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 Korgis – Everybody’s Got to Learn (1980)
We’re heading straight back to the UK after jamming with Stevie Wonder yesterday. We find ourselves in the southwest of England, dear reader, and in the city of Bristol. Formed in 1978 by former members of the band, Stackridge – Andy Davis and James Warren – The Korgis were together for a limited time but did enough to bag themselves a place on our list. When we join them in 1980 it is with their second album, Dumb Waiters, and their biggest hit – Everybody’s Got to Learn.
Written by James Warren in less than half an hour, apparently, Everybody’s Got to Learn is driven heavily by synthesiser sound and the lyrics are relatively sparse with a repetition of the title being most prominent. The song seems to be in reference to people changing their perspectives and outlooks, taking the time to immerse themselves fully in the world and step out of who they were before. Having done so, the song suggests that we will receive a kind of enlightenment and be all the better for it. The title offers hope that it isn’t too late for anyone, that we all have the lesson to learn if we are open-minded enough for the experience.
I don’t recall hearing this track previously and I have certainly never heard of The Korgis before. Though lyrically limited, the music is engaging and the song’s underlying message still comes through strongly. Perhaps it did not require many words for it to be understood so clearly. Though Everybody’s Got to Learn was a success for the group it did not keep them together with Andy Davis soon departing and while James Warren pushed on with changing line-ups the band was over by 1982. They have since reformed a few times but this was their moment back in 1980.
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)