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!
The Cure – Boys Don’t Cry (1979)
We’re staying in the UK but making our way down to Crawley in West Sussex. We’ve had some real gems on our list thus far, dear reader, and today we have a group I have loved for years – The Cure. Formed in 1978 by Robert Smith, Michael Dempsey and Lol Tolhurst, The Cure were initially part of the post punk and new wave movements in the UK before influencing gothic rock in the 1980s. When we join them in 1979 it is with an early single entitled Boys Don’t Cry.
Boys Don’t Cry has a self-explanatory title with the narrator finding himself in an emotionally fragile situation but he will force his eyes to remain dry because that is what boys do, right? This is all about young love and the narrator has seen a relationship with someone come to an end. He pleads with them for forgiveness but knows he has gone too far and that this union is now irrevocable. Now faced with this reality, our protagonist does not cry but laughs at it all, putting up a facade to hide the pain.
One of the earliest tracks by The Cure and still one of their best, Boys Don’t Cry seems simple enough but it stands proud more than 40 years later. This track actually gave me echoes of Smokey Robinson with Tracks of My Tears and Tears of a Clown. It’s a universal subject that will never lose its appeal in music. The Cure would delve into the morose and dark in the early 1980s but as the decade progressed they became more pop friendly and garnered great success in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They are still going to this day though the spidery haired Robert Smith (the legend!) remains the only constant member.
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)