notquiteold

Nancy Roman

Soundtracks Of My Tears

In focusing on the small joys of life, there is no doubt about the delight I get in hearing a sparkling, happy song. All I need is to hear “I’m A Believer” or “Walking On Sunshine” or The Rascal’s “Good Lovin'” and my butt starts bouncing and I’m set for the day.

However – there is also something wonderfully comforting about a heart-wrenching sad song.

I love a song that can bring tears to my eyes.

When I was a little kid, I had no understanding of romantic love and heartbreak, but there were still sad emotions that I could identify with.

I think the first song that really moved me was Brenda Lee’s “I’m Sorry” in 1960. I was nine. Although I didn’t identify with lovers’ quarrels, I certainly could understand how it feels to do something wrong. To know something is your fault and to feel terrible. And in this way, I “got” the song. And to this day, I love hearing it.

Even a child can truly feel the emotion of loneliness. I had the most amazing, happy family a kid could have, but even the thought of losing them was a terrifying idea. Bobby Vinton’s “Mr.Lonely”– a soldier, alone and frightened –  could bring me to tears when I was eleven, and it still can today.

That same year, I also had my first inkling of the painful side of romantic love. Not because I had any experience at all, but because the emotion was so raw and so clear that even a child could feel the heartbreak. It was “You Don’t Know Me” by Ray Charles. “You give your hand to me. And then you say goodbye. I watch you walk away…”  I wanted to shout “Tell her! Tell her you love her!” How I love that song – how I love a song that makes me so filled with empathy.

And of course there is Smokey Robinson with “The Tracks Of My Tears.” Holy cow, that man could write a song. I love all the versions of this song – Smokey’s, Johnny River’s, Linda Ronstadt’s.

And speaking of Linda Ronstadt – Lord, how she can tear at my soul. I’ve been crying over “Long, Long Time” for 47 years.

Another singer who ripped me apart with his plaintive songs was Glen Campbell. In the middle and late sixties, he could always be counted on for the sweet sorrow in his voice – mourning the end of love with “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” or the simple everyday loneliness of “Wichita Lineman.” And most of all, with the lonely and frightened soldier (yes, again) of the heart-wrenching “Galveston.”

There’s something especially poignant for me with songs of soldiers and war if they are individual and personal. I’m not much on the grand global view. The songs that make me cry are the ones that show how war hurts one person, one family. Like in “Galveston”  or “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town”. And one morning in 2002, my radio clicked on, and the first thing I heard was The Dixie Chicks’ “Travelin’ Soldier” – I lay in bed and felt that little girl cry under the grandstand at the football game. I just played that song again now as I write this, and I am crying again.

Social Consciousness songs can move me too, though like with war songs, the ones that move me are the small, personal heartbreak ones…Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” or Springsteen’s “The Streets Of Philadelphia.”

And of course, there’s Love and the Loss of Love. Now that I am old, and I have felt it for myself – and felt it all around me – the sorrow, regret, and heartache that often accompany love assaults my heart in the best way. There is an eloquence in the best of the sad songs that leaves me wondrously breathless. Some of these songs I love to cry to include

Carly Simon- “That’s The Way I Always Heard It Should Be”
Jim Croce – “Operator”
The Eagles “You Get The Best of My Love”
Dusty Springfield “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me”
Toni Braxton – “Unbreak My Heart”
Little Texas – “What Might Have Been”
Bonnie Raitt – “I Can’t Make You Love Me”
R.E.M. “Everybody Hurts”
Hootie and the Blowfish – “Let Her Cry”
Adele – “Someone Like You”

And, Oh my God, not romantic love, but a father’s love, in Kelly Clarkson’s “Piece By Piece.”

I wish there was a better word than ‘cathartic’. Maybe ‘Purifying’ will work.

There is a certain purifying joy in the perfect sad song.

Watch this and cry. You will feel a lot better.

 

 

 

 

 

36 Comments

  1. *big sobs* Great, really great songs! There is nothing like a song to get out the emotion.

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    • I love the release it gives me. Sad movies too. But songs are the quickest therapy.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When you mentioned “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town”…. that one brought back memories. I’m pretty sure it was on the charts the summer of 1969. My sister had been murdered in April by her estranged husband. She wasn’t shot, but the line: “And if I could move, I’d get my gun and put her in the ground” always sent a chill up my spine. It was all so very fresh then.

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    • That is a bone-chilling line. And especially for you. I’m so sorry – it must still hurt so much.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks….as we all know, time does heal. I often think of my mom and how horrific it must have been for her to endure that. And, even worse, a few months later, she lost her mom.

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  3. Aw I love that Bonnie Raitt song. Right in the feels! Could listen to it over and over.

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    • That one makes me cry. every. single. time.

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  4. I like a good sad song that makes me cry.

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  5. Ray G

    While I have others rattling around in my skull, without their performers or titles, here’s a couple which definitely consume tissues, both performed by Peter, Paul, and Mary: “Puff, the Magic Dragon”, and “Leaving on a Jet Plane”. Others are sure to surface soon.

