List Item: Listen to the 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die
What a short year! One more like this and then it’s all going to have to be split posts.
Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On – Jerry Lee Lewis
The first of two Jerry Lee Lewis tracks in a rather short year. We are still in the throes of rockabilly, but that is undoubtedly a boogie woogie piano line going on in the background. As 1950s go this is a bit more on the risqué side. Compared to Elvis he does not have the distinctive vocals, but they’re a lot cleaner and have a lot more energy.
That’ll Be the Day – Buddy Holly & The Crickets
This is the only song that I know by Buddy Holly. Since we are less than two years from the famous ‘The Day That Music Died’ plane crash the title feels oddly ominous. There’s not much to say about this song. Compared to the previous song it actually feels dated.
Little Darlin’ – The Diamonds
First thing to say, goddamn this song puts a smile on your face. These first three songs are all examples of the branches that rock and roll had taken by 1957. This song, a cover from an original by The Gladiolas, is far more on the doo wop side. Doo wop, yet painfully white. Interesting thing to note is the lack of drums (because it was 4am and the drummer had gone home), instead there are castanets and, I think, a cow bell.
Weird thing of note, the spoken word bridge inspired ‘Monster Mash’.
Great Balls of Fire – Jerry Lee Lewis
Not even two minutes long. That’s incredibly strange to note. In fact a lot of the songs that we have coming up are in the 2-3 minute mark. This song feels like a distillation of ‘Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On’ to the point that it just oozes sex. It makes you wonder what music would have been like if we had gone down the more piano driven rock of Jerry Lee Lewis rather than the guitar-driven rock of Elvis.
When I Fall in Love – Nat King Cole
Hands up time. I knew the Celine Dion version of this first, by about 20 years. What can I say – my music taste was very gay back then. It’s not totally straight now, but it’s more bi-curious.
Anyway, don’t listen to the Celine Dion and Clive Griffin version. This works so much better as a solo song (even if the strings are a bit much). Also, you don’t have Cliff Griffin going over the top in his delivery towards the end… despite having a rather weak voice.
Nat King Cole, for me, is Christmas. So hearing other songs from his repertoire is an eye opener. I half-expected ‘The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot’ to be following on from this to be honest.
You Send Me – Sam Cooke
Doing this list, I have begun to notice sea changes. Tracks like ‘Rum and Coca Cola’ stand out because they are different to anything else on the list. ‘You Send Me’ feels like a progression towards something different rather than a development of an established genre.
I like Sam Cooke. I even did a review of Live At The Harlem Square Club, 1963 for a university newsource as a part of ‘Have You Heard…’ section. This is the start of soul. By the time we finish this song list we will have reached the neo soul stylings of Erykah Badu and we’re going to be picking up funk and disco along the way. What a journey it’s going to be.