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!
Blondie – Atomic (1979)
We’re heading back to the US today, dear reader, and find ourselves in New York once more. We’re stopping by to catch up with Blondie who appeared on our list back in 1978 with the hit track, Heart of Glass. When we join Blondie in 1979 they have released their fourth album – Eat to the Beat – and 1001 Songs have decided to go with the track that was released as the third single from the album – Atomic.
Beginning as a recreation of sorts of Heart of Glass before veering off into something akin to a Spaghetti Western (Blondie’s words!), Atomic is lyrically quite sparse but it does nothing to diminish the track. Debbie Harry seems to be singing about being dressed up and ready to hit the town with the chorus describing, “your hair is beautiful” to another individual. The pattern continues for the remainder of the track with the use of “atomic” open to debate but it is said to refer to one’s own power and prestige. It seems to be all about the luxury of looking good and enjoying the feeling.
Atomic is my favourite track by Blondie without question. Although lyrically there is not a lot there, the music is so good and Debbie Harry’s voice is so immaculate that you simply do not care. The song would top the charts in the UK, the fourth of six no.1 tracks the group would enjoy in my home country. There are many great Blondie moments but, for me, it simply does not get any better than this track.
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)