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 Waterboys – The Whole of the Moon (1985)
We’re continuing in the UK today, dear reader, but swapping London for Edinburgh as we move from England to Scotland. Formed in 1983 The Waterboys have varied their genres over the years but tend to favour folk and rock the majority of the time. When we meet up with the group in 1985 they have released their third album – This Is the Sea – and from there 1001 Songs have gone with a little known song by the name of The Whole of the Moon.
The song was written by Mike Scott, the only consistent member of the band. He described it as being about not one person but a composite of individuals, the types of people who seem to have a bigger grasp of the world around us and are more tuned in to the environment. Such individuals often peter out very quickly rather than living long lives but their influence remains profound. I was interested to see in an interview that Scott cited Jimi Hendrix and Syd Barrett as examples of those who see “the whole of the moon.” Hendrix was dead at 27 and Barrett abandoned the music business due to heavy drug use and potential mental illness.
The Whole of the Moon is a song that I have always associated with the 1980s but the song was not very successful upon release. It was only with a reissue in 1991 that it rose to no.3 in the UK charts. You learn something everyday they always say. The Waterboys disbanded in 1993 but reformed in 2000 and have continued to churn out new albums though nothing will ever be comparable to this song…unless they prove me wrong of course.
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)