1001 Songs Challenge,  1980s,  Music

1001 Songs Challenge #716: Monkey Gone to Heaven (1989)

On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging 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 everyday (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…


Pixies – Monkey Gone to Heaven (1989)

Monkey Gone to Heaven

“Monkey Gone to Heaven” Single by Pixies from the album Doolittle A-side “Monkey Gone to Heaven” B-side “Manta Ray” “Weird at My School” “Dancing the Manta Ray” Released March 20, 1989 Vinyl record ( 7″, 12″), Compact Disc Recorded November 1988 at Downtown Recorders, Boston, Massachusetts, United StatesStrings recorded on December 4, 1988, at Carriage House Studios, Stamford, Connecticut, United States Genre Alternative rock Length 2:56 Label Elektra Songwriter(s) Black Francis Producer(s) Gil Norton Pixies singles chronology ” Monkey Gone to Heaven” is a song by the American alternative rock band Pixies.


Lyrics (via Genius)
Learn more about this song (via Genius)


We’re leaving the UK, dear reader, and returning to the US to Boston, Massachusetts. We are revisiting with Pixies today who previously appeared on our list in 1988 with Where is My Mind? We’re now into 1989 and the group have released their second album – Doolittle – considered among their finest work. From there 1001 Songs have lifted one of the singles – Monkey Gone to Heaven

Monkey Gone to Heaven deals with environmental issues and is a testament to the damage mankind has done to the planet. The opening lines talk of a sea god being devastated by mankind pumping sewage into the ocean waters. A later verse seems to reference damage to the ozone layer with mention of a hole in the sky. The refrain in the chorus talks of a monkey going to heaven, one example presumably of a victim of mankind’s malice. Towards the end of the song we hear of three entities – man, the devil and god – as if we have a variant of the holy trinity of father, son and holy spirit. God is seven, the devil is six and man is five. Perhaps God and the devil are fighting for the spirit of man and trying to guide him but ultimately the devil seems to be winning the exchange. 

Monkey Gone to Heaven was one of the first songs I ever heard by Pixies. It stands up well as a great song but if pushed I could name better ones such as Velouria and Here Comes Your Man but that is not to denigrate on what is still an excellent song. Doolittle would fare well upon release and even reach the UK Top 10, which was quite an achievement for a band who were not challenging at the higher echelons of the charts. Pixies would disband in 1993 and their genius would come to be appreciated even more in their absence. I too was a latecomer to the Pixies party. The band reformed in 2004 and continue to tour to this day. I would love to see them live one day.


Favourite songs so far:

The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)

Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)

The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)

The Doors – The End (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)

The Smiths – How Soon Is Now? (1984)

Tracy Chapman – Fast Car (1988)

My name is Dave and I live in Yorkshire in the north of England and have been here all my life. I hope you enjoy your visit to All is Ephemeral.

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