Sad songs say so much, apparently, and I’ve been thinking of the ten saddest songs around, so these much say a hell of a lot. They’re also all beautiful…
1 – Skeeter Davis – The End Of The World
One of country’s loveliest voices sings the saddest of all heartbreak songs…
“Why does my heart go on beating? Why do these eyes of mine cry? Don’t they know it’s the end of the world? It ended when you said ‘goodbye’.”
2 – Timi Yuro – Time (Interlude)
Lyrically, it’s not as obviously sad as the above song, but in a deeper sense, it’s almost even more heartbreaking…
“Loving you is a world that’s strange, so much more than my heart can hold.”
3 – Moby – When It’s Cold I’d Like To Die
Isolation and desolation, put to music.
“I don’t want to swim the ocean. I don’t want to fight the tide. I don’t want to swim forever.”
4 – Warren Zevon – Keep Me In Your Heart
Dying of cancer, Warren Zevon knew exactly how to end his final album.
“You know I’m tied to you like the buttons on your blouse. Keep me in your heart for a while.”
5 – Beach Boys – Caroline, No
Apparently, this was written as Carol, I Know, but was changed after Brian Wilson misheard Tony Asher’s lyrics. And made it much more poignant, in the process.
“Could I ever find in you again, the things that made me love you so much then? Could we ever bring them back once they have gone? Oh Caroline, no.”
6 – Smashing Pumpkins – For Martha
Billy Corgan is hardly a master of understatement, so it’s no surprise that the death of his mother inspired an eight minute epic. It’s slightly more surprising to find him so emotionally open…
“If you have to go, don’t say goodbye. If you have to go, don’t you cry.”
7 – Johnny Cash – Hurt
NIN’s original was bleak, but Cash took it and fit it perfectly to be sung by a man not far from the end and looking back with regrets and sadness. As for the video…
“Everyone I know goes away in the end.”
8 – Eric Clapton – Tears In Heaven
Clapton’s not particularly renowned for his lyrics or for writing tear-jerkers, but after the death of his young son, he came up with this masterpiece.
“Would you hold my hand, if I saw you in heaven?”
9 – Pearl Jam – Black
One of my favourite songs of all time, Eddie Vedder sings straight from the (broken) heart here.
“I know someday you’ll have a beautiful life, I know you’ll be a star in someone else’s sky. But why, why, why can’t it be mine?”
10 – Beach Boys – ‘Til I Die
Brian Wilson’s musical genius didn’t really stretch to his lyrics, but this beautiful and desolate song from his long wilderness years shows that he could do it. Obviously Mike Love hated it…
“I’m a leaf on a windy day, pretty soon I’ll be blown away. How long will the wind blow?”