1001 Songs Challenge,  1980s,  Music

1001 Songs Challenge #700: Orinoco Flow (1988)

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!


Enya – Orinoco Flow (1988)

Orinoco Flow

“”, also released as ” Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)”, is a song by the Irish singer songwriter Enya, released on 15 October 1988 on WEA Records in Europe and 10 January 1989 by Geffen Records in the United States. It was released as the lead single from the musician’s second studio album, (1988).


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


700 on the board. Only 301 songs to go. We got this. We’re staying in the UK today, dear reader, but making our way over to County Donegal in Northern Ireland. Enya began her career as part of her family’s Celtic folk band – Clannad – but left in 1982 to pursue a solo career. When we join Enya in 1988 she has released her second album – Watermark – and from that record 1001 Songs have inevitably gone with the track, Orinoco Flow

Orinoco Flow is an enchanting piece with Enya singing of sailing away and describing a series of shores and locations around the globe. Anywhere from Tripoli to Peru are covered here. The Orinoco River is located in South America and seems to be what Enya is referring to but to complicate matters she recorded her album in Orinoco Studios. She also makes reference in the song to Rob Dickins, executive producer, on her album who takes the role of steering the ship in the song. This could be a standard journey around the world, a means of escape, but it could also serve as an extended metaphor of Enya’s fledgling career and the desire for her to reach all corners of the globe with her music. 

When you listen to Orinoco Flow you can be forgiven for thinking you have never heard anything quite like it. There is something ethereal about the way the music plays and how Enya’s vocals are carried along as if on an ocean breeze themselves. It’s more ambiguous than I always believed but proved to be a huge success for the Irish singer. Today she is Ireland’s best selling solo artist and sits second behind U2 as the most successful export from the country. Sail away indeed, Enya.


Favourite songs so far:

The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)

Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)

The Doors – The End (1967)

The Beatles – A Day in the Life (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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