1001 Songs Challenge,  1990s,  Music

1001 Songs Challenge #727: Painkiller (1990)

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…


Judas Priest – Painkiller (1990)

Painkiller (Judas Priest song)

” Painkiller” is the opening song on British heavy metal band Judas Priest’s 1990 album, Painkiller , and was released as its first single later that year. The lyrics tell the story of the Painkiller, the character featured on the cover of the album, who is a cyborg superhero who saves mankind from destruction.


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


Welcome to 1990, dear reader. A whole new decade for us to enjoy. We are leaving the US and are back in the UK today. To Birmingham we are heading and a spot of heavy metal. Formed in 1969 Judas Priest began slowly before mainstream success came along at the end of the 1970s and into the 1980s. We join them in 1990 though with the release of their twelfth album, Painkiller, and 1001 Songs have gone with the title track. 

Painkiller chronicles an imagined being known as the Painkiller. This half man half machine sounds as if he is riding a motorbike but rather than making do with roads, he seems to be traversing the universe and speeding past the very stars themselves. Well, it certainly sounds safer than the road! The Painkiller makes for our own planet where mankind sounds like they are in despair and devastation is all around. The Painkiller is the saviour of mankind who resurrects the dead and once they are breathing again he heads back into the stars. 

Painkiller opens with a frenetic piece of drumming before heavy guitars and high-pitched vocals take charge. It clocks in at around 6 minutes of frantic heavy metal and sounds great for a band more than 20 years into their career. Though the band’s most successful years are now behind them, they still conduct worldwide tours and have thousands of loyal fans flocking to their gigs.


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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