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…
Dion – Born to Be with You (1975)
Farewell to beautiful Italy and hello once again to sumptuous America. We’re landing in New York today, dear reader, and our guest is someone you may be familiar with depending on your music tastes, of course. Gamers who have dabbled in Fallout 4 will be familiar with The Wanderer playing on the radio while you traverse a post-apocalyptic land, or you may know this guy better for the cheeky Runaround Sue. We are talking about Dion DiMucci, known only as Dion as a performer, and why not? There’s nothing like saving time. Anyway, Dion began his career in the late 1950s and those songs mentioned were among his biggest hits. We join Dion in the 1970s though, his solo stardom years now behind him, but his latest album in 1975 is Born to Be with You from which 1001 Songs has gone with the title track. They seem to do that a lot, I have noticed.
Born to Be with You was originally written by Dob Robertson and dates back to 1956. Numerous artists attempted the track before it landed in Dion’s capable hands. The Chordettes’ version clocked in at under 3 minutes but with Dion the track is 6+ minutes. The song itself is a simple love song with Dion singing of his passion for another person and how they complete his life. This person fulfils all his needs, defines him and he continually uses the refrain of being born to be with them. It’s the kind of bliss and contentment that so many of us strive for and to attain it sounds pretty wonderful indeed.
Born to Be with You marked a change of direction in Dion’s style. I only know him for Runaround Sue and The Wanderer so to listen to this track and hear a maturer voice and sound was very surprising. Those other songs were suited to a youthful Dion but here we have an artist who still has the talent but he has adapted it to a ballad rather than the rock and roll he was once known for. The song takes its time with the first vocals not coming until 1½ minutes into the track but in the run up we have a delightful bit of saxophone which also closes out the song when Dion has sung the final line. Who doesn’t love a bit of sax? This is the sound of an artist not ready to hang up the microphone just yet.
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)
Derek & The Dominos – Layla (1970)
David Bowie – Life on Mars? (1971)
Rod Stewart – Maggie May (1971)
Sparks – This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us (1974)
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody (1975)
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)