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!
Umberto Tozzi – Gloria (1979)
We’re leaving the UK behind today, dear reader, and we’re making our way south through Europe and on to Italy. Starting his career at the tender age of 16, Umberto Tozzi started his musical life in bands before branching out on his own in the 1970s. We join him in 1979 after a promising start to his solo work. Tozzi released the track, Gloria, which would prove to not just be a big hit for him but also a much-loved track by other artists as well.
Unsurprisingly, the song is about a woman called Gloria, one the narrator clearly desires but this all sounds rather complicated. Gloria seems to be keen for love, pursuing potential interests but nothing seems to be working out. Would-be suitors don’t call Gloria and the narrator is concerned for her mental welfare. He even despairs that Gloria may be so eager for love that she will settle for just about anyone, to the detriment of her own happiness. The narrator sounds nonplussed about the whole thing as Gloria sounds like a dream woman yet no one seems to want her.
The gestation of Gloria is very interesting with Tozzi having a big hit with it in Italy. The song was then translated into English and recorded by Jonathan King. The song would again be recorded in English by American performer, Laura Branigan, and became her signature song. The music was immediately familiar to me and from my reading I have found it has been sampled many times, most notably for my generation in Disco 2000 by Pulp.
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)
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)
Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way (1977)
Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)
Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now (1978)
The Police – Roxanne (1978)