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!
Steve Winwood – While You See a Chance (1980)
We’re back in the UK, dear reader, and find ourselves in Birmingham in the Midlands. Steve Winwood is what you call a busy guy, having been in The Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Blind Faith and Go, not to mention a solo career. When we join Winwood in 1980 he has released his second solo album, Arc of a Diver, and from this record 1001 Songs have gone with the track – While You See a Chance.
In While You See a Chance, Steve Winwood sings of the danger of living a long life with a trail of regrets strewn behind you.The song’s imagery evokes feelings of being cold and lonely and thus when the chorus comes round, Winwood urges us to seize the moment for romance “while you see a chance”. He reminds us that the pursuit of love and the fine line to be found between happiness and loneliness are down to the individual. The pieces won’t fall into place for us. We have to make everything happen for ourselves.
Steve Winwood was only in his early thirties when While You See a Chance was released but he was already a music veteran at this point. Arc of a Diver was a breakthrough success in his solo career and he recorded all of the instruments on the record which is no easy task. While You See a Chance would hit the Top 10 in the US but, bizarrely, would not grace the top 40 in Winwood’s homeland in the UK. Very strange indeed.
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)