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!
Motörhead/Girlschool – Please Don’t Touch (1981)
Having paid tribute to John Lennon with Yoko Ono yesterday, we now find ourselves back in the UK and in London. Today’s guests are actually two bands from the UK capital – Girlschool and Motörhead, who have appeared on our list already. In 1981 Motörhead drummer, Phil Taylor, suffered a broken neck leaving his bandmates with a lot of time on their hands. They teamed up with Girlschool, under the name Headgirl, and the two heavy rockers worked on an EP entitled, St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, which included takes on each other’s songs and a cover of Please Don’t Touch by Johnny Kidd and The Pirates and it is this track that 1001 Songs have gone with.
Please Don’t Touch is reminiscent of Johnny Kidd and The Pirates track, Shakin’ All Over, that previously appeared on our list. In the song, Lemmy from Motörhead takes many of the lead vocals and sings of a girl that he is really into but his feelings for her are so intense he cannot bear to be touched by her. He is just too nervous for words that he can’t stop shaking but desire for this girl is overwhelming him. There are lyrics about finally getting to a hotel room with this girl but it’s unclear if the union is consummated or not. You suspect it probably was, nerves and all.
The collaboration between Motörhead and Girlschool was a fateful one. Had Motörhead’s drummer not been recovering from a broken neck, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre EP might never have come to be. Please Don’t Touch is a fast-paced and heavy coming together of two rock hardened groups with Girlschool still performing to this day. In the end, their collection of songs was a big hit, with the EP making it into the UK Top 10 and cementing Motörhead’s reputation as one of the best heavy metal bands around at this time.
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)