Tag Archives: Jacques Brel

1001 Songs Challenge: Day Seventeen

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The 1960s had some amazing tunes. It’s when rock and roll really started to take shape, and funk slowly started to come about. In retrospect, it was an inspired time for music. During Day Seventeen’s playlist, I continually found myself listening with more and more enjoyment than ever.

 

1. You Really Got Me – The Kinks

This is the song that seemed to launch 1000 ships, with its legendary power chord and gritty style, it was a sleeper hit; no one could have seen it coming. I love how there is a blues-influence, along with a totally original, distorted sound via the guitar.

2. The House of The Rising Sun – The Animals

An old American folk song, The Animals took this song and made it their own, putting themselves and the song on the map. Personally, this is a favorite of mine, because it’s such a haunting track. It’s the type of song and slow, drawling melody and tone that you cannot get it out of your head. Incorporated with such a smooth blues style, and everything about it screams, “NUMBER ONE HIT.”

3. Go ‘Way From My Window – John Jacob Niles

Vocally, John Jacob Niles is impressive. The fact that he can go from haunting, deep, dark vocals to high, energetic falsetto is a feat all on its own. However, I will own up to the fact that this song freaks me out and is not my cup of tea. Whether or not it just reminds me of something from a horror film, I don’t know. All I know is that when John Jacob Niles popped up on my screen, and his voice filled my speakers, I admit to being a little spooked.

4. Amsterdam – Jacques Brel

Here’s another dark, brooding type of song. Something about it is very eery, and if you watch the performance, it’s easy to feel a little terrified, especially as the song’s pace picks up, accompanied by the frighteningly aggressive accordion. What’s more, the artist disappears at the end of the song, in a wave of theatrics that both delights and terrifies.

5. La paloma – Caterina Valente

Beautifully expansive, embracing all sorts of instrumentals to form a melody that will send shivers up your spine. Caterina Valente’s vocals shine, flowing beautifully without a hitch. Perfection like this is hard to come across unless it’s been doctored by today’s typical studio software.

6. Sinnerman – Nina Simone

An opus of sorts (it’s just over ten minutes long), Nina Simone gives this song a life all of its own, making it strong, but maintaining it’s spiritual beginnings. She was involved in the Civil Rights Movement, and performed this at the end of her shows, which is easy to understand; the emotion she puts behind each “Power!” she cries is more than heard; it is felt. Musically, this song stands alone as a triumph, instrumentals accompanied by rapid clapping, breathing pure character into the track as it builds.

7. The Irish Rover – The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem

I’ll own up: this song made me giggle. As someone who has grown up hearing folk songs from all over, including Ireland, this was so familiar and wonderful, and each line was filled with humor, I couldn’t help but laugh. It’s such a great, early comedy song. I recommend this if you’re having a downer of a day.

8. Needle of Death- Bert Jansch

Of course, every playlist must contain a sad song or two, and this is by far the saddest. A beautiful expression of loss, Bert Jansch’s voice shines on this track, accompanied by the light strumming/plucking of an acoustic guitar, there is something so powerful and moving about this simple song.

9. Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag – James Brown

It’s impossible to dislike this song. I love how catchy it is; it so original and just a purely funk song. I will always remember the first time I heard this song: I was five years old and watching Mrs. Doubtfire for the first time (the scene where Robin Williams, as Mrs. Doubtfire, walks across the San Fran streets, on his way to work for Sally Field’s Mrs. Hillard).

10. La Boheme – Charles Aznavour

Now this man had a gorgeous, classical voice. From the opening notes, he delivers each word with every bit of feeling he seems to be able to muster, and it’s striking. Everything about this song is memorable.

 

…And so concludes Day Seventeen. I found today to be a perfect collection of songs; a great mix of tracks I knew and loved to sing along to, and songs that were entirely new to me. If today is any indication of how the next few are going to flow, I am more than excited to listen!

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1001 Songs Challenge: Day 11 (FINALLY BACK ON TRACK)

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First of all, let me apologize for my lack of updates. I have been ridiculously busy and had no time. The good news is, you’re in for a treat! I have tons of pictures to share from the Taking Back Sunday, The Used, Tonight Alive, and Sleepwave show the other night. But for now, onto the classics!

Day Eleven was one I was dreading. My first day back after a few days off, and I was convinced I was going to hit a roadblock and not want to listen at all. I am very pleased to report that I was wrong.

 

1. One For My Baby (and One More For The Road) – Frank Sinatra

Ahh, Sinatra; the good stuff. You want to hear a true classic, you let Sinatra’s voice fill your room. If you say you don’t want to dance or sing, you’re a dirty liar. This track was his breakthrough from teen sensation to icon, and it is fabulous. There is so much conviction and emotion behind Sinatra’s voice, that it is a truly memorable song.

2. Le poinçonneur des Lilas – Serge Gainsbourg

The piano melody featured is familiar, but I am almost positive I’ve never heard the actual song before. I found myself enjoying it, especially because it produced a feeling of nostalgia in me; I felt like I was back in French class while my teacher tried to “immerse” us in French culture. Serge Gainsbourg’s rapid French only adds to the song’s charm, surprisingly.

3. Nel blu dipinto di blu – Domenico Modugno

This is a beautiful song, and I remember loving it as a kid. Mind you, I was used to a cover with a more rapid pace, but I think that has helped me fall in love with the original. A perfect Italian track!

4. All I Have To Do Is Dream – The Everly Brothers

I actually like this song. I think it’s a sweet love song, with a memorable sound that is indicative of the culture shift in the US during the 1950s; a very mellow/rock and roll sound had developed, and it was becoming more and more popular…the innocence is also there, “Gee wiz,” as a lyric is a sign of that (“Gee wilickers, Wally!”).

5. To Know Him Is To Love Him – The Teddy Bears

There is a reason this song has remained a classic all of these years: it’s sweet, melodic, and relatable. Unrequited love will always be around, and there will be many more people to sing about it, even if they don’t carry off the perfect vocal harmonies featured here.

6. Brand New Cadillac – Vince Taylor & His Playboys

The opening guitar of this track is iconic, and probably what sets it apart from the rest. There is a true rock and roll feel to this song, especially with the bluesy, “Baby, baby, baby”s thrown in. What a shame Vince Taylor kind of lost the plot towards the end.

7. What I’d Say (Parts 1 & 2) – Ray Charles

You may recognize this song on sound, especially during the opening notes. Ray Charles was an amazing piano player, as well as a talented vocalist, and Parts 1 & 2 of this song showcase that wonderfully.

8. I Only Have Eyes For You – The Flamingos

I’ve never been huge on this song, though that could be due to the fact that it’s been used in far too many annoying ads in the last few years. No matter what circumstances I hear it in now, I’ll never fully appreciate it, thanks to advertisements.

9. Ne me quitte pas – Jacques Brel

There is a definite sadness and desperation in this song, in which Jacques is literally pleading, “Don’t leave!” With the heart wrenching piano melody accompanying his solid, emotional vocals, no one can resist the impeccable song.

10. Shout (Parts 1 & 2) – The Isley Brothers

Completely classic. Most of us will recognize this as the track you would hear at every single wedding ever.

 

Overall, Day Eleven felt good, because I felt odd after not listening to ten classics a day for a few days. I enjoyed the mix of jazzier tracks and classic rock and roll. Each track was enjoyable, and most were recognizable. As I’ve said before, I really enjoy hearing the progression of each genre, and the development of artists.

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