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Thread: Cry me a river: the 20 most heartbreaking songs of all time!

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Default Cry me a river: the 20 most heartbreaking songs of all time!

    Cry Me A River: The 20 Most Heartbreaking Songs Of All Time!


    Cry Me A River: The 20 Most Heartbreaking Songs Of All Time! - Rock's Backpages

    Posted Thu Nov 20, 2008

    5:53pm PST by The Lonely Hearts Club Banned in Rock's Backpages
    For the last month Rock's Backpages has offered up a slew of sobworthy classics from all walks of pop. Country, soul, AOR, dance: you name the genre, we've scoured it for heartbreak greats. So get yer handkerchiefs ready... here's our tearjerking Top 20 , from the Everly Brothers to George Jones via Lorraine Ellison and Little Feat. --Barney Hoskyns, Rock's Backpages 20 The Everly Brothers: "So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad)," from It's Everly Time (Warner Brothers, 1960) A descending scale begins a classic of sad restraint: "We used to have good times together but now I feel them slip away/It makes me cry to see love die: so sad to watch good love go bad..." Sparse backing and note-perfect harmony compliment one of Don’s greatest lyrics. The inspiration for many a tender hearted ne’r-do-well, from John Lennon to Brian Wilson and beyond.
    19 The Band: "It Makes No Difference," from Northern Lights - Southern Cross (Capitol, 1975) The most artless--and most piningly desolate--love song Robbie Robertson ever wrote, sung with hopeless tenderness by Rick Danko, The Band's most artless singer. "I love you so much, and it's all I can do/Just to keep myself from telling you/That I never felt so alone before..."
    18 Randy Crawford: "One Day I'll Fly Away," single (Warner Brothers, 1980) "When will love be through with me?" MOR slush to some ears, this Crusaders/Will Jennings-constructed jazz-funk-lite ballad remains irresistibly sad to many others--especially when Crawford trails off on "away" and the swelling chord drops down beneath her. Tremulous and dreamily lovely.
    17 Soft Cell: "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye," single (Some Bizzare, 1982) The genius of this synthpop classic is the way it starts out as a bitchfest--Marc Almond coming on like Dusty Springfield's petulant little sister--and then suddenly flips into a deep, engulfing sadness. Even as Almond demands that his lover take her hands off him and claims that "You never knew me/I never knew you", Dave Ball's oceanic keyboard chords say the opposite--that Marc is all tetchy bravado and that this parting is bursting his heart.
    16 Billie Holiday: "Don't Worry 'Bout Me," from Lady In Autumn (Verve, 1959) Billie is being so damn reasonable: "Why not call it a day the sensible way, and still be friends," she sings. And do we believe her? We do not. Her apparent acceptance that "our little show is over" cuts no ice when delivered with such cracked desperation. Truly heart-rending late Lady Day.
    15 Love: "Alone Again Or," from Forever Changes (Elektra, 1967) Love’s most famous recording: written, ironically, not by leader Arthur Lee but by po' little rich boy Bryan Maclean. "I heard a funny thing, somebody said to me/‘You know that I could be in love with almost everyone/I think people are the greatest fun’. And I will be alone again tonight, my dear..." The bastard son of the Byrds meets Ennio Morricone--all West Coast harmonies, 12-string guitars and Tijuana brass--this ode to loneliness seemed to come out of nowhere in late ‘67.
    14 The Pretenders: "I Go To Sleep," from Pretenders II (WEA, 1981) What a concept: a song about missing an ex-partner sung by your future ex-partner. Written by Ray Davies and sung by Chrissie Hynde, this gives a peek into the--one assumes--charred lansdscape of the Davies/Hynde relationship. A perfect marriage of arrangement (including a beautiful French horn riff), lovelorn vocals and passionate lyrics: "I was wrong, I will cry, I will love you ‘til the day I die/You alone, you alone and no-one else/You were meant for me..."
    13 Dusty Springfield: "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself," single (Phonogram, 1964) Springfield here performs a rare feat: outperforming Dionne Warwick's own version of a Bacharach and David classic. Moving from forlorn whimper to gutsy roar, she lives the song to the full. "Going to the movies only makes me sad; parties make me feel as bad/When I'm not with you, I just don't know what to do." Decimating.
    12 Little Feat: "Long Distance Love," from The Last Record Album (Warner Brothers, 1975) "Does she know she hurt me so?" How did a sad ballad get so funky and stay so sad? Lowell George was never more soulfully vulnerable than on this late-flowering gem from an otherwise indifferent Feat platter.
