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…
The Jam – Start! (1980)
Continuing in the UK but we head out to Woking in Surrey for our guests today. It’s a second appearance from The Jam, dear reader, having previously appeared in 1979 with The Eton Rifles. Having topped the UK charts in early 1980 with Going Underground/Dreams of Children, Paul Weller was keen for The Jam to branch out and not become fixated on the same sound, avoid being typecast you might say. The next single the group released would be our choice today – Start!
In Start! Paul Weller sings of loneliness and the desire to connect with another individual. So powerful is this urge for human connection that the narrator informs us that they only need to spend two minutes with another person, not to even know their name, but to have formed the tiniest of bonds before it is broken and they go their separate ways. It’s a poignant ode to being alone and isolated.
Start! has a guitar riff taken straight out of The Beatles’ Taxman which appeared on their 1966 album, Revolver. Weller was unapologetic about this and the melody does suit the song here. As the subject matter determines, this song is 2½ minutes, mirroring the desire of the narrator for around 2 minutes of human connection. A change of approach did not hinder The Jam. Start! Soon became their second UK no.1 hit.
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)
Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart (1980)