30-day Musical Challenge: Day 1

I’m just finishing a 30-Day Musical Challenge in a Facebook group, and it was such fun I’ve pinched it for the Spill.

The rules are simple: Each day I’ll post a criteria and you post ONE song, along with a wee explanation and link if possible. Comment/banter via replies.

No song can appear more than once in the month, and only one song per day per person. If you miss a day, feel free to catch up. Penalty points for skipping hard topics or trying to look cool.

I’m going to set topics to autopost for the next day at 10 p.m. UK time. Day 1 will be April 1. The topic is your favorite song.

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172 thoughts on “30-day Musical Challenge: Day 1

  1. Talk Talk – I Believe In You

    Sad & honest lyrics; hope in the title, musically original, timeless & immediate.

    Don’t think I will change my mind tomorrow.

    • Shoey,

      That is the one song I normally cite as the “best” one EVER, but I felt that “favourite” merited the UFO mention, particularly as I’m feeling very passive/aggressive defensive of heavy rock at the moment!

  2. My justification is just that it is the greatest song ever. It has that fantastic intro and the words are the best that Dylan ever wrote, plus it is the song that really signalled Dylan had finally given up folk (except, of course, he hadn’t) but he wound up the boring traditionalists.

    It is the song that changed the game.

  3. Easy – The Clash – Complete Control – I first heard it quite late (1985) but I’ve never got bored with it since. It’s a great song until halfway through (Starting with the “I don’t trust you” bit) at which point it becomes my favourite song ever. There are stories that Lee Perry did a really heavy dub mix at the time and the band considered releasing that instead . I’m glad they didn’t (any chance of it ever being released from the vaults though?Just curious…).
    Much has been said about the lyrics (which to be fair aren’t The Clash’s best ever). The Clash moaning about their record company was seen as a bit trivial and self-absorbed for a band who were supposed to be political. In it’s own way though I think this is their most political record ever – would be rebel rockers recognising that they are completely compromised by having signed a contract.
    I’m not sure if favourite record and favourite song are exactly the same thing of course, but I’m sticking with this choice.
    I haven’t posted a link (can if you want though) – surely most people on here know this record?

    • THE BEST BAND IN THE WORLD!!! My crush on Mr Steenbeck grew when he yelled that in a bar when the Clash came on the radio. This is a good one.Rudie Can’t Fail was one of the first songs I thought of when Tin posed this question.

    • Only Perry connection I know of (apart from producing original Police & Thieves), is that he introduced them to Marley & that’s how The Clash get namechecked on Punky Reggae Party

      Goneforeign may know more. Really wish it existed.

      • Lee Perry in fact produced Complete Control – a bit of a coup for The Clash at the time. Debate seems to go on about how active a part he took, and it has been reported that Mick Jones turned the guitar track up later. Members of The Clash claim there was the seperate heavy dub version as well that never seems to have surfaced.

  4. @amylee – Have you heard this? I have to admit the intro isn’t a patch on the Stones but otherwise I really like this version….feel free to disagree completely

    • I like it ok, and would probably have liked it a lot better if i didn’t already know the original! Even the Stones themselves never bettered the original with Merry Clayton. (At least from the live versions that i’ve heard). And of course there is the Altamont history to back it up as maybe one of the most chilling songs ever. I take it as an anti-war song, although reading that bit from an interview about Keith’s book, that didn’t seem to be the original intent.

    • I should say that i’m waiting with extreme trepidation for someone from American Idol or X Factor to take a stab at it. Adam Lambert could have possibly pulled it off though.

      • “i’m waiting with extreme trepidation for someone from American Idol or X Factor to take a stab at it. ”

        There is probably some equation formulated by Stephen Hawking or whoever that proves that this will inevitably happen.
        Happily for me I think Complete Control is immune from the Idol/X Factor treatment for reasons both musical and lyrical.

      • Don’t be so sure. I heard the strains of Train in Vain on Dancing with the Stars the other night (from the safety of the kitchen).

  5. I’m in the John Peel camp on this one; Teenage Kicks by The Undertones. Curiously, I never had a lot of time for their other stuff but this one is one I just can’t stop listening to.

    • Ha ha!! My five and eight year old teenagers liked that song so much they got mad at me when it was over!! Have you heard the Nouvelle Vague cover? It’s appealing, but I like the original better. Good choice, Maki.

    • The ‘Spill never ceases to amaze me. I always enjoy reading what others post here and I’m fascinated by hearing what it is that makes people like a particular song or artist. I love the genuine enthusiasm that shines through when someone waxes lyrical about a piece of music. But although we clearly all share a bond which could be described in its simplest form as a love of music (but it’s really something far more complex than that) I find it hard to imagine a bunch people who I have less in common with when it comes to music! I’ve just been reading the comments here and I got down as far as maki’s post before coming across a song that I would actually give precious air time to!

