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!
Neil Young – Like a Hurricane (1977)
We remain in the US today, dear reader, though maybe we should be in Canada as we welcome back Neil Young to our list. He’s popped up a few times already on this list with Buffalo Springfield, as well as Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Young himself has featured as a solo artist. Slow down, Neil, you’re starting to get a bit greedy now. We join Young in 1977 with the release of his eighth album, American Stars n’ Bars and 1001 Songs have selected the track – Like a Hurricane.
The song’s origins are not strictly specified but the story goes that Young came up with the song on a drug-fuelled night with friends. He had had an operation on his vocal cords and, as a result, was unable to speak let alone sing for a time. During this night with friends Young is said to have met a woman that became the inspiration for Like a Hurricane, though their union came to nothing tangible. In the song, the narrator sees said woman in a bar and she is dancing. Entranced he wants to get closer but Young describes her as a hurricane, “calm in your eye” but the irresistible force of her pushes him away. The metaphor is extended to describe how Young is driven far away from her but the memory remains and he is haunted by nothing coming of their meeting.
It’s a warm welcome back for Neil Young and, as before, we are able to enjoy his work as a solo artist while appreciating his collaborations with other artists. Young seems to have been equally adept in whatever capacity he was performing in. Like a Hurricane is beautifully sung by Young but its strength lies in the music and some gorgeous guitar work that is thrown in. The song is around 8 minutes but you’ll think you’ve been lost in a hurricane where time can’t penetrate by the end of the piece.
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)