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!
Stevie Wonder – Master Blaster (Jammin’) (1980)
Back to the US today, dear reader, and we are heading to Michigan to revisit with our old friend, Stevie Wonder. I believe this is Wonder’s fifth appearance on our list and given that we have only 1001 Songs then that is some achievement, wouldn’t you say? Now in 1980 we join Wonder as he releases his nineteenth album, Hotter Than July, and he is in need of a turnaround in fortunes after his previous album, Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants, was not well-received. From this latest album we have Master Blaster (Jammin’).
Stevie Wonder wrote Master Blaster (Jammin’) as a tribute to Bob Marley. The two men had been performing live shows together and planned to do more when Marley died in 1981 from cancer. In the song we have such references as “Marley’s hot on the box”, while the chorus uses the refrain of “jamming until the break of dawn.” Wonder also taps into some of the tenets of Marley’s life, avoiding war in favour of a more peaceful co-existence and makes reference to the Rastafarian God – Jah.
I love that feeling of discovering a song you have known in the past but are never sure who the artist is or what the song is called. Master Blaster (Jammin’) is one such song. As soon as I heard that chorus it took me back many years and I immediately headed to Spotify to add this one to my list. It’s a joyous tribute to Bob Marley and, along with the Hotter Than July album, would show that Stevie Wonder was still capable of glory.
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)