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…
Ash – Kung Fu (1995)
” Kung Fu” is a song by the band Ash, released as the first single from their album, . It was released in March 1995 as a CD single, limited edition 7″, and standard 7″ vinyl. The song was written by Tim Wheeler and produced by Owen Morris.
We’re leaving the US today, dear reader, and returning to the UK and to Northern Ireland. Ash were formed in 1989 when the members were not even teenagers, so they started pretty young! We join them in 1995 as they are working on their debut album, 1977, and before the release they issued a new single entitled, Kung Fu, and it has punched and kicked its way onto our 1001 Songs list.
In Kung Fu, singer Tim Wheeler references some memorable names from the fighting genre. Jackie Chan seems to be the main focus of attention but we also hear about Bruce Lee, Mr Miyagi and Daniel-san. Wax on, wax off, indeed. The track was apparently written in just 5 minutes on Boxing Day 1994 while Wheeler was waiting in an airport. It’s a celebration of all things kung fu and the narrator here simply cannot get enough of it.
Ash are another UK group that were around at the time of Britpop. 1977 was a big success upon release and although the group have endured some turbulent moments since, they continue to endure to this day. I was more familiar with Oh Yeah and Girl From Mars, but Kung Fu is frantic, fast-paced and action-packed, living up to its title as much as any Bruce Lee film.
Favourite songs so far: