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!
Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’ (1981)
From New York across the US to San Francisco, California, we are heading today, dear reader. Formed in 1973 from former members of two groups – Santana and Frumious Bandersnatch – Journey began steadily but in the late 1970s and early 1980s they reached a career peak with the acquisition of vocalist – Steve Perry. When we join the group in 1981 they have released their seventh album – Escape – and 1001 Songs have called on their faith and beseech you to Don’t Stop Believin’.
Don’t Stop Believin’ became a rock anthem for young people that longed to be free and to live their lives as they saw fit. The song opens with mention of a “small town girl” and “a city boy” both catching a “midnight train” and going wherever it takes them. The song seems to be setting us up for a romance but it soon develops into an ode of life and the risk that comes with simply living and making decisions. We hear how some people will thrive, while others will fall, it’s just the way life is. By the conclusion we are given the refrain of “don’t stop believin’” and our own faith is restored for Journey are telling one and all to not give up on our dreams and desires, no matter how many blows life may deal us.
A classic rock anthem from the early 1980s, Don’t Stop Believin’ made the US Top 10 upon its original release but has enjoyed a renaissance in the present day thanks to its use in TV shows such as Scrubs and Glee. The song is considered a perfect rock song and it does merit such plaudits. Modern audiences share the sentiment with the song being the most downloaded track to have been released in the 20th century. The band would go on hiatus in 1987 with Steve Perry parting ways with the group but they reformed in the 1990s and are still rocking away.
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)