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!
Metallica – One (1988)
” One” is a song by American heavy metal band Metallica. It was released as the third and final single from their fourth studio album, …And Justice for All (1988).
We’re leaving the UK today, dear reader, and making our way back to the US and to Los Angeles, California. Metallica were formed in 1981 and established themselves as one of the key names in heavy metal and thrash metal. They have overcome personnel changes and even the death of one of their bandmates – Cliff Burton – in 1986 in a tragic bus accident. When we join the band in 1988 they are continuing amidst tragedy and their fourth album, …And Justice For All has been released. From there 1001 Songs have gone with the track – One.
One took its inspiration from the novel, Johnny Got His Gun, written by Dalton Trumbo in 1939 and adapted into an anti-war movie of the same name in 1971. The book and film told the story of a World War I soldier who is severely wounded at the end of the conflict and left blind and without arms and legs. Kept alive in a hospital by the dutiful staff, the soldier longs for death. One follows that same premise with the soldier here also wounded and left facing a life bereft of limbs and of sight. The song describes how the soldier is a victim of a landmine and they cannot speak, see, hear and have lost their limbs so all they have is darkness and isolation with human contact hard to discern.
Metallica are one of the great survivors in heavy metal circles. Tensions within the band have often led to a fragile environment but they always seem to overcome this. The 2004 film Metallica: Some Kind of Monster excellently captured the internal divisions that have existed in the band. One is testament to the band when all members pull together. It is a long track, carefully building up to the vocals but then the heavy guitar comes in and the sound is often exhilarating. Throw in some guitar solos and you have a real heavy metal treat on your hands.
Favourite songs so far: