Music is great for stirring up emotions, both good and bad. And if there’s anything songs are especially good at expressing, it’s L-U-V. So, you know, songs about being in love, about lost love, about falling in love, love shacks, love the one you’re with, lick my love pump, etc.
But the saddest ones for me, in a bittersweet way, are the ones about being in love with someone and then… maybe not so much anymore. Because sometimes whatever inspired that great passion just sort of fizzles out.
So here are my three great heartbreak songs for your listening, crying and eating a pint of ice cream 😀 pleasure:
Gordon Lightfoot is a Canadian singer-songwriter who, at 78, appears to be still very much active. In fact his web site displays his tour dates. (Smart guy – touring the South in the winter.)
Short of the entire catalog of Frank Sinatra in the ’50s’s, I maintain there’s no greater song than “If You Could Read My Mind’ about loving someone and then later seeing them as, what, a friend? A roommate? An acquaintance?
The whole things works – his voice, the guitar, the lyrics, the strings, the pathos:
“I never thought I could feel this way
And I’ve got to say that I just don’t get it
I don’t know where we went wrong
But the feeling’s gone and I just can’t get it back.”
Dave Mason has a long and storied history as a performer – with Traffic, recording with Hendrix (All Along the Watchtower) and as a solo artist. A frequent performing partner of Mason’s was the late, relatively unknown songwriter Jim Krueger. Krueger wrote the song “We Just Disagree,” out of, one assumes, some love affair gone wrong.
Again, everything works: guitar, strings, Mason’s plaintive voice. Kreuger plays twelve-string and sings harmony. But it’s Mason’s tune all the way:
“So let’s leave it alone
‘Coz we can’t see eye to eye
There ain’t no good guy, there ain’t no bad guy
There’s only you and me and
We just disagree.”
Back in the turbulent year of 1968, Simon & Garfunkel released a terrific album called Bookends. The then twenty-seven-year old Simon chose to write a few songs about old age on this album. “How terribly strange to be 70,” the now seventy-five-year old sang. Much greatness on this album. But the tune that always stops me in my tracks is the beautiful, haunting, “Overs.”
This song is not only about falling out of love, it is about falling out of love and growing old. (Screw the ice cream. Shot of whiskey, s’il vous plait.)
“We might as well be apart
It hardly matters we sleep separately
And drop a smile passing in the hall
But there’s no laughs left
‘Coz we laughed them all
And we laughed them all
In a very short time.”
So. What are some of your favorite heartache songs, especially ones that involve “Yeah, um, any way we can just be friends from now on?”