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…
Dillinger – Cokane in My Brain (1976)
A shortish trip overseas today, dear reader, as we leave the US and make our way over to Jamaica. 1001 Songs do enjoy this island and given the music we have indulged in so far it’s not surprising really. The scenery is rather nice as well. Anyway, today we are in the company of Dillinger who specialised in reggae and enjoyed his biggest success in the 1970s. For our consideration today, we have Dillinger’s best known song – Cokane in My Brain.
With a title like that it’s pretty clear what the subject matter is that Dillinger is addressing. In the song, the narrator is in conversation with someone called Jim and the topic of conversation seems to be about how one spells New York. Seems simple enough, right? Jim offers the standard answer but the narrator tells him he is wrong and the way you spell it is, “A knife, a fork, a bottle and a cork.” There is the continual refrain of cocaine being on the narrator’s brain and we also learn guests enjoy popping round to the kitchen, presumably for the drugs, rather than the cuisine.
My knowledge of reggae was very limited prior to this challenge but I have enjoyed dabbling in the variety of artists from Jamaica. Dillinger’s song is another memorable number though sometimes obscure in the interpretation, but if the title is anything to go by then that might be deliberate. Cokane in My Brain was a surprise hit, even topping the charts in the Netherlands but subsequent releases did not fare so well and Dillinger has been both producer as well as musician, though never recapturing the glory he enjoyed here.
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)