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…
Boston – More Than a Feeling (1976)
We’re staying on the east coast of the US today, dear reader. Yesterday we were in New York and today we found ourselves in Boston, Massachusetts. Our band today are…Boston, which leaves me a smidgen suspicious about how they came up with their name. Anyway, the group owes a lot to its founder, leader and multi-instrumentalist, Tom Scholz, who recorded the bulk of the instruments for the group’s self-titled debut album which was released in 1976. One of the biggest selling albums in US history, 1001 Songs has delved into that classic record and lifted More Than a Feeling.
More Than a Feeling was written by Tom Scholz over a period of a few years as he looked to find a record label to take on Boston. In the song, the narrator is observing a sunless sky before switching on the radio and hearing a familiar song. Suddenly, nostalgia kicks in and they are transported back in time to happier days with a girl named Marianne. Many years have clearly gone by since these days. The narrator laments the faces and places that have come and gone in his life but he finds comfort in the music he listens to, that portal back to a carefree and better time in his life. Marianne is gone now. We don’t know what became of her but it sounds like a break-up. Either way, the narrator has not forgotten her and life now is vastly inferior to when he knew her.
More Than a Feeling is one of the classic rock songs from the 1970s, a favourite for rock compilations and a track that is hard not to get pumped up with, especially when losing yourself in that stunning guitar riff that is prevalent throughout. Though a rock number, the song also has a fragility to it with the exceptional vocals from Brad Delp capturing the emotive nature of the track. The group’s debut album shifted 17 million copies and they continue to this day though the line-up has changed substantially with Scholz remaining the only mainstay. Tragically, Delp committed suicide in 2007 at the age of 55, but his contribution to this amazing song can not be understated.
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)
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)
Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run (1975)