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    • Ray G

      Also, “Taxi”, by Harry Chapin.
      The comments to this particular installment of your blog could easily outnumber all your previous ones.

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      • Puff doesn’t do much for me – maybe the melody is too upbeat. But “Leaving on a Jet Plane” is nice and melancholy. And I do like “Taxi.”

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        • Ray G

          Another Harry Chapin “ballad”: “Cat’s in the Cradle”.

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  6. dragon

    Oh, Puff the Magic Dragon still gets me … and there’s a CW song, My Temporary Home? That one hits me in the feels every time. One Tin Soldier, Joni Mitchell? Of course, I’ve had a year almost of things making me cry that I didn’t expect to do so. Thanks for the vid

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    • Oh, if we’re talking Joni Mitchell, I would say “River” – it’s so sad.

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  7. My goodness what a great list. We listen to the same music, that’s for sure. I’m about to head out to a choral rehearsal where we’re singing some fabulous songs I’m sure you’d enjoy. Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, a medley of Jersey Boys songs: Oh What A Night, Working My Way Back to You, Stay,, Let’s Hang On, Can’t Take my Eyes off of You, Who Loves You Pretty Baby, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Goodnight, My Someone from the Music Man, and drumroll please, Theme from Titanic My Heart Will Go On. I’m so excited. I’m usually pretty lazy about going out in the cold at night but getting there and singing these songs just fills me up to the brim… You know what I mean. Thanks for posting this.

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    • Oh great choices! I had “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” for a possible inclusion here… it was especially sad for me because I heard that Otis Redding had died just before I heard the song for the first time. So a song about hopelessness through and through.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Pam

    Great list of sad songs, Nancy! I have to add “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart”, by the BeeGees.:)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Reblogged this on ugiridharaprasad.

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  10. Awesome list! I would also add “Crying”by Roy Orbison and Kd Lang. Piece by Piece is such an emotional song. It just makes me want to give Kelly Clarkson a big hug.

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  11. I know this isn’t what your were going for with this post, but seeing some of these songs took me back to my more formative years. I remember wailing like the peri-pubescent boy I was as I lost myself to Richard Marx’ “Hold on to the nights.”

    Can’t help but laugh at the image of my tear-steaked cheeks and flowing mullet as Richard Marx gave voice to my pain. I was so sure everything good in the world was gone! I have no idea who the “she” was at the time, but, knowing the teenage version of me, I was certain that my world was over and that only someone as “poetic” as Richard Marx could empathize with my undeserved suffering. So much teenage angst, and so much melodrama.

    I don’t remember the aftermath of this cathartic moment, which undoubtedly means that by the time I finished my Cheerios the following morning, I was ready to move on to my next conquest.

    I laugh at the ridiculous memory of my exaggerated outburst now, but it’s true that music amplifies our emotions, allows us to release, and connect, in ways that aren’t possible in silence.

    Thanks so much for this wonderful post.

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    • Thanks for your comments… you are exactly right. Music amplifies our emotions. And hit at the very core of our memories – even Richard Marx!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I think “Someone like you” by Adele is so beautiful. Lots of songs make me misty eyed and make me appreciate the song even more.

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    • I’ve heard it hundreds of times and I cry each time. So plaintive!

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  13. Roxanne

    Thanks for the memories! The song that makes me cry the most is not a romantic sad song, but is all about love…”Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw. I think I cry not just from reflecting on family memories, but from the sadness knowing there are too many people in our world that are not humble and kind…but need to be.

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    • You’re right – that’s not a sad song, but it is certainly one that makes me cry.

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  14. I forgot about “I Can’t Make you Love Me”. One of the all time best for me. Gotta love Bonnie

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    • I was in the car the first time I heard that song. and I had to pull over…. I couldn’t see for my tears. Loving someone who doesn’t love you back feels exactly like that song sounds.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I’m the same way about war songs and how they tell about sometimes the tragic aftermath. “Ruby” is one of my favorite songs and tells an incredibly, poignant story. Thanks for the reminder. Think I’ll go play it.

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    • The sadness, anger and despair in that song is incredible.

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  16. Believe it or not I’ve never heard Kelly’s song Piece by Piece in it’s entirety. I cried throughout the video. Thanks… I think:) Love your list of songs, they brought back many memories. One song that always moves me to tears is Gordon Lightfoot’s, Song For A Winter’s Night. Even though it’s about lost love, I’m reminded of my Mom and how much I’d like to “hold the hands I love” again.

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  17. Leader of the pack- by the Shangri-Las; in my mind it packs all that adolescent chaos so much and moves me to tears everytime. Your list will make my free hours for today until I start working- and in the evening I will be singing too. More upbeat songs for now in the repertoire.

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  18. I enjoy a sad song too…

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  19. All of the ones you mentioned are my favorites. I turn 65 this year and many times I start a string of youtubes of those very songs to fill the office while I play on the computer. Tracks of my tears was one that we skated to as kids on Friday nights.

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