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…
Max Romeo – Chase the Devil (1976)
After a long stay in the US, we’re heading back on our plane and making the journey back to Jamaica. Time to take in some more reggae, dear reader, and today we have another new artist for our list. Max Romeo began his career in the 1960s working in bands but also attempting a solo career with mixed results. When we find him in 1976 he has released the album, War ina Babylon, which was produced by Lee “Scratch” Perry who worked with Junior Murvin on the track, Police and Thieves, which featured not so long ago. 1001 Songs have gone with the track Chase the Devil.
In Chase the Devil, Max Romeo sings of putting on an iron shirt and chasing the Devil not just out of his life but out of the world in general. Romeo wants to send the Devil into outer space, still very much alive, but no longer able to wield his evil influence on this planet. Instead, the Devil will have to content himself with bothering another race. While sounding a classic angels versus demons battle in heaven, Romeo confirmed the use of metaphor with the Devil representing all negative things in our lives especially in our own mindset. By putting on an iron shirt and becoming the righteous hero, Romeo sings of how one can eradicate the negativity from their lives and to then bask in a more rewarding experience.
I have been thoroughly impressed by the plethora of reggae music that has featured on our very distinguished list thus far. Kudos to Lee Perry for the production role he took with various artists in the 1970s. Junior Murvin’s Police and Thieves was great and Chase the Devil also has a lot of merit too. I love the metaphor of chasing the Devil/negativity out of our lives. Would it were that easy though. More and more I am realising what a treasure trove of music there is to be found in Jamaica.
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)