THE 1000 BEST SONGS IN THE WORLD EVER.
323-Leftfield featuring John Lydon-Open Up.
1993-Number 13 single.
Best Bit-At 0.15. When two of Electronic Dance Music’s most innovative artists team up with a ‘National Treasure’ there is a fairly good chance of something special occurring.
Leftfield were formed in London, England, in 1989 by Neil Barnes, and Paul Daley, they are considered to be very influential in the evolution of Electronic Dance Music in the early 1990’s. In 1992 in a review in the ‘Mixmag’ music magazine the writer described their sound as ‘Progressive House,’ thus defining a new genre of music. The word ‘Progressive’ had previously appeared in music in the mid 1960’s, when used to describe artists who were creative with Rock Music.
Prior to forming Leftfield Neil Barnes had been playing percussion as a session musician, but after being inspired by the music of Afrika Bambaataa (see also best songs 716) he decided to have a go at producing Electronic Dance Music, resulting in the first two singles,’Not Forgotten,’ and ‘More Than I Know,’ being released under the ‘Leftfield’ name. For the remixes of the tracks Barnes brought in Paul Daley who was the percussion player with the Dance act ‘A Man Called Adam,’ on realising they had a lot in common they joined forces to become ‘Leftfield.’ The duo were active until 2002, but in 2010 Barnes revived Leftfield, with Daley declining to get involved. Since then Barnes has toured and recorded under the name Leftfield with other artists. Leftfield have recorded three studio Albums between 1995-2015, and 16 singles have been issued, six of which have reached the UK top 40.
‘Open Up’ was one of Leftfield’s earlier recordings added to the duo’s debut studio Album ‘Leftism’ released in 1995 to critical acclaim. Leftfield invited guest vocalists to perform on their songs, and had been waiting for something suitable for John Lydon to sing on (see also best songs 967-576-92 and 27.) Barnes said,’We had to do something that warranted getting John in. We were terrified that we’d do something second rate. We worked on the bass line until we got it right, spinning in records endlessly, trying different breaks to get the right feel for it. John Lydon has said,’They brought me over to the studio one night, and I more or less just free-formed it. I’ve been running the ideas for my mind almost constantly, so it was all just waiting for the pen to hit the page.’
‘Open Up’ included the line ‘burn Hollywood burn,’ Lydon has said that the song was partly about him not being given a part in a movie, but it was only ‘Some of it.’ ‘Open Up’ is probably a scathing attack on all the opulent excesses, and fake lifestyles of the people who attempt to live the Hollywood ‘dream.’
‘Lose myself inside your schemes, go for money honey, not the screen, be a movie star, blah blah blah, go the whole hog, be bigger than god.’