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!
Dead or Alive – You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) (1984)
We’re staying in the UK and remaining in Liverpool as well so may as well have a sneaky look around the city for references to The Beatles while we’re here. Formed in 1980 Dead or Alive were led by the striking and androgynous singer, Pete Burns, and had a steady start to the 1980s. When we join them in 1984 they are working on their second album, Youthquake, but have released a single late in the year entitled You Spin Me Round (Like a Record).
In You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) Pete Burns takes the vocals and appears to be a narrator on a night out who spots someone very appealing to him. It sounds like he approaches this individual, drawn by how they look and with the assumption that they will be a lot of “fun.” The title suggests dancing perhaps or maybe just a mixture of emotions that this person makes our narrator feel. Towards the end of the track they insist that they want this person’s love. It sounds like a pretty memorable evening all round.
You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) was a big success but it took more than four months to climb the UK charts and hit the no.1 spot. Doesn’t matter how long it takes as long as you get there, right? The song resonated strongly in the US market as well. The band continued for another thirty years but Burns’ fortunes took a downturn with bankruptcy and his life savings being admittedly consumed by relentless cosmetic surgery which impacted on his later health. He died suddenly in the dark year of 2016 from a heart attack at the age of 57 and without him Dead or Alive immediately disbanded.
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)