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!
Tom Tom Club – Genius of Love (1981)
We’re staying in the US today, dear reader, but travel from California to Connecticut for our latest guests. Husband and wife – Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth – both members of Talking Heads formed Tom Tom Club in 1981 while the Heads were on hiatus, not helped by friction within the group and the accusation that lead singer, David Byrne, was taking too much credit for the band’s material. Away from the pressure of internal feuding – Frantz and Weymouth branched out with Tom Tom Club and 1001 Songs have gone with the track – Genius of Love.
Genius of Love is a peculiar song in that not all of it is straightforward to decipher. Tina Weymouth takes the lead vocals and the song seems to be from the perspective of a woman who is in prison but counting the days to her release when she can be reunited with her boyfriend. She seems to reminisce about the good times that the two of them have shared and how being with this guy can only be described as the “genius of love” of the title. Aww, that’s nice.
Tom Tom Club are another group I was not familiar with and I certainly wasn’t aware that they were made up of some members of Talking Heads either. It sounds like tension was very bad in the group if Weymouth and Frantz felt the need to pursue an alternative project. Genius of Love proved a popular track for the duo and later artists such as Grandmaster Flash and Mariah Carey would sample it with some of their own material.
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)