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…
Iggy Pop – Dum Dum Boys (1977)
We’re leaving the UK behind today, dear reader, and returning to the US and to Michigan. Previously, we were entertained on our list on two occasions by the raucous sound of The Stooges. After two stints in the 1960s and 1970s, The Stooges were no more at this time. Lead singer, Iggy Pop, found himself in Berlin in 1977 with David Bowie, both men keen to kick their potentially fatal drug addictions. Collaborating, both men would produce albums with Pop firstly working on his debut solo album – The Idiot. From that record, 1001 Songs have gone with the track – Dum Dum Boys.
This sprawling 7-minute epic sees Iggy Pop open with a click of the fingers and a spoken section making reference to his former bandmates in The Stooges and what has befallen them, ranging from death by alcohol to moving home to live with their mother. What follows is Pop’s flowing tribute to The Stooges, here referred to as the Dum Dum Boys. In the opening verse, Pop tells us that times are hard and that he misses The Stooges. He recalls the first time he met them and how no one but he was impressed by them. Pop next remembers how The Stooges were not well received, even perceived as too “negative” yet he longs to know where they are now. In the final verse, Pop calls out to The Stooges, he wants to be with them again, to hear their music and to lead them once more.
This is a fascinating piece of music history when David Bowie and Iggy Pop were secluded in Berlin, tormented by drug addiction and trying to get clean. Their collaborations would lead to some memorable music and Bowie would follow Pop with what is known as his Berlin trilogy of albums, considered among his best work. Dum Dum Boys has a feel of David Bowie about it, and he was the producer on Pop’s album, so the influence is clear. Bowie can also be heard on the track providing the backing vocals! The song doesn’t feel like 7 minutes but it does take its time with the pacing. This is no criticism. The length is completely apt, the pace just right and Pop’s voice blends brilliantly with the melody. The Stooges may have been over at this time but Pop was only just beginning.
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)