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…
Body Count – Cop Killer (1992)
” Cop Killer” is a song composed by Ernie C with lyrics by Ice-T for American heavy metal band Body Count, of which they were both members. Released on Body Count’s 1992 self-titled debut album, the song was written two years earlier, and was partially influenced by ” Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads.
Welcome to 1992, dear reader. We’re staying in the US today and in California. Body Count were formed in 1990 and specialised in thrash metal and rap metal. Ice T who had started as a rapper fronted the band and indulged his love of metal at the same time. When we join the group in 1992 it is with their self-titled debut album and 1001 Songs have gone with the track – Cop Killer.
Cop Killer is very controversial and addresses the theme of vigilantes taking revenge against the police for their corruption and brutality that they subject people to. The song does not hold back with the narrator talking about heading out onto the streets, armed and ready, targeting any police officers that come into view and taking vengeance against them. The police brutality here is clearly the systemic racism that still poisons American society to this day and last year in particular led to such stories as the killing of George Floyd.
Body County began their career with a bang (no pun intended) and if you want to make a lot of noise then a controversial track won’t do any harm in enhancing your reputation. Cop Killer inevitably garnered a lot of attention and negative press. Ice T did defend the song as a protest track but ultimately he would withdraw it from the album after much pressure. Body County disbanded in 2006 but would reform in 2009 and continue to perform.
Favourite songs so far: