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!
Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb – Guilty (1980)
We’re heading over the Atlantic and back to the US, dear reader. Today we find ourselves in New York and in the company of an actor and singer by the name of Barbra Streisand. Streisand had started her career back in the 1960s as a singer but would soon venture into films as well, maintaining a loyal audience in the process. In 1980 Streisand was ready to record a new album and wanted to work with Barry Gibb from Bee Gees. Gibb was nervous at this prospect but took on the assignment, initially to write Streisand a handful of songs but instead ending up writing her an entire album – Guilty. 1001 Songs have gone with the title track, a duet between Streisand and Gibb.
In Guilty, Streisand and Gibb are star crossed lovers straight out of a Shakespeare play though with a less tragic ending.Streisand takes the first verse and sings of finding love with a special man and how being alone is something none of us should have to face. In fact, Streisand goes so far as to say it should be a crime to be alone. Gibb echoes the sentiment when he takes the second verse and together the two singers are united in declaring their love for one another and how they should not feel guilty for having such emotions.
Barry Gibb was clearly riding high as a songwriter and performer at this time and you get a feel of the disco Bee Gees a little in this track as it opens. It’s a pleasant enough duet with emotive imagery and the sort of track that wouldn’t be out of place around Valentine’s Day. Despite Gibb’s prior nerves, his collaboration with Streisand was an enjoyable one for them both and her 22nd album would be one of the most successful of her career.
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)
Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)
Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now (1978)
The Police – Message in a Bottle (1979)
Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Geno (1980)