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!
Time Zone – World Destruction (1984)
We’re staying in the US today and heading to the Bronx in New York. Afrika Bambaataa was notable in the 1980s for a series of electro tracks that proved influential in hip hop circles. In the early 1980s he came up with a project known as Time Zone which involved collaborations with different artists across two decades. When we join the side project in 1984 Bambaataa has partnered up with John Lydon of Sex Pistols and Public Image Ltd fame for a song known as World Destruction.
As the title implies, World Destruction is all about a form of armageddon with Bambaataa and Lydon singing together of the devastation to be found throughout the world. They touch on the Cold War with mention of the CIA and KGB trying to outsmart one another. Religion is cited as a problem as well, dividing people across the globe and often leading to war. There is also the gulf in wealth with the rich getting richer while the poor find it increasingly more difficult to put food on the table. Completely relevant back in the 1980s and, sadly, very apt for the present day as well.
Time Zone is not a project I was familiar with prior to starting this challenge but I found World Destruction very interesting. It’s an angry piece, laying bare the sad state of the world at this time and the fact nothing has changed more than 30 years later makes it all the more tragic. John Lydon retains that sneering anger he used to such great effect as Johnny Rotten in his Sex Pistols days. It seems that some habits die hard. Time Zone would come to an end in 2005. Bambaataa’s more recent years have been controversial with child sex abuse allegations in 2016 leading him to resign as head of Zulu Nation, a political-social group of rappers he had formed back in the late 1970s.
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)