1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

Just another music list

Introduction

There’s a lot of them about – albums, songs, films, places, books, paintings, even golf holes. What am I talking about? Well, lists that’s what. Not only are there lots of lists out there, but there are a lot of lists that suggest (or perhaps command) you listen to, read, see or play 1,001 of the items listed. Why 1,001? Why not a straight 1,000, or if you’re feeling random 1,023 or 978. I guess it has something to do with the way ‘a thousand and one’ rolls off the tongue.

‘Why so many?’ you may well ask. My answer would be that for people who are fanatical about the things in question, 1,001 is probably not enough and this is borne out by the fact that the edition of the book 1,001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die, actually contains as an added bonus an ‘index’ style list of the 10,0001 song you must hear before you die (some of those listed there are included in my list)

A lot of lists exist as to the greatest songs of all times, most of them only giving 100 entries and invariably these lists tend to draw from the same pool of songs. By extending the list to 1,001 (or even 10,001) it opens one up to a lot more music that you had never heard before, and, if the list is any good, it will be quality music.

Over the next however long it takes me, I will be listing what I think are the 1,001 South African songs you must hear before you go deaf. Why? Because I want to. (You don’t have to read this, you know). And why ‘before you go deaf’ and not before you die? The answer to this is (a) to avoid any copyright issues and (b) we all know what makes you go deaf (no not that silly, it’s listening to your iPod too loud).

South Africa, the Rainbow Nation, has a rich diversity of people and with this comes a wide variety of styles of music. We have pop, rock, metal, kwaito, blues, Afrikana, reggae, umbaqanga, township jive, grunge, folk, zef and a host of other compartments to keep the pigeonholeologists in work for the next 1,001 years. The fact that often a song may straddle a number of different genre, brings further career opportunities to the aforementioned ologists.

I freely admit that the songs chosen to be on this list are (a) my opinion and (b) limited to what I have actually heard. I’ll be interested to hear what other people believe should be included in such a list, provided each suggestion is accompanied by a large sum of money in unmarked notes, and an even larger sum of money if any suggestions are made in an abusive manner. (Hey, I’ll have to pay a shrink to deal with people rejecting my opinions in favour of theirs).

There will be no particular order to the list as I haven’t actually finalised that yet, so I will just start with a few dead certs while pruning those 35 extra tracks that have made my 1,036 songs list so far. Another reason is I really can’t decide if David Kramer’s ‘Hak Hom Blokkies’ should be number 142 or 849, so decided to avoid tough choices altogether.

I don’t know how regularly I will update this blog, but aim to try and get a blurb about a new song up every week (I make no promises though).

- John Samson

8 thoughts on “Introduction

  1. Hey John

    Long time… I’d like you to please visit my website http://www.melgreensings.com
    where you can find my new CD “I’m Taking My Time” released last July, 2010… still fresh though. I’d appreciate any promo you might deem fit to spread.

    ANd for a bit of 60s nostalgia… the new, refurbished, updated site http://www.melmelandjulian.com (with music!)

    Ta’ a bunch.
    Mel Green

  2. Nice one John. I look forward to your reviews of Nkalakatha, Rabbit, and Black by nature.

  3. Mel Green on said:

    Great John,
    I am encouraged that you are emphasizing South African songs, especially when most of the songs we are almost forced to listen to, is not from South Africa… goodness knows there are many, many worthy songs and genres of music that put South Africa right up there with the best of them! Mel Green

  4. Simon Greaves on said:

    Hi John,

    I have just discovered your blog through a link from Karen Zoid’s website and I have enjoyed reading through the songs you have listed so far. I am looking forward to seeing what other songs and artists you will be adding to this list. If i could suggest a few songs for your list they would be, Maid in Africa by The Electric Petals, Blue Print Frown by Blue Chameleon and Katjiepiering Rock Chick or Winterskleed by Effenzef.

  5. Ian Knightley on said:

    Awesome site. Havent heard most of this music in ages. You absolutely rock.

  6. Julianna on said:

    What a great idea John. You may get me to start my blog about songs in America. I have a plan. Will discuss when I see you. Julianna

  7. The Mind Theatre, No Friends of Harry, The Gathering, Psycho Reptiles, Celtic Rumours, Blind, Ten Drops of Valium, Live Jimi Presley – YES PLEASE!

  8. I bookmarked your site a few months ago and only just now got around to really browsing through it, and I must say, to be completely honest, I was a bit confused and taken aback when I finally saw the songs you featured. I had been looking forward to browsing through your posts because I had assumed they were about “classic” South African music like mbaqanga, jive, kwela, etc., which I love and am always looking for new recommendations. But instead, 1001SASYMHBYGD turned out to mostly be about contemporary and rock/punk/indie South African groups. Ooops!

    Nothing wrong with that, but my question is: Do you plan to eventually feature more old-time (i.e. ’60s-’70s) mbaqanga-esque (and related indigenous South African genres) songs on your site — you just haven’t gotten around to them yet — or does the focus intend to always remain on rock/modern music? Just curious!

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