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!
The Psychedelic Furs – Pretty in Pink (1981)
Farewell to San Francisco, dear reader, as we make our way across the US, over the Atlantic and back to the UK where we stop off in London. Formed in 1977 by brothers Richard and Tim Butler, The Psychedelic Furs emerged in the post-punk scene in the UK but it wasn’t until the early 1980s that things began to pick up for them. When we join the band in 1981 they have released their second album, Talk Talk Talk, and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the song, Pretty in Pink.
Pretty in Pink is about a girl called Caroline and initially we seem to be involved in a celebration of her as someone beautiful and desirable, dancing in the rain, the traits of a typical love song. However, the song soon takes a different turn. We hear about Caroline having lots of lovers, guys queuing up in fact, but now rather than honouring her the song seems to suggest that she is something of a joke, a loose girl, real “easy” and for that she is mocked. I have heard reference that “pretty in pink” is a metaphor for being naked which would tie in with the subject matter here. Towards the end there is mention of Caroline telling saying “I love you” which might indicate she saw value in his these relationships and hoped for something more than sex but it hasn’t come to pass; she has been used over and over again. The song ends with mention of cars colliding and at one point we hear how she is gone so something bad may have happened to Caroline but she remains the butt of jokes among men. Pretty sad stuff.
I have heard of Pretty in Pink but the song didn’t sound familiar as I listened to it. A re-recorded version was used in John Hughes’ 1986 film of the same name, starring Molly Ringwald, so I will have heard it at some stage. Being on the soundtrack helped to propel the song higher in the charts before the group went on hiatus in the early 1990s. They reformed at the start of this century and continue to perform to this day.
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)