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…
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – I Love Rock ‘n Roll (1981)
We’re leaving the UK and heading back to the US and to Pennsylvania for our listening pleasure today, dear reader. We find ourselves in the company of Joan Jett who began her career as a member of The Runaways before going solo. We join her in 1981 with the release of her most successful song – I Love Rock ‘n Roll – an inevitable but perfectly apt choice from 1001 Songs.
I Love Rock ‘n Roll was originally written by British group, Arrows, in 1975 and Joan Jett happened to hear it when she was in England and saw the group on television. Jett’s cover version sees her take the lead vocal and describe the scene of spotting a seventeen year old guy dancing by a jukebox and our narrator is immediately besotted. The young man reciprocates her attention and they decide to slip away to be alone somewhere, both having a love and appreciation for rock n’ roll and how it has brought them together.
An instantly recognisable and beloved 1980s’ rock classic, I Love Rock ‘n Roll is full of drive and energy, subtle in its sexual subject matter and a hard song not to bang one’s head to. While trying to ignite a solo career Joan Jett faced many rejections from record companies with some not believing a woman such as she could pull off the rock guise and performance. Jett had the last laugh and is now considered a feminist icon, the Queen of Rock ‘n Roll and is one of only two women to appear on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists. Kudos all around.
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)