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!
Hoodoo Gurus – I Want You Back (1984)
It’s the end of 1984 for us, dear reader, and we’re leaving the UK and taking a long flight Down Under to Sydney, Australia. Formed in 1981 Hoodoo Gurus became one of the most renowned Australian rock bands in history. We join them at the start though in 1984 with the release of their debut album, Stoneage Romeos, and from there 1001 Songs have had a long listen and decided to go with the track – I Want You Back.
The gestation of I Want You Back came from upheaval in the band itself. Founding members – Kimble Rendall and Roddy Radalj – both quit with the latter unhappy at the former’s departure and even more disgruntled with the increasing influence of Dave Faulkner over the rest of the band. His dismissive attitude to the group inspired Faulkner to pen I Want You Back. Channelling the fall out within his own band, Faulkner turned I Want You Back into an account of a broken down relationship. The narrator tells us about the girl he is no longer with and how he is better for it. At the moment, feelings are still raw though and his ex-girlfriend is spreading lies amongst their mutual friends. The narrator is convinced everyone will see through her lies and it will be her, not him, that is uttering the words, “I want you back”, even though the narrator no longer sounds interested.
Hoodoo Gurus are yet another rock group from Australia I have never heard of. I knew a handful of groups prior to this challenge but it is quite amazing to see the amount of bands that hailed from the distant land. I Want You Back is a clever recreation of a band dispute, reimagining it as a love affair that has gone wrong but rather than the usual narrator in despair at the end of a relationship, our protagonist seems to be doing okay, or is that just a clever facade?
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)