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…
Dr. Alimantado & The Rebels – Born for a Purpose (1977)
We’re leaving New York and the US behind, dear reader, so we can hop on a plane and fly over to Jamaica. We keep coming back here for a spot of reggae and there are no surprises here to find that our latest artist worked with producer, Lee “Scratch” Perry. Is there anyone in Jamaica that Perry didn’t work with? Anyway, today’s artist is Dr. Alimantado & The Rebels. Alimantado was also known as The Ital Surgeon and 1001 Songs have selected an influential track from his discography by the name of Born for a Purpose.
Born for a Purpose was the result of a difficult time in Alimantado’s life. On 26 December 1976 he was hit by a bus and dragged along the road beneath the vehicle. Alimantado survived but suffered serious injuries and spent a great deal of time convalescing. Struggling with the pain, Alimantado found salvation in his Rastafarian faith which provided some comfort during his long recovery. The track itself proved hard to find lyrics for but I could make out the quandary that Alimantado seemed to have in seemingly no longer having a purpose but then dismissing such thoughts and not wanting them to define his existence.
The background to Born for a Purpose was pretty harrowing but from such darkness often emerges light and that is the case with this song. Although I couldn’t perceive many of the lyrics, I found the music enticing and easy to become lost in. Alimantado’s influence would spread to the UK where he was mentioned positively by Johnny Rotten from Sex Pistols and even name checked in a song by The Clash. Not bad, Dr. Alimantado, not bad at all.
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)