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!
Kanye West – Through the Wire (2003)
” Through the Wire” is the debut single by American rapper Kanye West. Anthony West helped write and record the song with his jaw wired shut after a car accident in October 2002. The song samples Chaka Khan’s 1985 single ” Through the Fire” and was released on the last day of September 2003 as the lead single from his debut album The College Dropout (2004).
We’re staying in the US today, dear reader, but leaving El Paso, Texas, and making our way to Atlanta, Georgia. Kanye West began his music career as a producer before deciding he wanted to record music of his own. He began working on his debut album, The College Dropout, in 1999 but when we join him in 2003 recording is still ongoing but West’s debut single, Through the Wire, has been released.
Through the Wire took inspiration from a life changing moment in Kanye West’s life. On 23 October 2002, West was driving home in the early hours of the morning when he was in a terrible car accident. His injuries required reconstructive facial surgery and his jaw was wired to his face. Two weeks after going to hospital, West recorded this song with the wire still in place! The lyrics make reference to West’s experience, his recovery from his accident and the determination he feels deep within to pursue his music career and to succeed no matter how hard the journey seemingly is.
I have heard of Kanye West but am not very knowledgeable about his music. The background to his debut single is fascinating and I had never come across this story of the near fatal car crash that proved so crucial at the outset of his career. Through the Wire proved successful upon release and the following year, West’s debut album was released to critical acclaim. His career has gone from strength to strength in both music and fashion circles though media attention is often plentiful with West’s outspoken views sometimes courting controversy.
Favourite songs so far: