Why I like certain depressing songs so much is beyond me. You know, those really sad refrains, usually about a relationship breakup.
I guess there could be all sorts of reasons, from reminding me about a particular point in my own life, or knowing the backstory of the musician(s) involved. Whatever the hook, I do love to hear certain songs when they come on the radio or listen to them through the magic of YouTube.
Here's a cross-sampling of five of those sad songs that always catch my ear and are required listening:
º "I'm Sorry" by John Denver (1975): This one is the daily double of melancholy, the theme itself and knowing how Denver's life came to a tragic end in a 1997 plane crash. Denver enjoyed tremendous crossover success in the 1970s, topping both the pop and country charts with a number of songs. This song, however, will always remain the most haunting:
"I'm sorry for all the lies I told you,
I'm sorry for the things I didn't say,
But more than anything else,
I'm sorry for myself,
I can't believe you went away."
º "Traces" by Dennis Yost and the Classics IV (1969): Again, a double dose of heartache is involved with this, a break-up song that is still popular today on the oldies channels. Like Denver, Yost's life came to an unfortunate end. He passed away in 2008 after being hospitalized for two years following a brain injury. The Classics IV were once called the first "soft rock band," emerging at a time when rock music was looked upon as a more violent genre than it is today:
"Traces of hope, in the night,
That she'll come back and dry,
These traces of tears, from my eyes."
º "Just Give Me A Reason" by Pink with Nate Ruess (2013): I once read the perfect appreciation of this song -- "It's like falling out of love, all the while still loving someone. That's a unique brand of heartbreak." And this is a unique song:
"It's been written in the scars on our hearts,
We're not broken, just bent,
And we can learn to love again."
º "Some Memories Just Don't Die" by Marty Robbins (1982): Robbins was a true renaissance man -- singer, actor, NASCAR driver -- whose life ended much too soon, as Denver's and Yost's did. This song was his last No. 1 before kidney and lung failure claimed him in 1982 at age 57. Fittingly, this song was named "single of the year" by the Music City News Country Awards, just a few a few months after Robbins passed away. You can find one of his final performances of this song on YouTube. It will be worth your search:
"You still think of him,
I see it in your eyes
Some memories just won't die."
º "He Stopped Loving Her Today" by George Jones (1980): This tear-jerker has stood the test of time, and I must admit, I have to be in just the right frame of mind to listen to it. Hopelessness, sadness, knowing of Jones' battle with substance abuse, it's a lot to listen to and absorb.
"He kept her picture on his wall,
Went half-crazy, now and then,
He still loved her through it all,
Hoping she'd come back again."
"The Possum" passed away at age 81 in 2013 after a career that included 150 country hits, but none more memorable -- or sadder -- than this one.