1970s,  Music

1001 Songs Challenge #526: Message in a Bottle (1979)

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 Police – Message in a Bottle (1979)

An overnight stay in the UK and in London, dear reader, as the sun sets on the 1970s. What a great decade this has been but there is no rest for the music lovers amongst us. Today we decide to revisit with The Police but don’t worry, handcuffs are not required. Previously the group appeared on our list with Roxanne which helped bring them to the attention of the world. When we join the band in 1979 they have released their second album, Regatta de Blanc, and from that record 1001 Songs have gone with the lead single – Message in a Bottle.

Message in a Bottle tells the story of a lonely narrator who has been left castaway on a remote island far from civilisation. Consumed by loneliness, he sends a message in a bottle in the hope of establishing some kind of contact, preferably romantic, but anything will do. A year passes and there has been no response so the narrator begins to despair. Don’t cry into your hankies just yet though, dear reader, for the narrator awakes one day to find millions of bottles on the shore with messages from other lonely souls in need of contact. The narrator takes some comfort from this revelation but you can’t envy the amount of messages he now has to read.

Message in a Bottle would see The Police hit the big time, reaching the UK no.1 spot and being the first of five tracks they would top the charts with. It remains one of my favourites by the group, even better than Roxanne, by a small margin. While Sting’s lyrics and vocals are fantastic, what really makes this song so special is the exemplary guitar work by Andy Summers. He was at the top of his game with this song. A contender for the group’s best song in my humble opinion.


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 – Message in a Bottle (1979)

My name is Dave and I live in Yorkshire in the north of England and have been here all my life. I hope you enjoy your visit to All is Ephemeral.

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