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!
The Fall – Cruiser’s Creek (1985)
We’re back in the UK today, dear reader, and make our way north to Manchester. Formed in 1976, The Fall slotted into the post-punk movement and retained enduring popularity throughout their career. The Fall were often touted as something special but major commercial success always eluded them despite an impressive body of work. When we join the group in 1985 they have been boosted by the arrival of Brix Smith who took over lead guitar for the band and married frontman, Mark E Smith. 1001 Songs have sifted through the discography and found Cruiser’s Creek.
In Cruiser’s Creek, Mark E Smith sings of a party that never seems to be far away from disaster. There are suggestions that this is some kind of office party with the narrator desiring sex behind a steel cabinet. The alcohol flows and there is smoking all around and all seems well for the moment. However, disaster almost occurs when the narrator realises someone has left the gas on, he lights up his cigarette but manages to avert the danger just in time. A good thing too.
The Fall are a legendary cult band from the UK and I have heard their name many times over the years. The late DJ John Peel adored the group and although they never troubled the higher echelons of the UK charts, the band retained a loyal following throughout their lengthy history. Cruiser’s Creek is heavy on its sound and blends nicely with Smith’s vocals which made me think of a combo of Ian Curtis and Johnny Rotten with the delivery. Maybe just me. The journey came to an end in 2018 when Mark E Smith died from kidney and lung cancer. Often a volatile character in real life, Smith’s legacy was long since assured and famous names across the music world paid tribute to his genius.
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)