Sometimes a sad depressing song is just what you need to hear, I can think of a few but this one seems to hurt more as I get older.
I'll start the list off with the classic Time by Pink Floyd
Billie Holiday - Gloomy Sunday
Portishead - Roads
Nancy Sinatra - Bang Bang (the original not any of the silly remixes)
Susie Suh - Petrified to be god-like
Johnny Cash - Hurt (NIN version is great too)
Swans - Failure
The National - About Today
TV On The Radio - Dreams
Lucy Rose - Shiver
The Cardigans - And then you kissed me
PJ Harvey - This mess we're in
I've not heard most of those, Johnny cash version is great
Childhood's End? and Alone Again in the Lap of Luxury both Marillion.
Do you know the way to San Jose by Dionne Warwick
Enjoy, don't expect to be in a good mood after that lot though.
Tender is the Night (The Long Fidelity) by The Triffids
Billy Mackenzie's Winter Academy always gets to me.
I think part of the reason it affects me so much is that I always associate it with is suicide, which seemed such a terrible waste. Likewise, his 'Beyond the Sun' tugs at the heartstrings.
Harder to find is Trigger's cover of 'Sometimes it snows in April'. Again, the poignancy comes from the fact that it was recorded as a tribute to one of the band members who died tragically early.
> Childhood's End? and Alone Again in the Lap of Luxury both Marillion.
> Do you know the way to San Jose by Dionne Warwick
I was thinking iron maiden childhoods end, that makes more sense though
Codeine - loss leader
Radiohead - how to disappear completely
Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Moya
Low - lullaby (but then anything on the first 3 records would suffice)
Songs:Ohia - nay tis not death
Nina Nistasia - You Her and me (the first half of Run to Ruin is pretty bleak)
The Cure - The Figurehead
Who wants to live forever.......Queen
Both of those always do it for me.
Oh I'd forgotten about godspeed, wicked album
> Desperado.........The Eagles
> Who wants to live forever.......Queen
> Both of those always do it for me.
Who wants to live forever is a good song but only hits the feels if you've seen highlander.
And really, desperado? I would have thought lying eyes if anything, both great songs though
Ah Nina Nastasia is SO good. I think I have fallen behind, need to catch up a bit.
first time I saw them live the friend I was with sobbed through the entire 2.5/3hr gig so I guess they fit the 'depressing' tag, I'd also say there's often a difference between a depressing song and a sad song.
Leonard Cohen - avalanche (depressing)
Grouper - living room (sad)
if your into emo/scremo there's an entire sub genre of depressing band names; I hate myself, I would set myself on fire for you, saddest landscape.
oh and if you want dour Scottish drinking music you can't go far wrong with the early Arab Strap and Mogwai stuff (although there's a far amount of black humour in Aiden Moffats lyrics)
> Sometimes a sad depressing song is just what you need to hear, I can think of a few but this one seems to hurt more as I get older.
For the real Hall of Pain, look no further than (good) country music. It's all there - murder, cheating, lost love, shitty cars, etc. - and all still done with a rhythm you can dance to.
Some good Dylan ones:
- Don't Think Twice
- Spanish Boots
- It Ain't Me Babe
- North Country Fair
- I'll Keep it with Mine
- I'll Look Around
- Once I Was
- Dream Letter
- Sing A Song for You
- Blue Valentine
- The Piano Has Been Drinking, Not Me
Plenty of Joni, obviously! I always liked 'River' and 'Last Time I Saw Richard'
> Billie Holiday - Gloomy Sunday
Was that not a cover of the original Hungarian suicide song? Seem to remember an urban legend about being the cause of hundreds of suicides after its release in the 1930's, although i'm not sure of the veracity of those claims.
I would also suggest just about any song by mad season would fit the bill.
