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 Triffids – Wide Open Road (1986)
” Wide Open Road” is a single released in 1986 by Australian folk rock band The Triffids from their album Born Sandy Devotional . It was produced by Gil Norton ( Pixies, Echo & the Bunnymen, Foo Fighters) and written by David McComb on vocals, keyboards and guitar.
We’re leaving the UK and making the very long journey over to Australia so best to grab some sleep on the plane I guess. I can’t sleep on planes but that’s another story. We’re heading to Perth in Western Australia where we find a group by the name of The Triffids who were formed in 1978 and lasted just over a decade. They are yet another group where mainstream success eluded them but they have still managed to forge a legacy. It’s 1986 and the group’s latest album – Born Sandy Devotional – has been released with 1001 Songs going for the track – Wide Open Road.
Wide Open Road captures a sense of nostalgia, bitterness and regret on the long journey that is life. The song mentions a variety of memories beginning with friends and family being cast aside as the narrator advances forth down the “wide open road” of the title. The second half of the song suggests a romance for the protagonist but one that has fallen apart and now they sleep alone, haunted by the memory of what went wrong and tormented at the thought of their ex now in the arms of another lover. Still the narrator pushes on through their life and you get the sense that many more trials are still to come.
The Triffids are well remembered today but huge chart success slipped them by though Wide Open Road has subsequently been covered by many artists since it was first released. The song has a dream-like feel to it, perfect for a testament to nostalgia and regret. The band ultimately disbanded in 1989 with lead singer, David McComb, pursuing a solo album that proved to be a struggle and The Triffids never reunited.
Favourite songs so far: