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…
Antonio Carlos Jobim & Elis Regina – Aguas de marco (1974)
We bid a fond farewell to the UK, dear reader, and take a long flight down to Brazil. We are in the company of Antonio Carlos Jobim once more. We previously saw him when he worked with Frank Sinatra in 1967 on the song, Corcovado. Rejoining Jobim in 1974, he is now working with Elis Regina, one of the greatest singers that Brazil ever produced. From their collaboration, 1001 Songs has selected the track – Aguas de marco.
Aguas de marco translates as March Waters and was written by Jobim with the inspiration coming from the heavy rainfall that can be found in the month of March in Brazil. The song itself is bereft of any kind of narrative. Instead, the lyrics present a series of images, many dozen in fact, and beginning with the words “It’s” or “It is” which precede such descriptions as “morning light”, “stone”, “bird in the sky”, “deep mystery” and “promise of life in your heart”. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what Jobim is referring to with such varied imagery, whether it is simply the March waters of the title or something deeper and even more meaningful. What is not in doubt is the profoundness of the images on offer here with some truly beautiful lyrics.
I am not versed in Portuguese, dear reader, so a translation was necessary for Aguas de marco. The lyrics are stunning from the opening line to the last, real poetry to feast one’s senses on. The vocals are truly wonderful here as well with Jobim and Regina each contributing their voices and, at times, they seem to laugh together, clearly enjoying the moment of creation. While Jobim would live to the age of 67, Regina’s story ended tragically early at the age of 36, the result of an accidental overdose.
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 – Living for the City (1973)