Johnny Cash or NIN - Hurt as has been said, also REM - Everybody hurts
Chris Garneau - We don't try
Felice Brothers - The ballad of Lou the welterweight
Antony Hegarty covering If it be your will
Anything by Elliot Smith
Lyrically Barry Manilows- Copacabana has to up there as one of the saddest songs, even though the melody is so upbeat
The ultimate country tear-jerker by a master of the art: George Jones: He Stopped Loving Her Today
More gorgeous country melancholy by one of the greatest of songwriters: Hank Williams: I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry (also available in a cover by the dream pairing of Johnny Cash and Nick Cave - and JC's cover of Desperado is on the same superb album)
Another classic from Cash: Long Black Veil
Got to have one from the great poet of broken blue collar dreams: Bruce Springsteen: The River
Finally, I can think of little more genuinely tragic than Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart
A shout for turn of the century, by yes.
One Day - The Verve
The Drugs Don't Work - The Verve
+ many more by The Verve...
Windmills Of Your Mind. - Noel Harrison.
Sufjan Stevens - Casmiri Pulaski Day about a girl during of cancer and her young boyfriends prayers being unanswered. Absolutely gut wrenching
> Plenty of Joni, obviously! I always liked 'River' and 'Last Time I Saw Richard'
There's also an existential sadness in what I think is my favourite Joni track, the beautifully complex and poetic Refuge of the Roads, from Hejira.
> Another classic from Cash: Long Black Veil
Just to note that Lefty Frizzell had the original hit on that (great) song: Cash's was a cover version.
Billie Holiday - Strange Fruit
Ballad - new model army
Show must go on - queen
Romeo and juliette and telegraph Road - dire straits
> Who wants to live forever.......Queen
There's a roadside memorial just up the road from me with lyrics from this. Two young people. Very sad to see.
Robert Wyatt's cover of Shipbuilding.
I've found alot of the angsty songs I related to in my younger life not hit quite the same way they used to and now gravitate to grittier stuff might I suggest Bruce Springsteen the river.
Made a friend cry once playing her Sophie Zelmani's I'll remember you for the first time.
These are the days of our lives - Queen
A better place - Glen Campbell
> Just to note that Lefty Frizzell had the original hit on that (great) song: Cash's was a cover version.
Yes - one of many over the decades. But my favourite I think - along with that by The Band, who absolutely make it their own.
And on the subject of great cover versions of classic tragedy: June Tabor & The Oyster Band doing Love Will Tear Us Apart.
Probably a teenage angst thing but Swallowed by Bush always suits my gloom
> Got to have one from the great poet of broken blue collar dreams: Bruce Springsteen: The River
Of course, although I might vote for "racing in the street" He writes a song superfically about something I have no interest in but captures so much saddness about love and broken dreams:
now there's wrinkles around my baby's eyes
And she cries herself to sleep at night
When I come home the house is dark
She sighs "Baby did you make it all right"
She sits on the porch of her daddy's house
But all her pretty dreams are torn
She stares off alone into the night
With the eyes of one who aches for just being born
And of course the UK's own poet of broken blue collar dreams, Billy Bragg, plenty in his catalouge, but I'd probably go with "the world turned upside down"
The Beatles - She's Leaving Home. One of the few that actually make me cry.
Caroline says (2). In fact the album it comes from is a bit of a wrist slasher in total, but undoubtedly is Lou Reeds masterpiece (Berlin)
There's a folk song called "they don't cut the peat in new york" about a family getting forced off their land on uist. Makes me cry every time. I think t was written by Paul Crichton.
> And of course the UK's own poet of broken blue collar dreams, Billy Bragg, plenty in his catalouge, but I'd probably go with "the world turned upside down"
Great shout. For me, one of the few songs that will always brings a slight misting of the eye, because of its sheer nobility and humanity - qualities desperately absent from our current politics - is Billy's Between The Wars. "Sweet moderation, heart of this nation..." What could be more heart-breakingly sad than to lose that?
Neil Young -Powderfinger
Joni Mitchell-The Magdelena Laundries
Birmingham Sunday - Rhiannon Giddens
She didn't write it but it's the best version.
Souvla Bay?? (War song - thing it's Australian, but don't know who it's by)
A Change Gonna Come - Sam Cooke.
Almost any Martin Luther King Jr. speech.
Give Peace A Chance - Lennon
I love a good sad song!
Can't wait to go through these.
