Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Sad songs- they still say so much

Sorry, I don't mean the Elton John song (it's really not a sad song or one of his best either). But there is something to be said for a good, sad tune. Entire genres of music have been built around this emotion: how could we have the blues, honky-tonk, emo or goth otherwise?

This thread started recently on a music list and one of the best responses was a DIY mixtape from Shorefire's Nick Bailey, who came up with:

Ralph Stanley "Rank Strangers To Me"
Bruce Springsteen "Highway Patrolman"
Johnny Cash "One"
Willie Nelson "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain"
Emmylou Harris "Wayfaring Stranger"
The The "Love Is Stronger Than Death"
Willie Nelson "Heartaches of A Fool"
Dolly Parton "Jolene"
B.B. King "How Blue Can You Get?"
The Allman Brothers "Dreams"
Doc Watson "St James' Hospital"
Kathleen Edwards "Copied Keys"
Michelle Shocked "The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore"
Doc Watson "Omie Wise"
Tony Rice "This Morning At Nine"
Waylon Jennings "Ride Me Down Easy"
Paul Simon "She Moves On"
Neil Young "Running Dry (Requiem For the Rockets)"

Of course, I couldn't help thinking of my own favorites (ably assisted by my boo) so...

Alice in Chains, almost anything from Dirt
Beck "Ramshackle," "Jackass" (both from Odelay)
Bobby Blue Bland "I Pity the Fool"
Blind Lemon Jefferson "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean" (and covers by Dylan, Dead, etc.)
Captain Beefheart "Love Lies" (from Shiny Beast)
Elvis Costello "When I Was Cruel," "Allison"
Everclear "My Sexual Life" (from Sparkle and Fade)
Girls Against Boys "Zodiac Love Team" (from House of GVSB)
The Feelies "What She Said" (from Time For A Witness)
Funkadelic "Maggot Brain" (RIP Eddie Hazel)
Marvin Gaye "Inner City Blues"
Al Green "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" (from Call Me, plus Hank's original of course)
The Grifters "Pretty Notes" (from Ain't My Lookout)
The Handsome Family, anything from The Last Days of Wonder
Hole "Doll Parts" (from Live Through This)
Elmore James "It Hurts Me Too"
Skip James "Devil Got My Woman" (basis of a great scene in the comic/film Ghost World)
Freedy Johnston "Responsible" (from Can You Fly)
The Kinks, most of Face to Face esp. "Sunny Afternoon" and "Too Much On My Mind"
Left Banke "Walk Away Renee"
Barbara Manning "Sympathy Wreath"
Thelonious Monk "'Round Midnight"
Willie Nelson "Jimmy's Road"
New Order "As It Is When It Was" (from Brotherhood)
The Platters "My Prayer," "Harbor Lights" "Only You"
Radiohead "Creep"
The Residents "Blue Rosebuds" (from Duck Stab/Buster & Glen)
Scarface "I Seen A Man Die"
Gil Scott-Heron "Winter in America"
Shangri-Las "Past Present and Future"
Peter Stampfel "Believe Me, If All These Endearing Charms" (from You Must Remember This)
Richard and Linda Thompson "Just the Motion" (from Shoot Out the Lights)
Tupac "Dear Mama"
Paul Westerberg "Good Day" (a favorite of Lucinda Williams too, from Eventually)
Jackie Wilson "Lonely Teardrops"
The Who "Tattoo" (from The Who Sells Out)
Lucinda Williams "Lonely Girls" (from Essence)
Wire "I Should Have Known Better" (from 154)
Robert Wyatt "Shipbuilding"

and my two favorites...
Macy Gray "I Try"
Irma Thomas "It's Raining"

Plus hundreds of others I can't remember right now.

So what's your favorite sad tune? I'll pick the winner and she or he will get a monogrammed handkerchief as a prize (offer not good in Africa, Asia, Australia, Central America, Europe, North America, South America or North Jersey).


Blogger george said...

Freda Payne, "Band of Gold": the great "Motown single" that wasn't!

8:29 PM  
Blogger Perfect Sound Forever said...

Silly of me, but I forget two of my other downcast favorites: Roy Orbison and Ray Charles ("Drown In My Own Tears," "Busted," "Born To Lose").

9:12 PM  
Anonymous James said...

There's probably dozens I can't think of right now. But two that come to mind are "Black and White" by the dB's, and "Twilight" by Elliott Smith. Songs don't get much sadder than those two.

10:20 PM  
Blogger The Truffle said...

Soul/R&B is full of heartbreakingly sad songs:

"Little Child Running Wild" by Curtis Mayfield
"Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer" by Stevie Wonder
"I'll Be Around" by the Spinners
"Used Ta Be My Girl" by the O'Jays
"Midnight Train to Georgia" by Gladys Knight and the Pips
"Rainy Night in Georgia" by Brook Benton
(What is it about Georgia that brings out the sad in these guys, anyway?)
"How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?" by Al Green (if you find the Bee Gees version hard to stomach, that is)

Folk is full of sad songs, too:

"Fotheringay" by Fairport Convention. It's a song about a soon-to-be-beheaded queen. Can't get sadder than that.
"Babe I'm Gonna Leave You," performed by Joan Baez. IIRC, Jimmy Page attached songwriting credits to this song.
"Long A-Growing" by Steeleye Span.

9:24 AM  
Blogger la rose said...

'everything happens to me' as sung by frank sinatra. i'm not a sinatra fan, but he sounds absolutely despondent on this one.

'new jersey' - red house painters

"nimrod" enigma variations - edward elgar

4:11 PM  

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