On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge 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 every day (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… legendary!
Donna Summer – I Feel Love (1977)
So long to Jamaica and hello once more to the US of A. For our listening pleasure today, dear reader, we find ourselves in Boston, Massachusetts and in the company of a renowned singer by the name of Donna Summer. Summer began her career in the late 1960s in a psychedelic rock band by the name of Crow before branching out into solo work in the 1970s. We join Summer in 1977 when she is working with producers, Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte. From their collaboration came a song by the name of I Feel Love.
Lyrically, I Feel Love is a very simple song. Summer sings of being in love and of the many joys that she shares with this other person in her life. Such phrases as “fallin’ free”, “you and me” and “what you do” are just a selection of the many wonders that Summer is experiencing. Singing aside, the track is notable as the first example of disco music to be reliant on a synthesiser for the musical accompaniment. Earlier disco tracks had relied on an orchestra for their backing. Strangely enough, I Feel Love was intended to represent a kind of futuristic music. It proved to be just that.
I Feel Love is one of those songs that has stood the test of time. The music is catchy and absorbing but the strength of the track lies in Summer’s sumptuous vocals. You can really feel how immersed she is in the song’s message. A UK no.1 and US Top 10 hit, I Feel Love would also become a gay anthem, so it wasn’t short of accolades. To cap all that off, the track is regarded as a forerunner of electronic music that was still to come and offered a revolutionary way forward for disco. The future was 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)