I've been learning to play piano for the last year or so and sad songs are always the best to play.
I Giorni by Einaudi is my fave at the minute.
I had thought of the Joy Division classic but never heard this version before. Much as I love the voice of june Tabor I think this version is much too pretty and doesn't come near the industrial angst of Ian Curtis vocals and Stephen Morris drumming. Ian & Stephen were both prefects at King's School Macclesfield - my old school.
Thanks for the link, it is always good to hear new versions of stuff.
This is superb and a track that I love, however I listened again to the Elvis version with trumpet solo from Chet Baker and that is equally haunting but in a different way. Robert Wyatts biography is a good read btw.
Porcupine Tree Stop Swimming
Steve Wilson Routine
Chris Wood Hollowpoint, although that mostly makes me angry
and maybe even sadder than waitin around to die
How about "Ernie.-The Fastest Milkman in the West" by Benny Hill?
Now Susie ran between them and tried to keep 'em apart,
And Ernie, he pushed her aside and a rockcake caught him underneath his heart.
And he looked up, in pained surprise, as the concrete hardened crust
Of a stale pork pie caught him in the eye and Ernie bit the dust.
Poor Ernie... (Ernieeeeee)
So many replies and so many I've never heard!
I guess the pogues also stand out once you listen to the lyrics, and the band played waltzing Matilda, thousands are sailing etc
Sweet Old World - Lucinda Williams.
" See what you lost when you left this world, this sweet old world...."
Hollow Point by Chris Wood (as mentioned above). Also by Chris Wood - Albion
The Band Played Waltzing Matilda by Eric Bogle. Covered excellently by June Tabor. And also The Pogues.
And the story behind it is tragic. There is a great version by EmmyLou Harris with Lucinda that is also very good. Neil Young plays harmonica on it.
> Sweet Old World - Lucinda Williams.
> " See what you lost when you left this world, this sweet old world...."
I first heard it on Emmylou's "Wrecking Ball" and reading the notes on the song is what got me listening to Lucinda. "Drunken Angel" has some sad history to it as well.
On a different tack, Dixie Chicks' "Silent House" might not be about suicide/untimely death but it is a sad song about premature loss all the same.
Autumn Leaves, the cover by Eva Cassidy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXBNlApwh0c&
And on a lighter note, I sometimes put the album The Voice by Alison Moyet on in the car, and it usually takes about two tracks before the passengers lose the will to live and demand a change For example the classic Dido's Lament: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EIrvGro3n8&
If you want a sad June Tabor song listen to "The Four Loom Weaver" in duet with Maddy Prior.
or maybe a bit sadder
I have just listened to this on youtube and it is magnificent - thanks. My Mum was a weaver in the 1930's in Colne, Lancashire and I do recall her saying she tended four looms at a time, but I think the wages were rather better by then. A great piece of history, that only folk music can bring to life.
> Plenty of Joni, obviously! I always liked 'River' and 'Last Time I Saw Richard'
Blue the song and most of the album
No Townes Van Zandt yet? All of his stuff is ridden with sorrow and woe,
Tecumseh Valley is a very sad tale in the folk tradition https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWoVnvl9aYc&
Other classics might be 'Waiting around to die' and 'If I needed you' but there are countless others.
Listening to TVZ always makes me want to drink...
> Who wants to live forever is a good song but only hits the feels if you've seen highlander.
Not so! I was playing Aeronautica Imperialis with the biggest child (9) and he got all misty eyed and told me that was exactly the right song if you were an Imperial pilot. He's deffo never seen Highlander.
The textile industry has produced some good songs and it doesn't all have to be dreary : one of my favourites is Edwin Waugh's "The Little Doffer". Great dialect poetry and even funnier when you hear a robot voice trying to translate it into Standard English.
> No Townes Van Zandt yet? ...
> Other classics might be 'Waiting around to die' ...
Have you seen this clip from 'Heartworn Highways'? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vASFMouQwxE&
The tears from Uncle Seymour Washington - 'The Walking Blacksmith' - are real: he knew what was coming.