    11 Smokey Robinson & the Miracles: "The Tracks Of My Tears," from Going To A Go-Go (Motown, 1965) Bob Dylan called Smokey "America’s greatest living poet" with good reason. The guy was able to take the most everyday images and imbue them with a real emotional strength, allowing even the flyest guy to wear his heart on his sleeve: "People say I’m the life of the party ‘cos I tell a joke or two/My smile is the make-up I wear since my break up with you..." Couple that with Marv Tarplin's peerless, aching melody and you've got the ultimate Motown heartbreaker.
    10 Bonnie Raitt: "I Can't Make You Love Me," from The Luck Of The Draw (Capitol, 1991) "I'll feel the power, but you won't..." It's all very "tasty" and L.A.-musoid, this smokey ballad of resignation to loss, but it also rings hauntingly true as an articulation of honesty in the midst of misery--which makes it as much a song of healing as anything else.
    9 Lorraine Ellison: "Stay With Me," single (Warner Brothers, 1966) "No, no! I can't believe!! You're leaving me!!!" The epic Bert Berns-Jerry Ragovoy ballad style taken to the outer limit, thanks in part to a borrowed Frank Sinatra orchestra. Building slowly to volcanic peaks, and laceratingly intense to the point of hoarseness, this is soul emotion at the edge of utter despair.
    8 Abba: "Knowing Me, Knowing You," single (Epic, 1977) "No more carefree laughter/Silence ever after..." Not the opening lines of a Radiohead, Big Star or Jeff Buckley song, but one by those fab four Swedish moppets so beloved of the young karaoke crowd. You see, the jolly, upbeat big-hair-and-shiny-suits story of Abba hid the sadness of two failing marriages, a sadness that bubbles to the fore here. As with the Everly Brothers or Carpenters, their arrangements may be flawless and their harmonies pitch-perfect, but there’s true heartache in them there grooves.
    7 Otis Redding: "I've Been Loving You Too Long," single (Volt, 1965) "You're tired, and your love is growing cold..." Good God Almighty! The prototype deep-soul howl of pitiful, nay, wretched lovesickness, sung by a big Georgia farmboy who's literally ravaged by need for his woman.
    6 Sinead O'Connor: "Nothing Compares 2 U," single (Chrysalis, 1990) Forget the famous video: it's all already here in Sinead's bruised rendition--simultaneously dazed and defiant--of Prince's perfect ballad. "I could put my arms around every boy I meet..." But you know she won't.
    5 The Righteous Brothers: "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," single (Philles, 1964) "You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your lips": it's got to be the second greatest opening line of any breakup song ever. (The greatest is surely from Raspberries’ ballad "Starting Over": "I used to be so f***ing optimistic til you said goodbye".) In theory it shouldn’t have worked, combining what was then almost a comedy act with Phil Spector, a man renowned for producing girl groups. Yet somehow it all came together in one of the most remarkable vocal performances of all time, with Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield madly swapping pleas like James Brown’s Siamese twins. "Baby, baby, I’d get down on my knees for you ... If you would only love me like you used to do." Sublime.
    4 Kate and Anna McGarrigle:
    "Heart Like A Wheel," from Kate and Anna McGarrigle (Warner Brothers, 1975) "It's only love/That can wreck a human being and turn him inside out..." Forget Linda Ronstadt's limp cover: the sisters' original from their startling debut album simply wees all over it. Imagine Les Voix des Bulgares transplanted to Acadia, with Kate and Anna's eerie, pellucid voices blending in a meditation on love and loss that's all about a kind of mystical bewilderment. Almost supernaturally moving.
    3 Frank Sinatra: "I'm A Fool To Want You," from Where Are You? (Capitol, 1957) "But then would come the time that I would neeeeeed you..." A second stab at one of the very few songs Sinatra had a hand in writing--a song born of his debilitating pain over Ava Gardner--"I'm A Fool" is the desperate sound of a Man Who Loves Too Much, who keeps going back, masochistically, to the woman who's destroyed him. One of Frank's all-time peaks.
    2 Roy Orbison: "It's Over," single (Monument, 1964) "Your baby doesn't love you anymore…" (Hey, why don't you spell it out for us, Roy?) Over a rat-a-tat, execution-squad bolero beat, the Big O gives unearthly voice to what one only call terminality. Still terrifying after all these years.
    1 George Jones:
    "He Stopped Loving Her Today," single (Epic, 1981) "He said I'll love you 'til I die..." Curly Putnam and Bobby Braddock wrote the shamelessly weepy lyric and melody; producer Billy Sherrill coated the track in sumptuous Nashville surround-sound; and then the greatest country singer of all gave the performance of a lifetime--a vocal imbued with deep, knee-quaking compassion for the poor schmuck who never got over the love of his life... until now, when he's "all dressed up to go away". I don't care how hard-bitten you may be, I defy you not to get a lump in the throat from this 20-year-old classic of cornball liebestod. It's utterly transcendental--the most heartbreaking record ever made.
    Read more about all these artists at www.rocksbackpages

