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!
Iggy Pop – Lust for Life (1977)
As we bring an to 1977 we say farewell to Texas and hello once more to Michigan or maybe that should be Berlin. We’re revisiting with Iggy Pop once again, dear reader, after appearances with The Stooges and as a solo artist. When we rejoin Pop he’s still in Berlin with David Bowie, trying to get clean from drugs and producing a lot of music. Alongside Pop’s album, The Idiot, he worked on a second record with Bowie entitled Lust for Life. 1001 Songs have gone with the title track for today’s Pop Appreciation Society.
Written by Pop and Bowie, Lust for Life chronicles Iggy’s difficult days as a drug addict and how unpleasant an experience this ultimately was. The opening verse makes reference to the novel, The Ticket That Exploded by William S. Burroughs, with “Johnny Yen” being a character in the book, but here he is a drug dealer giving Iggy Pop his latest fix of alcohol and drugs. In the second verse, Pop comments on the extent of his fame and wealth but juxtaposes this with the sorry state he finds himself in as an addict. He is weary of waking up on the streets after a night getting high and sounds determined to kick his drug habit once and for all.
Lust for Life opens with a catchy drumbeat which piques our interest and holds it for more than a minute before Iggy Pop sings a single word. For a track about drug addiction, this one sounds very upbeat but beneath that cheerful facade is a man who has found himself in a desperate predicament, at the mercy of the lure of drugs and determined to battle through his desire for one more hit. Nearly 20 years later Lust for Life would memorably appear on the soundtrack to Danny Boyle’s gritty 1996 drama, Trainspotting, dealing with drug addiction in Scotland. It introduced Pop to a whole new generation.
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)
Rod Stewart – Maggie May (1971)
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody (1975)
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)
Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way (1977)
David Bowie – “Heroes” (1977)
Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)