The ultimate country song
"My Grandaddy's car went over a cliff and landed on my poor old dog"
Originally suggested by Billy Connolly I think
Some great suggestions there like The River by Springsteen and Cortez by Neil Young, but for me the song with the saddest feel to it by far is Man Of The World by Peter Green
> Sometimes a sad depressing song is just what you need to hear, I can think of a few but this one seems to hurt more as I get older.
> I'll start the list off with the classic Time by Pink Floyd
I love Time. Terrifying lyrically, and only moreso as time goes on!
However, the saddest song is anything in Dm, "The saddest of all keys..." IYKYK!
Mad World, Gary Jules from the Donnie Darko film. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jS3SxWnSbtY&.
The morning after we'd lost a student to suicide this came on my iPod on random play, first time I'd heard it for ages and suddenly I really heard it for the first time, and realised it's about suicide. Had me sobbing on Bristol Bridge.
Honourable mention for Society by Eddie Vedder from the Into the Wild Soundtrack - the rejection of 'Society' is a bit bleak https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cl4cLEToPfc&, also Guaranteed from the same soundtrack (in fact the whole thing is pretty good) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mwx3RvDWvDM&. Worth listening through the 30 seconds or so of silence in the middle to hear Eddie humming and strumming at the end.
That was a good film, one of the few that lived up to the book.
Last one "If you could read my mind" Gordon Lightfoot. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5tr_L31StI& reminds me of a very particular time in my life when I'd just left the TA, and was very conflicted about it, and my Grandad had just died. Props to Trigger Happy TV for introducing me to this song.
God this thread is mining a rich vein.
> No Townes Van Zandt yet? All of his stuff is ridden with sorrow and woe,
> Tecumseh Valley is a very sad tale in the folk tradition https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWoVnvl9aYc&
> Other classics might be 'Waiting around to die' and 'If I needed you' but there are countless others.
> Listening to TVZ always makes me want to drink...
I think someone else mentioned him further up the thread. Interestingly, Justin "Townes" Earl recently died. He was the son of Steve Earl and was named after TVZ and, I guess, followed his lead.
I lied. Bang up to date with this one Taylor Swift "Epiphany". It's about COVID (I think) and will always for me be about a close friend and colleague whose Mum died of COVID in April, the trauma is ongoing.
"Something med-school did not cover. Someone's daughter, someone's mother. Holds your hand through plastic now. Doc I think she's crashing out. And some things you just can't speak about."
Suvla Bay was part of the song 'And the Band played Waltzing Matilda' sang by the Pogues on Rum, Sodomy and the Lash.
And no more I'll go waltzing Matilda
To the green bushes so far and near
For to hump tent and pegs, a man needs two legs
No more waltzing Matilda for me
So they collected the cripples, the wounded and maimed
And they shipped us back home to Australia
The legless, the armless, the blind and insane
Those proud wounded heroes of suvla
And as our ship pulled into circular quay
I looked at the place where me legs used to be
And thank Christ there was nobody waiting for me
To grieve and to mourn and to pity
It's a great film, really showcases the other side of Nashville and Country music.
Justin Earl was a casualty of some very bad parenting and maybe a serious predisposition (given his Dad's habits) I guess? What little I've heard I've liked - quite a unique guitar style.
Yes, I quite like his style....sometimes. I suspect there was no parenting although I notice Steve has recently covered some of his son's stuff.
> Ballad - new model army
Oh good shout!
Blur and 'Sing'. Immortalised in Trainspotting and bookended the loss of my dad - 95 - 96 was a crazy ride; I was not so much on a road to destruction but simply embedded in a landscape of oblivion - risk & nihilism being the key words here. Hellhounds are still on my trail....but I'm outrunning them, just.
Two songs that are also emotionally connected to his death:
Yes and 'Soon' - the opening slide guitar moves me to tears still.
Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms. The lyrics about "mist covered mountains" reminds me of childhood climbing trips to both Cloggy and The Cromlech:
Damn those whiskys I've downed tonight. I think I've got something in my eye...
A couple that always make me well up, I think knowing that they are true stories makes them hit harder.
The thrills have gone, by Alabama 3. With a monologue by Paddy Hill of the Birmingham 6.
Me and a gun, Tori Amos.
And Tom Waits, A little rain:
She was fifteen years old and she'd never seen the ocean, so she climbed into a van with a vagabond. And the last thing she said was I love you mama. A little rain never hurt no-one.
Who Knows Where the Time Goes by Sandy Denny was to my mind the absokute saddest.
May have been overtaken by The West Coast of Claire by Planxty however
Mount Eerie already mentioned, but 'Tintin in Tibet' is something that I can't forget, nor listen to regularly. Being a parent with young(ish) children and hearing these lyric...
Right before you died thirteen years later in our house I remember
through your gasping for oxygen you explained that you were thinking
about that high cold air wrapping the globe.
Singing above the mountains of the gods.And I do picture you there: molecules dancing.
But I’d rather you were in the house watching the unfolding
everyday life of this good daughter we made
instead of being scattered by the wind for no reason
so I sing to you.
Also: Mountain Goats - Shadow Song.
Been trawling through the old folk songs i used to listen to and I think "The Butcher Boy" is one of the saddest.
There are plenty more in a similar vein and it's laughable that anyone should deride country music for its sad material when you look back at British folk music and modern offshoots of it.
That just reminded me of that folky song by Steeleye Span You will burn, I cant imagine it was much fun to be burnt because you didn't fit in
'Into Dust' - Mazzy Star
'Grace Cathedral Park' - Red House Painters
'Cody' - Mogwai
'Pink Frost' - The Chills
'What Part of Me' - Low
> I had thought of the Joy Division classic but never heard this version before. Much as I love the voice of june Tabor I think this version is much too pretty and doesn't come near the industrial angst of Ian Curtis vocals and Stephen Morris drumming. Ian & Stephen were both prefects at King's School Macclesfield - my old school.
> Thanks for the link, it is always good to hear new versions of stuff.
I wonder if another cover on the same Tabor/Oysterband album might be more to your taste: Polly Jean's That Was My Veil, another tragic tale. I love PJH, but she doesn't get many covers. Tabor does have immaculate taste.
> Yes and 'Soon' - the opening slide guitar move me to tears still.
Used to love this, must revisit it
Agree entirely. In a folk vein, another for consideration is The Snow it Melts the Soonest, but as you know, there really are so many.
> 'Into Dust' - Mazzy Star
Fade Into You for that matter. I'm still devastated since the nineties that I haven't yet married Hope Sandoval either.
> 'Into Dust' - Mazzy Star
More "haunting" I'd say
No mention of Nick Drake yet.
The ying/yang of 'Things Behind the Sun' perfectly marries sadness and euphoric uplift, but for sombre bleakness 'Black Eyed Dog' is up there with Robert Johnson's 'Hellhounds on my Trail' and then some.
Indigo Girls - Keeper of my Heart
Johnny Cash - Hurt
New Model Army - One Bullet (but try listening to the Red Sky Coven version)
I posted this the other day but got no bites. I think this fits with "sad".
It's Gregory Alan Isakov's cover of the Iron and Wine song "The Trapeze Swinger"
> The ultimate country song
> "My Grandaddy's car went over a cliff and landed on my poor old dog"
> Originally suggested by Billy Connolly I think
Just remembered, that should be
"A bus load of cripples went over a cliff and landed on my poor old dog"
> Yes - one of many over the decades. But my favourite I think - along with that by The Band, who absolutely make it their own.
Check out Dale Watson's version if you haven't heard it. (It never got an official release in its original form, but there are versions on-line.) It's the apotheosis of the honky tonk style: lyrics of murder, cheating and death - all set to a great danceable shuffle beat.
> ... it's laughable that anyone should deride country music for its sad material ...
Country is the white man's blues. Of course it can be sad: it reflects real life.
Sometimes, admittedly, the lyrics can be larger than life - but at least it's life they're larger than.
People who deride country probably haven't heard much of the real stuff - you will struggle to find it on the radio here, or in the US. But real music is out there, and real people are still making it.
The ending of The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades always gets me.
