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!
M|A|R|R|S – Pump Up the Volume (1987)
” Pump Up the Volume” is the only single by British recording act M|A|R|R|S. Recorded and released in 1987, it was a number-one hit in many countries and is regarded as a significant milestone in the development of British acid house music and music sampling.
We’re continuing in the UK and London today, dear reader. What we have in store for you on this day though is something a little different. M|A|R|R|S was actually two acts – A.R. Kane and Colourbox – who were brought together by their record label to produce some music together. They did not get along so instead worked on one track each separately then traded them for the other to add their input. The two songs in question were Anitina and Pump Up the Volume. It is the latter that 1001 Songs have gone with.
Pump Up the Volume was a milestone of sorts in music history. It became an example of acid house which derived from Chicago but also incorporated music sampling by taking segments from previously recorded songs and coming up with a whole new track that way. Lyrically, there is not a great deal to comment on here. We are dealing with music and the need to “pump up the volume” to facilitate the more effusive dancing on the dance floor. The track is notable less for its lyrics but more for its overall composition which was new and exciting for listeners in the 1980s.
A significant success upon its release, Pump Up the Volume would hit the UK no.1 spot and land in the US Top 20. I distinctly recall this one from my school disco days, standing awkwardly at the side of the room drinking pop (soda/soft drink) and avoiding eye contact with girls. You should have seen me when I was a teenager, life and soul of the party! No, not really. Just swap the soft drink for alcohol and the image is complete. M|A|R|R|S would not collaborate again after this get together making them a sure fire one hit wonder.
Favourite songs so far: