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!
Prince & The Revolution – Purple Rain (1984)
We’re leaving Israel behind, dear reader, and heading all the way over to the US and to Minneapolis in Minnesota. Prince began his career in the 1970s gathering a loyal following steadily into the 1980s. When we join him in 1984 he is not merely Prince, instead Prince & The Revolution which was his very talented back-up band in support. A sixth album, Purple Rain, and a film of the same name with Prince making his acting debut have been released in what was a busy year. 1001 Songs have gone with the title track for our listening pleasure today.
A gargantuan 8+ minutes epic, Purple Rain sees Prince singing of his feelings for another person and how he longs for them to stand in the “purple rain” of the title. Prince would explain that the concept of “purple rain” referred to the end of the world, to being with someone you love the most, immersed in that rain and letting your faith guide you on your next path, wherever that may take you. For all the romantic intent, it doesn’t sound like the person in the song is fully acquiescing to Prince’s desire but he is trying to convince them he is the person they should be with at the end of time itself. Doesn’t ask for a lot, does he?
When one thinks of Prince it is inevitable that Purple Rain will come into the conversation. Both the album and song were critically acclaimed with the latter devoting the first half to its lyrics before Prince guides us on a wave of music throughout the second half. It’s one of his finest pieces and stands up well today as a rock classic. I haven’t seen the film of the same name but am intrigued to see how Prince fared in the acting stakes.
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)
Ultravox – Vienna (1980)
Don Henley – The Boys of Summer (1984)
The Smiths – How Soon Is Now? (1984)