On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging 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 everyday (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…
Pete Townshend – Let My Love Open the Door (1980)
We return to the UK today, dear reader, following our epic jaunt down to Australia. Pete Townshend is our guest and some people, not many, might ask who is that. Well, Townshend is one of the key members of The Who and their main songwriter, having written more than 100 songs for the group. Although best known for his work with The Who, Townshend also dabbled in solo work as well beginning in the early 1970s. When we pick up his tale in 1980 it is with the release of Empty Glass and 1001 Songs have gone with the hit single – Let My Love Open the Door.
Although often interpreted as a standard love song, Let My Love Open the Door is more concerned with spiritual love rather than physical attraction. Townshend was a follower of Meher Baba, an Indian spiritual master, and the song is said to concern his faith here. The song has a feel of the subject matter to Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water. The narrator is speaking to someone, or maybe many people, who have fallen on hard times, they may be troubled by vices or life in general has simply become too much. The narrator beseeches them to open their hearts to his love, to a form of spiritual healing and guidance, a beacon to light their dark paths. The narrator is offering hope and salvation.
Pete Townshend is rightly celebrated as a great songwriter and a vital member of The Who but from what I have read his solo work was a welcome creative outlet, away from the pressure of such a successful band. This song sounds like a musician who is calm and at ease in the studio and it holds a powerful universal message that will resonate with many people. I am not a religious person myself but do not question or begrudge those who find love and hope through their faith. It must be a wonderful thing to have.
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)