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Liam

1,001 songs to listen to before you die...

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Ne Me Quitte Pas had to be in this, the lyrics are pretty spectacular and it really allowed French music to pass into a world where sensitivity for men was welcome.

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Love that Eddie Cochran is on here. He's brilliant, one of my favorites from that era (another that died tragically at a young age). 

Also, Blue Cheers cover of Summertime Blues is one of my favorite covers.

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Blue Cheer's Summertime Blues is superb, but I don't think I know a bad version of it. Guitar Wolf's is extraordinary.

love Jacques Brel, and as I get older prefer his versions to the Scott Walker interpretations that made me aware of him. Walker is one of my all-time favourites, but the arrangements are all too bombastic for Brel, who should feel slightly seedy and paranoid. Nina Simone's version of this song is wonderful, though.

Mack The Knife is a great tune, but the more I got into Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht, and into The Threepenny Opera, the weirder I find it that it became a finger-clicking swing standard. The Tiger Lillies do a good version that feels closer in spirit to the original, while maintaining most of the established English lyrics.

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I grew up knowing Summertime Blues as an Alan Jackson country song. It still blows my mind to hear it sung by rock groups.

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I think the first Summertime Blues I heard was the Who Live at Leeds cover. That's a nice one too.

And then there's the Beach Boys one which is the drizzling shits. So so so bad.

Eddie Cochran one is probably still my favourite all told.

Edited by metalman
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13 hours ago, How The Cloud Stole Christ said:

@Liam I'm having withdrawals here

I've been very busy but shall have some more up later today.

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112.      

‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’, Diahann Carroll and the Andre Previn Trio (1959)

Initially from the musical ‘Porgy and Bess’, the original version from the film that was released in 1959 saw Sammy Davis Jr. sing it, though without a release on the soundtrack CD due to contractual obligations. After the film’s release, Carroll and Previn returned to the song with a sparser, jazzier arrangement. Carroll has a sultriness to her voice that I really like, whilst the piano work is playfully working in the background to effectively accompany her vocal work. It starts to fall a little into the category of ‘pleasant enough’, though Carroll has a good enough voice to elevate it slightly beyond that.

113.      

‘Wondrous Place’, Billy Fury (1960)

Into the Sixties! This sounds like nothing I’ve heard yet, with a UK pop/rock and roll singer attempting to filter Elvis Presley’s vocal stylings through an echo chamber and creating something that is eminently catchy. It has more legs than most of the songs as it has – at least in the UK – maintained some traction due to its use in adverts and with various cover versions. The recording makes it feel otherworldly and adds another layer of interest to what is otherwise a good pop song. Fury liked the song so much, he recorded it four more times.

114.      

‘Save The Last Dance For Me’, The Drifters (1960)

A bittersweet song (the writer of the song had been left unable to walk without crutches, penning this song about his own inability to dance with his wife at their own wedding), the use of a Brazilian ‘baion’ beat and the amount of strings in the arrangement were considered novel for the time. Ben E. King really did take on board the narrative within the song and delivered a great vocal filled with frustration and yearning, whilst the melody provides a catchy rhythm whilst also allowing the lyrics room to breathe and be understood.

115.      

‘Chaje Shukarije’, Esma Redzepova (1960)

The perfect example of a song that I just don’t really get – lyrically, musically, societally – but just think is good fun. It isn’t surprising that a song by ‘The Queen of the Gypsies’ probably isn’t within my usual wheelhouse, but her success over the years at bringing Romany music to international audiences has been lauded. Hell, when you Youtube this song and see her still performing it live into the 2000s, you have to give her a lot of credit.

116.      

‘Oh Carolina’, The Folks Brothers (1960)

File this under the category of ‘original song to covers I should have realised were covers all along’, even if that is a little bit unwieldy. Apparently the first Prince Buster production and one of the first songs with a real Rastafarian flavour to it that made it big, it is an essential slice of pop that still earns a head nod and shuffle along even today. Probably why it was made into that cover that was clearly a cover all along you idiot.

117.      

‘The Click Song (Qongqothwane)’, Miriam Makeba (1960)

You might as well copy and paste the words under 115 as this pretty much has the same response from me. It is worlds away from anything I’d listen to normally, but it is a good song to listen to, mixing the percussion, vocals and clicking in a way that is catchy irrelevant of your musical sphere of interest. The click sound is supposed to mimic the sound of a dung beetle when it is preparing to mate as it bands its abdomen on the floor – the more you know. Similar to 115, this primarily gets into the book as it opened up the world to a new type of music that was out there. Can’t argue too much with that.

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The album that The Click Song is on is also in 1001 Albums to Listen to Before You Die so I listened to it in full a couple years ago. On top of that song, I'd wholeheartedly recommend listening to "One More Dance," which is a darkly funny song but is especially great because for whatever reason the dude she sings it as a duet with is cracking up the whole time.

I love "Wondrous Place." I'm sure I must have heard it before the book but listening to it for the purposes of reading the book really locked it in place as a good song. Like you said, I think the production is really what separates it from other good songs of its ilk.

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"It Ain't Necessarily So" has one of my favourite rhyming couplets ever, with "he made his home in/that fish's abdomen".

My Mum adored Billy Fury - the first time my parents went to Liverpool, she was insistent on getting a photo with the statue of him - but I've never really listened to him before. I like it!

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