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!
Bon Jovi – Runaway (1984)
We’re leaving the UK today, dear reader, and making our way over to the US and to New Jersey. Formed in 1983 Bon Jovi have been an enduringly popular rock band with their best years being in the 1980s and 1990s. It’s January 1984 though and the group have released their self-titled debut album. From that record 1001 Songs have gone with the group’s first single – Runaway.
Runaway was originally recorded in 1981 but was rerecorded when Jon Bon Jovi was fresh out of school and foundhimself working at Power Station Studios. His recording was used on a radio compilation alongside other tracks and began to gather airplay landing him a record deal. As the title suggests, the song is about a runaway. In this case it sounds like a young girl has decided to run away from home and seek happiness out in the world. Her relationship with her father has broken down due to bad communication and home is not the place for her now. Out in the city she is looking for love but it’s a dangerous place and there are references to taking drugs which could spell disaster for her.
Runaway remains a classic Bon Jovi track though compared to his later material such as Livin’ On a Prayer, Keep the Faith and Bad Medicine, it does pale. That said, it’s a significant song in the back catalogue, the one that led to Bon Jovi getting their break in the music business and for that we have to be eternally grateful. The group are still going to this day but since These Days (1995) their material, in my opinion, hasn’t been as strong though the following remains as loyal as ever.
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)