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…
Stevie Wright – Evie (1974)
We’re leaving the US behind today, dear reader, and making our way Down Under to Australia. Our artist today was originally born in the UK in Leeds which isn’t a million miles from where I live, but he and his family moved to Australia when he was only nine years old. I could think of worse places. Stevie Wright was the singer in the group The Easybeats, who previously appeared on our list with Friday on My Mind. The group disbanded in 1969 and we now join Stevie Wright in 1974 with his solo career in full flow. From his setlist at this time, 1001 Songs have gone with the track – Evie.
Evie is essentially three songs for the price of one but they are bound by a common theme and person so we’ll allow this minor discretion on our prestigious list. Part 1 is a combination of hard rock and blues and sees Wright’s narrator singing about the Evie of the title who is seventeen and sounds shy and quite reserved. The narrator thinks she is beautiful though and beseeches her to let her hair down and enjoy the music of a band he has gone to see. He very much wants to woo her at this stage. Part 2 is a gentler melody, more soft rock with a piano accompaniment. In this section the narrator and Evie are together and they are happy, immersed in the waves of love. Things are going very well by the sound of things and the narrator simply hasn’t the words to convey how much he feels for Evie. He is also grateful to her for she is pregnant and their future looks bright. Part 3 is heavier rock and now the song takes a dark turn. Evie does indeed have a baby but something goes wrong and she sadly does not survive. The narrator is left alone with their child and laments the injustice of this tragedy and the end of their wonderful union.
Evie is an intricately crafted and moving song with the three parts that make up the suite having a different sound and feel to them but all are equally absorbing. All the ingredients are there for this romance to go the distance and it does but Part 3 is a reminder that sometimes things happen that are beyond our control. I love that Wright mixes up the sound between the parts and how none of the three segments suffer for it. This is a truly accomplished piece.
Favourite songs so far:
The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)
Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)
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)
Patti Smith Group – Piss Factory (1974)