You could also pick Death With Dignity, Should Have Known Better or John My Beloved, all from the Carrie and Lowell album. All great for a good wallow
Hate, Rain on Me - Andrew Jackson Jihad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9o8XGkHSps&
A Better Place, A Better Time - Toh Kay https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OV1tntEzt94&
Bear - The Antlers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YESdx5AHyJc&
Skinny Love - Bon Iver https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrMmr1oMPGA&
King's Crossing - Elliott Smith https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmoPKlWDKRE&
Brick - Ben Folds Five https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NJMTmz7pkg&
The Dead Flag Blues - Godspeeed You! Black Emperor https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVekJTmtwqM&
God there's some good music that's been suggested so far.
I think some people deride country because they're ashamed to admit that it moves them. I don't mind admitting on here that I'm one of them. There is some great country music, but it is so uncool to admit to liking it. I saw Billy Bragg doing a bit of country. He called it "Americana" so it sounds trendy and makes it OK. It is country though, and it's good.
> Yes, I quite like his style....sometimes. I suspect there was no parenting although I notice Steve has recently covered some of his son's stuff.
I wouldn't say 'covered' in the usual sense: the record 'J.T.' is a tribute from the father to his dead son; it's also, obviously, a catharsis.
100% of the proceeds and royalties are going to a trust fund for Justin Townes Earle's three-year old daughter.
(For the sake of this thread, it's 'Earle' by the way, not 'Earl.')
Some great suggestions here, and some ones to chase up.
My housemate at Uni explained that all the best songs are about angst and pain - then he got a girlfriend, got happy and we got on less well!
Anyway, I give you Ider - Does She Even Know. A modern soundscape of loss.
> I think some people deride country because they're ashamed to admit that it moves them. I don't mind admitting on here that I'm one of them. There is some great country music, but it is so uncool to admit to liking it. I saw Billy Bragg doing a bit of country. He called it "Americana" so it sounds trendy and makes it OK. It is country though, and it's good.
Probably. I never worry about what other people think is 'cool' or not.
'Country' can admittedly be a toxic brand - commercial 'pop' country has nothing to do with the real thing, but it is churned out and dominates what passes as 'country radio' because it obviously makes money. You have to make some effort to hear the good stuff - but, if you keep your ears and your heart open, you'll know it when you hear it.
> I wouldn't say 'covered' in the usual sense: the record 'J.T.' is a tribute from the father to his dead son; it's also, obviously, a catharsis.
> 100% of the proceeds and royalties are going to a trust fund for Justin Townes Earle's three-year old daughter.
> (For the sake of this thread, it's 'Earle' by the way, not 'Earl.')
Yes, and apologies for the spelling, I did know that.
FWIW, I think Justin's death was an accidental OD. He was a troubled man but not suicidal.
Good shout on 'Dead Flag Blues'. I was playing that a lot last year.
"We're trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death".
That's exactly it.
Country is just a part of America's folk tradition. Country & Western and all that awful shite isn't really Country music. So much good American Rock is tinged with Country just as we have Folk influenced Rock over here.
Cats in the cradle, Harry Chapin.
Messing up in your life or your romantic relationship is one thing. Messing up your relationship with your child is a whole new level of sadness.
> Been trawling through the old folk songs i used to listen to and I think "The Butcher Boy" is one of the saddest.
> There are plenty more in a similar vein and it's laughable that anyone should deride country music for its sad material when you look back at British folk music and modern offshoots of it.
It is laughable - and ironic when you think that country music actually is one of the modern offshoots of British folk. After all, how many ballads, song tunes and jigs and reels crossed back and forth among England, Scotland and Ireland before emigrating to America for a better life and setting up home in the Appalachian mountains, where they mingled with the other immigrants and gave birth to bluegrass?
> Country is the white man's blues. Of course it can be sad: it reflects real life.
> Sometimes, admittedly, the lyrics can be larger than life - but at least it's life they're larger than.
Couldn't agree more. Thanks for the heads up on the Dale Watson: great guitar.
Great to see Lucinda Williams getting so many mentions. I guess she owns the title Queen of Americana. Two guys with a claim to being the King...
