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!
Echo & The Bunnymen – The Killing Moon (1984)
We’re back in the UK today, dear reader, and heading north to Liverpool. Formed in 1978 and led by confident frontman, Ian McCulloch, Echo & The Bunnymen released their debut album in 1980 and began as a cult band. When we join them in 1984 their fourth album, Ocean Rain, has been released and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the lead single – The Killing Moon.
The Killing Moon began when McCulloch woke one day with the lines to the chorus rolling off his tongue and thankfully he jotted them down before working on the rest of the track. On the surface the song seems to concern some kind of romance with the narrator talking of meeting someone beneath a blue moon and being taken into their arms. The reality is that the song is very much about death with the narrator being taken, presumably by God or a spirit of some kind, whether willing or not to the afterlife. It doesn’t sound like the narrator is ready for their demise but the power of death is too strong for them to resist.
Often considered Echo & The Bunnymen’s best song and even cited by McCulloch as something special, The Killing Moon would find its way into the UK Top 10. It is one of their best but I personally have a soft spot for Rescue. The Killing Moon would enjoy a resurgence in the late 1990s and beginning of this century for its use in films. It was memorably included in 2001 masterpiece, Donnie Darko, being the introductory segment when, ironically, Darko himself wakes far from home and can only smile. You can imagine McCulloch would have had a big smile when he woke to pen this classic.
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)