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!
Paolo Conte – Via con me (1981)
A quick visit to the US and away we go once more across the Atlantic and to Europe, dear reader. We find ourselves in Italy today and in the company of a composer, singer and songwriter by the name of Paolo Conte. Initially working in law while pursuing music, Conte would write songs with his brother before branching out with his first solo album in the 1970s. When we join him in 1981 he has released his fourth album – Paris milonga – and 1001 Songs have gone with Via con me.
Via con me translates as Away with me and comes across as a simple message of love with the narrator asking someone to leave home and join him on the road of dreams and endless possibilities. The song is unusual in that the verses are sung in Italian but upon reaching the chorus, Conte switches to English, telling us about how “wonderful” everything is and then mentioning “chips” for some reason. What variant of chips we are talking about here is not clear. We could be dabbling in a spot of gambling in a casino or sitting by the sea and enjoying fish and chips, who knows for sure? The romance here sounds like there is an element of risk and danger about it but Conte sounds rather persuasive.
Via con me is one of Paolo Conte’s best-known compositions beyond his native Italy. It demonstrates his varied love of music with a pleasant melody while the linguistic shake-up in the singing catches you off guard initially. Conte leaves us in no doubt that love is an amazing thing and he is desperately trying to convey that to a would-be lover here. Now in his eighties, the versatile musician continues to charm the world with his music.
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)