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 – Rapture (1980)
We kiss goodbye to Sweden and make our way through Europe, across the Atlantic and back to the US. To New York we must go, dear reader, and we’re back in the company of Blondie. Having hit mainstream success in the late 1970s, we join Blondie in 1980 with the release of their fifth album, Autoamerican, and 1001 Songs have ignored The Tide is High in favour of the track, Rapture.
Rapture is hard to pin down in terms of a definition and I have read various interpretations. It begins simply enough with talk of dancing and the “rapture” of the moment. The song then takes a strange turn with talk of a man from Mars coming down to Earth, killing an unsuspecting soul, absorbing him and then going on a spree of destruction of the likes of cars before hitting the town and starting to devour the bars and the people one can find there. This sounds like a metaphor for gorging on material objects and recreational fun. I have read that it’s a sci-fi piece, an account of the end of disco and even a drug song. I’m not sure myself despite many listens.
Rapture isn’t Blondie’s best song by a long way but it’s inventive and different to the likes of Atomic and Sunday Girl. The song is notable as being the first US no.1 hit to feature rap vocals, with Debbie Harry doing the honours. This has caused confusion with some believing this to be the first rap song, which is not the case. Blondie may well have helped popularise the genre but they were experimenting with a style already in existence.
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)