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…
Duran Duran – Girls on Film (1981)
Farewell to Canada as we return to the UK once more, dear reader. No stay in London for us this time. Instead, we are heading north to Birmingham. Formed in 1978 and slotting into the new wave of music around this time, Duran Duran became one of the most successful and enduring bands of the 1980s. Pick up any 1980s compilation and you are bound to find these handsome chaps on there somewhere. We join the group in 1981 with their self-titled debut album and from there 1001 Songs have gone with Girls on Film.
Girls on Film is exactly what it says on the tin. Here we have the glamorous world of fashion and modelling. The song describes a series of scenes where girls are being filmed and doing photo shoots. It’s wonderful, it’s eye catching, it’s all good, but deep down there is a suggestion that these women are being exploited for their beauty, that they are mere objects for lascivious eyes. Sure, there is good money to potentially be made but at what cost to the human being that has the camera lens shoved in their face?
Girls on Film would be Duran Duran’s first UK Top 10 hit and became notorious for the music video that accompanied it. The group intended the video to be played in clubs and unedited but it found its way onto the BBC and MTV and, suffice to say, lewd images of women did not go down well and the video was heavily censored before it could be played on television. A bit of controversy never did anyone any harm and the group thrived rather than fell as a result of the music video. Duran Duran had arrived and they looked set to be staying for a good long while.
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)
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)
Ultravox – Vienna (1980)