Jason Isbell: Elephant - another heart-breaker about dying (of cancer)
Son Volt: Tear-Stained Eye - a beautiful, melancholy, wistful, enigmatic song - maybe Jay Farrar reflecting on his break-up with Jeff Tweedy leading to the demise of their seminal band Uncle Tupelo
i wouldn't be dismissive about country and western being "awful shite", firstly because I 've been struggling for years to understand the difference between C&W and country, and secondly because the music that I do think of as C&W includes Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and even Willie Nelson. Anyone who calls his guitar Trigger must be giving a nod to Roy Rogers, surely.
I just think the term C&W is losing favour just at the same time as Americana is finding its place.
What about "She was a praying mantis and he was a JCB" or "Dachshunds with erections can't climb stairs" by Les Barker
I guess I meant it in terms of the commercial stuff beloved by the right wing. Maybe I'm misunderstanding the term.
Cash and Nelson amongst others are often called 'Outlaw Country' which is great term I think!
I'm with you there.It's easy enough to misunderstand a term which plenty of people use contemptuously but no-one seems able to define.
If country singers don't like being called country and western, maybe they should stop wearing silly cowboy hats.
> If country singers don't like being called country and western, maybe they should stop wearing silly cowboy hats.
The 'western' part of the term specifically relates to the cowboy tradition - there are some brilliant exponents of that, so don't dismiss it.
> I'm with you there.It's easy enough to misunderstand a term which plenty of people use contemptuously but no-one seems able to define.
> If country singers don't like being called country and western, maybe they should stop wearing silly cowboy hats.
Speaking very broadly, "country" originally referred to (hillbilly) music from the Southern states and "western" to (cowboy) music from the Western states. There's a good example of how most modern country singers feel about the out-dated C&W term in the very enjoyable film Wild Rose. I'm pretty sure Jessie Buckley wears a nice pair of white cowboy boots in it. Can't remember whether there's a hat.
U2: You Don't Have to go it Alone. Any son who locked horns with their father and watched them die will understand.
I enjoyed Wild Rose. I watched Broken Circle Breakdown the same week and that has an ending which will suit people who think country is all tears and regret.
'Two Little Boys' used to reduce my sister to tears - seemed funny to sing it to deliberately upset her, without really appreciating that she was imagining my brother and me as the subjects of the song
> ... because the music that I do think of as C&W includes Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and even Willie Nelson. Anyone who calls his guitar Trigger must be giving a nod to Roy Rogers, surely.
You will be pleased to know that Willie had his Covid vaccination yesterday. We have lost a lot of country greats over the past decade or so - but I hope he will be around for a long time yet.
He has also passed on good genes to his son, Lukas. Completely against the grain of this thread, here's an optimistic song from Lukas which contains good advice for all of us living through these crazy times: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPrPtDoaB3s&
The Furey's did some very sad stuff rather beautifully, and Silly Wizard have some hauntingly sad ones
Suzanne Vega too
I'm not the one being dismissive of C&W music at all: I'm being dismissive of people who have decided that it's not cool to be described as a C&W singer and yet still wear the hat to keep up the western part of the culture.
If the hat fits.....
Sure - to hell with the pop country 'hat acts.'
Emiliana Torrini's Gollum's song somehow transcends the fantasy and CGI and is properly sad:
Eddi Reader's version of John Anderson My Jo. Something about this always brings a lump to my throat:
John Mayer's live version of Tom Pretty's Free Fallin'
> It is laughable - and ironic when you think that country music actually is one of the modern offshoots of British folk. After all, how many ballads, song tunes and jigs and reels crossed back and forth among England, Scotland and Ireland before emigrating to America for a better life and setting up home in the Appalachian mountains, where they mingled with the other immigrants and gave birth to bluegrass?
The cross-pollination goes both ways. For example, the Shetland style of 'choppy' rhythm guitar playing was directly influenced by American jazz: stylings were exchanged as the whaling boats plyed their trade in the North Atlantic.
