On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging 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 everyday (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…
The Pretenders – Brass in Pocket (1979)
Back to the UK today, dear reader, and we find ourselves in Hereford of all places which is close to England’s west border with Wales. I did not know that before I checked on Google. Formed in 1978 and led by Chrissie Hynde, The Pretenders would find the road to success very quickly but have had to overcome tragedies amongst their ranks. When we join them in 1979 it is with the release of their third single – Brass in Pocket.
Written by Chrissie Hynde and James Honeyman-Scott, Brass in Pocket explores the actions of a very confident woman who has found a guy she likes very much. She describes the various approaches she is going to take to draw his attention, everything from arms and legs to style and imagination. Not only will she attract the interest of this guy, he will soon realise that no one else in the room competes with her. He is going to find this woman too hard to resist. This is a woman who is in complete control of the situation and that’s a refreshing notion, wouldn’t you say?
Brass in Pocket was not favoured by Chrissie Hynde who reluctantly allowed it to be released. Her reservations proved unfounded as it became the first song of the 1980s to top the UK chart. Further classics would follow such as Back on the Chain Gang, 2000 Miles (festive favourite right here!) and I’ll Stand By You. The group were blighted by tragedy though with lead guitarist James Honeyman-Scott dying from a drug overdose in 1982, aged 25. Bassist Pete Frandon would be fired by the group that same year for his own drug addiction and would sadly succumb to this in 1983, aged 30.
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)