Really Sad Songs That Inspire Us
HE STOPPED LOVING HER TODAY - George Jones
This 1980 hit by George Jones ( "A four-decade career had been salvaged by a three-minute song," Jones once said of the song) is about a man who tells his ex he'll love her until the day he dies. She replies that he'll eventually forget her, but no, he keeps her picture on the wall and old love letters by the bed, hoping she'll come back. Eventually he dies, and so can finally stop loving her.
GOODBYE - Steve Earle
In this spare ballad written for his fifth ex-wife, Teresa, Earle admits he recalls all the drunken and drugged-out nights spent in Mexico, but not whether he said goodbye when they split up. While swimming through Earle's catalogue, listeners might also want to try Valentine's Day. It's not about heartbreak or loss, but a sad story of someone who forgot the day, and couldn't afford a gift anyway: "I come to you with empty hands/ I guess I just forgot again/ I only got my love to send/ On Valentine's Day."
LAST KISS - Pearl Jam
Eddie Vedder's 1998 remake of Wayne Cochran's 1961 pop hit brings a welcome growling desperation to the tragic tale of a teen romance ended by a car accident. "Oh where, oh where, can my baby be?" sings Vedder. "The Lord took her away from me. She's gone to heaven, so I've got to be good, so I can see my baby when I leave this world."
NOTHING COMPARES 2U - Sinead O'Connor
O'Connor's cover version of Prince's Nothing Compares 2 U soars with sadness. "It's been seven hours and 15 days/ since you took your love away./ I go out every night and sleep all day/ since you took your love away./ Since you've been gone I can do whatever I want./ I can see whomever I choose./ I can eat my dinner in a fancy restaurant,/ but nothing, I said nothing can take away these blues./ 'Cause nothing compares, nothing compares to you."
ARE YOU ALRIGHT? - Lucinda Williams
While each line of the song -- a plaintive letter to someone who has gone away -- is followed by a call of "Are you alright?" it is clearly Williams whose heart is pining. "Are you sleeping through the night?" she asks. "Do you have someone to hold you tight? Do you have someone to hang out with? Do you have someone to hug and kiss you, hug and kiss you, hug and kiss you? Are you alright?"
LONG WAVE GOODBYE - Molly Johnson
This breakup song isn't sad at all, and so doesn't naturally fit into this list. But whenever I hear Johnson sing the first three lines, I smile: "I made a promise to myself/ that I would sooner rot in hell/than spend another moment with you."
YOU DON'T LOVE ME ANYMORE - Lynn Mlles
The realization that someone you're with no longer loves you is one of the hardest to come to terms with, and Miles captures that most miserable moment perfectly. "You don't love me anymore," she sings. "And in your heart, you're out the door. It's getting harder to ignore, that you don't love me anymore. You don't love me anymore."
'TIL KINGDOM COME - Coldplay
The hidden track on Coldplay's X&Y album, 'Til Kingdom Come was intended to be a duet with Chris Martin and Johnny Cash, but Cash died before it could be recorded. "For you I'd wait 'til kingdom come. Until my day, my day is done. And say you'll come and set me free. Just say you'll wait, you'll wait for me."
IF YOU SEE HER,SAY HELLO - Bob Dyllan
Almost every song on Dylan's Blood on the Tracks album — generally agreed by biographers to be about Dylan's breakup with his wife Sarafits the bill, including Tangled Up in Blue, Simple Twist of Fate and You're a Big Girl Now. "If you see her, say hello, she might be in Tangier. She left here last early spring, is living there, I hear. Say for me that I'm all right, though things get kind of slow She might think that I've forgotten her; don't tell her it isn't so."
KEEP ME IN YOUR HEART - Warren Zevon
Zevon knew he was dying from cancer when he wrote this song for his final album, The Wind, which was released two weeks before his death in September 2003. "Shadows are falling and I'mrunning out of breath. Keep me in your heart for a while. If I leave you it doesn't mean I love you any less. Keep me in your heart for a while."