on the crowd to feel the noise of the title, for the girls and boys to grab one another and go wild to the music. It’s a summons to let yourself go in the moment and enjoy the sound.
1973 marked the peak of Slade’s career and Cum on Feel the Noize was the memorable way they opened that year. It remains a classic track and has been covered by the likes of Oasis. American band, Quiet Riot, took their version of the track into the US Top 10 in 1983. Ironically, Slade found the US market unaccommodating with their music and Quiet Riot are better known there for this song. Slade would close out 1973 with their sixth UK no.1 and biggest hit, Merry Xmas Everybody, but after that the decline would set in as it often does for so many groups. Cum on Feel the Noize is a testament to Slade at the precipice of their success and what a memento it is.
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)
Carly Simon – You’re So Vain (1972)