      Goes to show something, I guess ….

  6. More or less unanswerable question, but since I want to play I’m going to have to pick one more or less at random… Bob Dylan, Blind Willie McTell.

    • It now occurs to me that I can’t play because we’ll be off to the continent in just over a week, and I’ll have virtually no email access until the end of April. Drat. I could have spared myself all that agonising.

    • As I think Ernie once said on Sesame Street, that’s Lilting and Lovely !

      (This comment was brought to you by the letter “L”).

  7. Sounds like another winner from the TinMan, OK, here’s mine for today though it could run forever.
    One Love by Bob Marley and the Wailers.

  8. PIXIES – Nimrod’s Son

    I stumbled into them supporting Throwing Muses during their first ever uk gig… a friend sent me a copy of the purple tape from her work experience job.. I had their first release (the mini album – come on pilgrim) on the day of release (a train journey to London to pick it up) I had the house to myself in the middle of the farm to play it through… and my parents returned as the music goes silent and he screams “you are the son of a muthafucker”
    The song itself is relentless in it’s energy until -
    STOP. catch breath – GO AGAIN..
    like a runaway train having huge boulders placed in it’s path at irregular intervals.. LOUD quiet LOUD created to perfection.

    been nosing at your answers on Facebook, tinny – (but never thought about my answers) – so this should be fun.

  9. Ok – to spare myself agonising ‘ cause there’s a billion or two ain’t it I’ll go with the one that will always be Mrs. Fintan’s Ringtone. Cinnamon Girl- Neil Young. Poere chord heaven with a personal connection. Hard to beat. Also possible this is my fav album cover.

    • Cinnamon Girl is one of those images (Neil Young does this very well!) that you understand perfectly the instant you hear it, even though it’s sort of strange when you think about it. I love this one too!!

  10. Interesting project. I’m siding with Abahachi on this one though, there’s no way I can be fair to myself or the music I like by singling just one out. But I can try.

    Funkadelic – Maggot Brain. (If I may, the live version that appears as an addendum in “One Nation Under A Groove”. Not saying that Mike Hampton is beating Eddie Hazel at his own game here. He just squeezes 10 glorious minutes into less than 7, and by doing so, proves that there’s something above perfection).

    The part after the whistle, and before the solo stops to catch its breath, it’s the most breathtakingly beautiful, emotionally intense music I’ve ever heard.

    • I love this one, too! For some reason this was surprising as a Lambre favorite song. Maybe because you don’t nominate it every single week on RR. I think this one might be one of those group afaseraes.

      • @steen: Amylee is correct (songs about Nature… a fact that should dispel any notion of RR making any sense once and for all. It’s just a solo. Or a song about life affirmation. Or about death. A song about nature my ass…) Anyway, I think it’s cool we can still surprise one another around here!

        In music (and much more after the Internet came along) I go for width before depth. There’s an awful lot of bands and artists I’m know only a couple of songs from. But they cover a very wide part of the spectrum (or that’s what I like to believe, at least) I can’t honestly tell you what is my favourite style of music is, let alone a single act.. Just a song is, well.. an idea funny to think about, but whoever has a favourite song, he or she really needs to listen to a lot more stuff.

  11. @wyngatecarpenter – I love that Complete Control’s your favourite. It was mine through my early teens so I always associate it with this sort of list-making exercise (and still love it, of course)

    • Thanks,I usually take great pleasure in being obscure but I guess Complete Control would be up there for a lot of people. I remember Harry Enfield naming it as his favourite ever record once!

  12. Wade In The Water – Ramsey Lewis

    I have a soft spot for the piano and play a little. This is brilliant enough to be beyond me, but the feeling and the groove is to the fore at all times. Fantastic handclaps; horns that kick the tune off, interject, punctuate, and build up a barrel-rolling, preaching, crescendo.

    If this tune once echoed across the plantations to warn people on the run that the slave-owners dogs were after them, to wade in the water and lose the scent, then this version is a worthy descendant.

    Sorry, got a bit purple prose-ish there…

  13. Just can’t do this. I don’t have a favourite song. It’s like Desert Island Discs and I’ve never been able to narrow that down to less than 100 either.

    • Also, if ‘no song can appear once in a month’ – maybe I can keep track of my own songs, but for everybody? Won’t we be needing a Miniconium?

      • If you like deb. Ppl might like to have a list at the end – I dunno.

        If time is limited I’d rather you spend it catching up on days you couldn’t get on to post though. I know I’m not the only one interested in your choices.

