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!
Farley “Jackmaster” Funk – Love Can’t Turn Around (1986)
” Love Can’t Turn Around” is a 1986 Chicago house song by Farley Keith Williams a.k.a. Farley “Jackmaster” Funk and Jesse Saunders featuring vocalist Darryl Pandy. It holds an important place in the history of house music as the first record in that genre to cross over from the U.S.
We’re back to the US today, dear reader, and heading back up to Chicago to take in some more house music. Today’s song has a bit of a complicated background. Steve “Silk” Hurley produced a cover of Isaac Hayes’ I Can’t Turn Around, which was embraced in the area. Farley “Jackmaster” Funk was roommates with Hurley and decided to do his own version of the song, pairing up with Jesse Saunders, and retaining some of the work Hurley had done but changing lyrics and indeed the hook to become Love Can’t Turn Around. Finally, they drafted in Darryl Pandy to sing the vocals.
Love Can’t Turn Around is all about unrequited love i.e. the worst kind. The narrator here is singing about a girl he loves but it doesn’t sound like such feelings are being reciprocated. There is the suggestion that they may have been together at some point but they are certainly not now. This woman has now left our poor narrator for another man and he is devastated. The title gives the image of a dream woman with her back to the one who loves her, her desire and attention now elsewhere and unlikely to ever come back to him. That’s a bit harsh really.
The second taste of house music on this list and again we’re dealing in a genre I am not as warm to. I didn’t mind this one to be fair. I can’t resist a tale of unrequited love, an all too familiar emotion for so many of us. The song itself deserves a place on this list though. No longer seeing house music restricted to Chicago, Love Can’t Turn Around would cross the Atlantic and hit the Top 10 in the UK charts. House music had begun its journey into UK clubs and there was no turning back now.
Favourite songs so far: