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…
The Saints – (I’m) Stranded (1976)
After two days in Jamaica, we’re back on a plane and heading on down to Australia for our listening experience today. The punk movement was up and running around this time and Down Under a band named The Saints were delving into this genre. They had the sound but not really the look of punks so were not actively embraced when they came to the UK in search of further fame. 1001 Songs have gone with the group’s most famous track, which landed them that lucrative record deal in the UK – (I’m Stranded).
The Saints were formed in Brisbane and around this time they were disillusioned with society, similar to Junior Murvin who featured yesterday. A racist government, police brutality and general unease among the younger generation led the group to exclaim through this song how they were feeling. In the song the narrator uses the refrain of feeling “stranded” and looks around only to struggle with what they see. The same faces on a “midnight train”, a “world insane” and presumably a lover that the narrator is trying to reach out to but they too are lost and “stranded” in this accursed society that they both call home. Maladjustment, alienation, uncertainty and confusion, it’s all here and it’s tough out there.
The Saints are notable for our list as their release of (I’m) Stranded actually pre-dated the heavy weights of punk rock in The Sex Pistols and The Clash. The song was well-received but the group were dismissed by some of their contemporaries with their appearance not in line with the gospel of punk. No ripped jeans, spiked hair or piercings to be found here. Appearances aside, you can not distinguish this from other punk rock songs. It belongs in that mould and although The Saints are not the first group that spring to mind for this movement, they continue to this day and they have gone on to influence many artists long after other punk rock groups have disappeared into oblivion.
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)