List Item: Listen to the 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die
And so we finish out another year with this third and final look at the songs from 1967 that feature in the 1001 book.
Montague Terrace (In Blue) – Scott Walker
Right, so a minute in and this song just explodes. This song is a bit heavy on the tingly chimes (in a weird way) and thick on the strings (in a good way), which just builds up to the big overblown chorus.
He doesn’t quite have the voice that would work for this. Now Jacques Brel, an influence of both this song and Scott Walker in general, probably would have.
So essentially we have a song that is seeing the chanson tradition through the lens of blues and pop. Interesting.
A Day in the Life – The Beatles
Okay so this is my mum’s favourite Beatles song. It’s yet another one of those songs that shows just how far ahead of their time The Beatles actually were.
There is a reason that I listen to these songs again even if I have done the album before – listening to a song in isolation is a different experience than as part of an album. I mean, I completely missed ‘Eleanor Rigby’ as it just got swallowed up by the rest of the album. Same goes for ‘A Day In The Life’.
It’s the closer for Sgt Pepper and so is the closing track on what is widely seen as one of the best albums of all time.
Is it a good song? In isolation it is and it means I am going to have to listen to the album properly again. It’s a prime example of Lennon-McCartney working well together and actually just how they were beginning to properly diverge.
Alone Again Or – Love
I still maintain that I know this song from somewhere else and I can not put my finger on it.
Listening to this properly outside of the rest of the album that follows it I really do appreciate that weird mariachi sound that they incorperated into this song.
It’s one of those songs that is the coming together of the 1960s musical trends of folk rock and baroque pop. My husband thinks it pales in comparison to the previous song… but I prefer this.
Tin Solder – The Small Faces
Interesting vocals on this song. Not only are they overpowered by the rock, but the mix of the voices sound like they had been poorly filtered.
I guess it makes sense in the way since this is a song that is experimenting with, what would become, heavy rock. Still though, sounded like there was somg gurling going on.
It’s a sweet song from the idea that it was written to impress a girl (who the writer would later marry), but on the whole it was a bit off.
See Emily Play – Pink Floyd
Beatles? Is that you? Seriously though, this sounds a lot like a song that the Beatles would have made.
This was released in the UK as a single, but in the US they got this on a re-issue of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.
It’s an okay song, but right now it doesn’t feel like anything we haven’t heard before. It’s a well done example of a Beatle’s influenced song, but I think this is on here to signal the beginnings of, what would become, one of the big UK acts.
A Whiter Shade of Pale – Procol Harum
Yet another one of the extremely famous songs from 1967. Maybe, not anymore, as widely known as ‘Respect’, but still a most famous song from this year.
I mean how many songs can have a title that has entered common parlence than this one? It’s one of those nice phrases (like Watergate) that journalists cannot resist taking for a subheader.
When this is not the best and most recognised song in a year, you know it’s a good one.
The Tears of a Clown – Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
Okay so the opening of this song is one that should be recognised by anyone who has listened to Heart FM. It’s like circus music and I think that’s the point.
It’s a great example of where pop and soul could meet in the world of Motown, even if it did take too long for me to cotton on that, yes, this was a man singing.
Sunshine of Your Love – Cream
There are many times where my album and song lists cross paths. This is, however, one of the first times that I have listened to the song without first crossing off the album. The other being Jefferson Airplane’s album Surrealistic Pillow.
When compared to ‘Tin Soldier’ this is a better executed example of an early hard rock song.
That guitar riff is so recognisable and very much like the sort you would have heard from Jimi Hendrix at the time.
Makes me wonder what the rest of the album is like.
Cold Sweat – James Brown & The Famous Flames
Thanks to many years of watching Saturday Night Live I cannot start listening to a funk song without Kenan Thompson strolling into my brain and doing his ‘What’s Up With That’ sketch.
This is one of the first example of funk songs and it’s profoundly dull. Just listening to it whilst sat on a sofa there isn’t that much to it. There is only one change and we just have James Brown grunting as he signals each member of his band to do a solo.
Seriously, Kenan and the rest of Saturday Night Live got this spot on.
The First Cut Is the Deepest – P.P. Arnold
There are many cover versions of this song. The first version I heard of this was by Sheryl Crow. I have also heard versions by both Cat Stevens and Rod Stewart.
This is my least favourite version. With the harp and the higher register occupied by P.P. Arnold it just feels a little bit twee.
I get that she had been through things with her husband that would make this song resonate with her, but at 21 (in 1967) she feels a bit young to be singing a song like this. Or maybe that’s just me?