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    hmm i can think of at least a handful of tom waits songs that have me in tears after the first few notes, no mention of them here though.
    i love 'alone again or' and i think calexico's cover of it is just as good (if not better) than the original.
    i hardly ever agree with most publications' music lists.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member Rondette's Avatar
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    Got to agree with 'I just don't know what to do with myself'

    There's a Divine Comedy song called 'Lady of a certain age' which always stops me in my tracks....it's a beautiful song but such sad words....
    YouTube - The Divine Comedy- A lady of a certain age (live)

    Give it a listen, it's like a musical in six minutes. I couldn't find a studio version of the track, so you'll have to put up with people sining along, lol.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    I suggest:
    Song starts at 2:19

    YouTube - Jordin Sparks I Who Have Nothing
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member chartreuse's Avatar
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    eh, i can think of some way more heartbreaking songs than these. i really don't like a lot of these "best ____ of all time" lists that mags/websites publish. one person's opinion definitely doesn't make something the best of all time.
    white, black, puerto rican/everybody just a freakin'/good times were rollin'.


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    Elite Member Rondette's Avatar
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    ^^^^
    True, but they stimulate conversation! I like to think that's the point of them, anyway.

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    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    Angel by Sara McLauglin

    He stopped loving her today - George Jones

    I will remember you by sara McLaughlin

    its so hard to say goodbye by Boyz ll men
    Basic rule of Gossip Rocks: Don't be a dick.Tati
    Lighten Up Francis WCG

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    Super Moderator Tati's Avatar
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    Leonard Cohen's Famous Blue Raincoat, for sure.

    Sarah McLachlan's Wintersong has been killing me lately, too.
    If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.

    - Kahlil Gibran

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    Elite Member DeadDwarf's Avatar
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    Pearl Jam's "Black".... that's a song that should be on this list. Eddie Vedder sings it with so much emotion. IMO he's one of the best male singers ever, talented beyond words.

    [YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFVlJAi3Cso[/YOUTUBE]

    Lyrics:

    Hey...oooh...
    Sheets of empty canvas, untouched sheets of clay
    Were laid spread out before me as her body once did
    All five horizons revolved around her soul
    As the earth to the sun
    Now the air I tasted and breathed has taken a turn
    Ooh, and all I taught her was everything
    Ooh, I know she gave me all that she wore
    And now my bitter hands chafe beneath the clouds
    Of what was everything?
    Oh, the pictures have all been washed in black, tattooed Everything...

    I take a walk outside
    I'm surrounded by some kids at play
    I can feel their laughter, so why do I sear
    Oh, and twisted thoughts that spin round my head
    I'm spinning, oh, I'm spinning
    How quick the sun can, drop away
    And now my bitter hands cradle broken glass
    Of what was everything
    All the pictures have all been washed in black, tattooed everything...
    All the love gone bad turned my world to black
    Tattooed all I see, all that I am, all I will be...yeah...
    Uh huh...uh huh...ooh...
    I know someday you'll have a beautiful life, I know you'll be a star
    In somebody else's sky, but why, why, why
    Can't it be, can't it be mine

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    Elite Member MrsMarsters's Avatar
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    What about The Smiths "Asleep"? Anything by Chris De burgh?

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    Elite Member Just Kill Me's Avatar
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    Joseph Arthur gets me all teary eyed.
    KILLING ME WON'T BRING BACK YOUR GOD DAMNED HONEY!!!!!!!!!!

    Come on, let's have lots of drinks.

    Fuck you all, I'm going viral.

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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE George Jones.
    Mr. Sweetpants and I always listen to George together. I will sit down and play it on the piano, or the guitar, and we will sing together.


    I always tell my husband if I die before him, to sit back and listen to"A picture of Me (without you)" and that's me singing to him.

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    Letting Go - Straight Lines
    YouTube - Straight Lines - Letting Go(audio only)

    If You Came Back from Heaven - Lorrie Morgan

    The Man in Love with You - George Strait

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    Elite Member HelpMeRhonda's Avatar
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    The Love Song- Tesla
    How do I live- Leann Rimes or Trisha Yearwood
    Hard Habit to break- Chicago
    If you leave me now- Chicago
    She's gone- Hall and Oates
    'High, High. Yaw Both High and Smokin' Weeeed in Front of My Howse"
    Bah-Brahhh-Teen Mom

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    Hit By Ban Bus! Lily's Avatar
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    Who makes these lists? God. "I Can't Make You Love Me"???? geeeaahhh I love Bonnie Raitt, but....geeeaaahhh

    I'd say Elliott Smith's Waltz #2 is one of the saddest songs I've ever heard. And for some reason, Coldplay's song "Trouble" makes me burst into tears as soon as I hear the first note.

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