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!
General Public – Tenderness (1984)
We’re back in the UK today, dear reader, and once again have a story of one band ending and a new one emerging in its place. The Beat appeared back in 1982 on our list but by 1983 they had disbanded with some members forming Fine Young Cannibals while others joined with individuals from The Clash, Dexy’s Midnight Runners and The Specials to form General Public. Still with me? Good. Anyway, we join General Public in 1984 with their debut album, All the Rage, and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the track – Tenderness.
The song describes an individual who is searching the world far and wide for the “tenderness” of the title. This emotion remains elusive to him but he searches for it relentlessly. Tenderness is the void in this man’s life and he describes the moments where he had this, dancing with a girl who wore many rings but not on the finger that mattered to him, the one that indicated there may have been a chance with her. We hear mention of words being damaging, suggesting that perhaps he has been in a good relationship but said something that managed to ruin everything. Words can never be taken back once we have spoken them and that seems to be the case here.
Combining seasoned performers to form a new group certainly did the trick for General Public though their music wasn’t embraced as strongly in the UK as it was in the US. Tenderness captures a typical search for love with hints of regret from the past. It has a nice melody and a real 1980s feel to it throughout. The band petered out by 1987 having a brief reunion in the 1990s.
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)
Ultravox – Vienna (1980)
Don Henley – The Boys of Summer (1984)