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…
Ramones – Blitzkrieg Bop (1976)
We’re leaving Sweden behind, dear reader, and making our way back across the Atlantic to the US. We’re heading for New York where our guests today were founded in 1974. This quartet each took the surname Ramone, though none of them were actually related, and thus they became Ramones. When we join the group in 1976, Joey, Dee Dee, Johnny and Tommy have released their self-titled debut album and have high hopes. From that album, 1001 Songs has gone with the track Blitzkrieg Bop.
Famous for the chant, “Hey, ho, let’s go”, Blitzkrieg Bop took its name from the German World War II tactic which translated as “lightning war” and devastated large parts of Europe. Lyrically, the song is rather ambiguous. After the opening chant, the song describes a group of kids forming in lines, then piling onto the back seats of cars where they lose their minds to the blitzkrieg bop. This sounds like some kind of music or dance that they are immersing themselves in but the song never explicitly reveals the answer, leaving one to speculate. It could be something far more sinister.
Blitzkrieg Bop is a short song, clocking in at just over 2 minutes but it’s one hell of a ride. The track is enhanced by some terrific guitar work from Johnny Ramone. Although the ambiguity of the song renders this one hard to decipher, it’s tough not to get caught up in the track and the introductory chant that comes with it. Ramones toured for 22 years without achieving huge success before disbanding in 1996. Since then, all four original members have sadly passed away but their influence and legacy lives on.
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)