      • I think we’ll probably have to rely on other people saying “no, you can’t have that, I chose that on April 17th”. Let’s hope that ToffeeBoy is right about the diversity of our tastes.

  14. Dunno if it has been said, but if you are posting a tune please put the Day, number & topic so it will be easier for everyone to follow the thread.

    Hope this helps

  15. Ok before I change my mind again I’ll go for REM ‘Hairshirt’. No link to be had though – so any chance of somewhere to drop?

    • I love this answer, because I doubt Hairshirt would even make my top 30 REM songs – but I will now listen to it afresh.

      Isn’t the world incorrigably plural? Isn’t music wonderful?

  16. The best I can do is my favourite song this week:

    Woman, When I’ve raised Hell – Josh T. Pearson

    It’s from his first solo album “Last of the Country Gentlemen” and, although comparisons are odious, it lies somewhere between Townes Van Zandt and Dylan’s “Blood on theTracks”. It has the added bonus of Warren Ellis on violin.

    He’s the anguished, tortured, alcoholic son of a preacherman. I’ve seen him around at festivals and his drinking levels are awesome (he’s been seen removing his hat to be sick in it) but he has the sweetest voice.

    Woman when I’ve raised hell, you of all people are gonna know it
    There’ll be nothing not left nailed down left unturned in this house
    Then you old friend silence will creep back into this pettiest of all places
    He’ll ask you again “Which is better or worse, livin’ with me or livin’ with all my ghosts?”

    • I like this one too. Got it on a freebie CD with the Word magazine last month. (Or was it Uncut? One of those anyway!) Some surprisingly great stuff, inc. Nathaniel Rateliff’s “Once in a Great While” and a rollicking track from Michael McDermott entitled “The American in Me”, which is rather fab.

  17. Tinny: Still not totally clear on the concept, what do we finish up with? A huge list? lots of lists? Will there be 30 category’s? How do we navigate it all?

    • There will be a fresh post every day. Next one due at 11:59 p.m. tonight for Day 2/April 2. CHANGED TO 10 P.M.

      So each day/topic will have its own set of comments.

      Each day’s post will be tagged 30-Day Music Challenge so you can easily search for previous days.

  18. Chris still hasn’t stopped by to post his favorite tune? I have a good memory, i’d lay a wager on what it is.

    • Thank you for noticing, amy, and for getting the message I’ve been emitting very subtly these past few years, bishbosh….
      Truth is, I don’t have a favourite song either. It depends on my mood, what I’ve heard recently, etc. And with Dead songs it can boil down to a particular version played only once.
      But, if there’s a wager involved, I’ll plump for Stella Blue. When played well, its sad beauty was very special. Garcia loved a sad song and Hunter’s words seemed to come from Garcia’s soul, somehow. Particularly in the bridge:
      I’ve stayed in every blue light cheap hotel
      Can’t win for trying
      Dust off those rusty strings just one more time
      Gonna make them shine

      • Very pleasant dond for Stella Blue. Jerry & the boys always seemed to know when the crowd needed a bit of soulful soothing & that one worked wonders on the collective psyche.

    • I haven’t heard that in years, and it’s never sounded better. I remember thinking it was a bit dirge-like at the time, which now seems absurd. Need to go and find some speakers that will do it justice…

  19. Pingback: 30-day Musical Challenge: Day 2 « The 'Spill

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  21. Drat! RTJ made me do it!! (join in here, that is.)

    This is not my favourite song ever. Such a thing does not exist. But, taking my cue from DsD, I will say Bon Jovi’s Let it Rock as it was the first time I heard Metallic guitars at a tender age and I was stunned and amazed and have been in love (and thrall) to such guitars ever since!

  22. I’ll never keep up with this, but I’ll tie a knot in my finger as a reminder…

    The Byrds’ “Eight Miles High” taught me everything about song dynamics. And for some reason my tiny mind still gets warped by the line about “round the squares…” every time I hear it.

    Q: If we can’t repeat any already cited song over 31 days, where’s our Marconium?

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  26. Le Depart Pour Les Etats by Garolou – can’t find a Youtube but if there’s a box for it, I’ll drop it in. I love this song for the story it tells – the exodus of French Acadians to America rather take a loyalty oath to the British Crown. And I love the music – the changing tempos and the brilliant way violin and guitar solos flow into each other.

  27. Pingback: 30-day Musical Challenge: Day 8 « The 'Spill

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  29. Obviously it is close to impossible to pick just one song as a favourite but today it would be Sister Ray by The Velvet Underground. They are my favourite band and this “song” is still totally unique. As close to a masterpiece as any “pop” song.

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