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 Smiths – There Is a Light That Never Goes Out (1986)
” There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” is a song by the English rock band the Smiths, written by guitarist Johnny Marr and singer Morrissey. Featured on the band’s third studio album The Queen Is Dead , it was not released as a single in the United Kingdom until 1992, five years after their split.
We’re leaving Australia behind today, dear reader, and returning to the UK. We must head north and back to Manchester to reacquaint ourselves with The Smiths. It’s 1986 and the group have released what is considered their best album, The Queen Is Dead. 1001 Songs were faced with quite a challenge whittling this one down to just the solitary track but in the end they went with There Is a Light That Never Goes Out.
There Is a Light That Never Goes Out once again combines Morrissey’s knack for memorable lyrics with Johnny Marr’s fabulous guitar. The song seems to concern a young person or teenager who has left home because they do not feel they belong there anymore. They are a passenger in the car of an unnamed individual but presumably their lover. This person longs for the world and all the pleasure it can offer through human connection. In the chorus Morrissey sings of the couple in the car being killed in a car accident and such thoughts, though dark, offer no concern to the narrator for they are happy in this moment and to die now would be a comfortable denouement.
The second single from The Queen is Dead but not released until 1992 when The Smiths were no more, There Is a Light That Never Goes Out remains one of their masterpieces. Morrissey is in fine form as he potentially sings of doomed lovers and the bliss of an early death, while Johnny Marr proves once again that he was just as vital to the band as the frontman. By 1987 the band had split up with the crucial relationship between Morrissey and Marr having broken down. The legend lives on to this day of these four talented Mancunians.
Favourite songs so far: