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!
Wham! – Freedom (1984)
We’re back in the UK today, dear reader, and find ourselves in the town of Bushey in Hertfordshire, East England. Formed in 1981, Wham! were a duo comprised of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley (sometimes just the other guy in Wham!). Sorry Andrew. I know your name, flower. In just a five-year career Wham! chalked up numerous hits including UK chart toppers before ending all too soon. When we join them in 1984 they have already topped the UK charts with Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go while George Michael also had a no.1 hit with Careless Whisper which may or may not be a Wham! track depending on who you ask. I always thought it was a solo effort to be honest. Anyway, the group are now hoping to maintain their success with a new single by the name of Freedom.
Written by George Michael, Freedom is a spider’s web of romantic relationships with the narrator beseeching a girl he loves dearly to love only him. It sounds like she enjoys open relationships though with different guys and is willing to reciprocate with the narrator but he is not interested. The “freedom” of the title seems to attest to this type of relationship but the narrator has no interest in such shenanigans. He is all about monogamy and loves this girl so much he is willing to forgive any previous indiscretions so long as they are together and love only one another. Just don’t think she is up for this, George.
Freedom would top the UK charts and give the group their second no.1 hit. It showcases what the duo were all about with catchy pop music but surmounted by George Michael’s stunning voice. Whatever controversies may have occurred later in Michael’s tragically short life, there is no denying the dude could sing. I do like Freedom but there are better songs by Wham! such as the sometimes overlooked Everything She Wants which isn’t as pop friendly as this track but is still well written and executed. Wham! disbanded in 1986 with George Michael continuing a very successful solo career, while Andrew, well, Andrew just…
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)