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!
Pearl Jam – Given to Fly (1997)
” Given to Fly” is a song by the American rock band Pearl Jam. Featuring lyrics written by vocalist Eddie Vedder and music written by guitarist Mike McCready, “Given to Fly” was released to radio on December 22, 1997, as the first single from the band’s fifth studio album, (1998).
We’re leaving the UK, dear reader, and making our way back to the US and to Seattle in the state of Washington. Formed in 1990, Pearl Jam formed a quartet of significant bands that spearheaded the grunge scene, alongside Nirvana, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains. Led by the enigmatic Eddie Vedder you could probably rank them second only to Nirvana when it came to grunge though fans of this music will inevitably argue the case for each of these four and others. Anyway, we join Pearl Jam in 1997 with the release of their fifth album – Yield – and from there 1001 Songs have lifted the track, Given to Fly.
The lyrics to Given to Fly were written by Eddie Vedder and the song seems to be about a transition of sorts. The narrator sings of being suppressed and constrained in the opening verse, so much that they flee a long distance until they reach the ocean. It seems the road ends here but then the narrator is given a pair of wings and they can elevate themselves to the heavens where they feel liberated at last. In the second verse, the narrator descends back to the ground for they wish to share their freedom and good fortune with others. They are strong now, not so easily beaten back and downtrodden by life’s challenges, a free spirit you might say.
I do like grunge but for some reason I have never delved deep into the work of Pearl Jam or Alice in Chains. Nirvana and Soundgarden I am better versed in. I do want to learn more about Pearl Jam though and based on the handful of songs I have heard and now Given to Fly I may even consider a blog challenge to sample their discography.
Favourite songs so far: