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!
Adam & The Ants – Kings of the Wild Frontier (1980)
We’re immediately back in the UK today, dear reader, and don’t need to venture any further than London, which is handy as that is where my plane happens to have landed. Formed in 1977, Adam & The Ants began life as cult favourites before reinventing themselves at the dawn of 1980. A change of personnel, a new approach to their music, not to mention some rather flamboyant attire, were just a few of the ingredients that turned the group’s fortunes around. We join them in that pivotal year of 1980 with the track – Kings of the Wild Frontier.
Kings of the Wild Frontier seems to serve two purposes. On the one hand it clearly makes reference to the brutal subjugation of Native Americans by European settlers. On the other, it allows Adam Ant to sing of “a new royal family, a wild nobility” known as Antpeople with Antmusic being their gift to the world. The group are reaching out to their would-be audience here, identifying them as akin to Native Americans, outcasts to be trampled on, but the promise here is of a new movement with the Antpeople, family and a place to call home.
Adam & The Ants would only have a brief spell of success with the journey over by 1982 as Adam Ant went solo. However, Kings of the Wild Frontier was the first taste of the magic that was to come. The likes of Prince Charming and Stand and Deliver would be just around the corner for the group. Kings of the Wild Frontier did not fare well upon release but when later songs hit the UK Top 10, so too did this song.
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)