Alan Stivell: She Moved Through the Fair:
10cc: I'm Not In Love
James Taylor: Fire and Rain
Nick Drake: Black Eyed Dog
John Martyn: Don't you Go
Mark Hollis: A New Jerusalem. (especially sad because this was the last song Hollis ever recorded)
Ólafur Arnalds and Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdottir: Particles:
I prefer "I'm Mandy-Fly Me - .but there's an interesting video about the making of "I'm Not in Love", how they dragged in the office girl to do the "big boys don't cry" loop.
Surprised no one has mentioned Eric Clapton's Tears in Heaven about the tragic death of his child.
In a similar vein is Joe Walsh's Song for Emma.
Both absolutely heartbreaking.
Bob Dylan's Ballad of Hollis Brown is pretty gut wrenching too, although not based on a real person as far as I am aware.
> Sad songs ? Cowboy hats you say ?
> cowboy nation , the blizzard
I like cowpunk, and I remember looking forward to that album when it was about to be released - but then being slightly disappointed that it didn't do it for me.
Tony Kinman died of cancer of couple of years ago, sadly.
forgot to mention Elliott Smith and Jeff Buckley
There must be loads of mournful folk songs about death and suffering.
For example The Highland Widow's Lament.
Alice in Chains - Down in a Hole, Rain when I Die ( in fact most of the Dirt album)
Soundgarden - Fell on Black Days, The day I tried to live (or most of Superunknown)
> Surprised no one has mentioned Eric Clapton's Tears in Heaven about the tragic death of his child.
Yes, it's hard to imagine how he ever managed to get through it live.
Of course, beyond sad is existential horror and for that you need Leonard Cohen...
Hurt Less - Julien Baker
Carlo's Song - Noah Kahan
Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors - The Editors
Routine Pain - Spanish Love Songs
Any Frightened Rabbit song!
DO NOT under any circumstances listen to any of these if you have had a recent relationship breakdown:
It happens everyday, Carly Simon
Sorry, John Denver
God only knows, Beach Boys.
Everybody Hurts, REM
Hearts of olden glory, Runrig.
> Alice in Chains - Down in a Hole, Rain when I Die ( in fact most of the Dirt album)
> Soundgarden - Fell on Black Days, The day I tried to live (or most of Superunknown)
> Andy F
Beat me to it!
Could add Hollow and Died by Alice in Chains to that list too
I also like listening to that CD.
Any version of Purcell's "Dido's Lament", is so spell-binding though, and sends shivers down my spine. It is a combination of the purity of the simple melody, and the intervals used in it, and the clarity of the singer's interpretation, and finally what the song relates to in the operatic story.
In fact I've just started to play it over in my head, and it has affected me.
ae fond kiss by Rabbie Burns
without a doubt one of the saddest and most evocative songs ever written
No cool classics from me, I was abused as a child. Hours of being squashed with 3 other siblings on the back seat of dads Austin Maxi. Long drive to Westward Ho! forced to listen endlessly to the cassette tape of the Carpenters.
So if I want to wallow in sadness I have to admit to listening to them now and Karen Carpenter singing Goodbye to Love gets me every time. Damn parents.
In March sat in the car outside the supermarket sad in the new mad world of lockdown, Barcelona by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe came on the radio. As "god willing we will meet again, someday" was sung I fell to bits.....
Mazzy Star. Fade Into You.
one of those sings that if you’re drunk, you might cry
That entire album in unbelievable! Mary of Silence and Into Dust are jsut as good!
> So if I want to wallow in sadness I have to admit to listening to them now and Karen Carpenter singing Goodbye to Love gets me every time. Damn parents.
I also especially like I can Dream Can't I? from the Horizon album. A perfect song for Karen's voice.
"I'm aware my life is a sad affair". Can't get much more on topic than that
For a good wallow I reach for classic American Music Club - The Hula Maiden. Plenty of good material also in the Smiths back catalogue as well as Nick Cave, Frightened Rabbit and Billy Bragg; from which Levi Stubb's Tears is particularly good.
When you're Gone - The Proclaimers, both sad and reaffirming.
Indeed. I bought the whole album for that Jeff Buckley version of Dido's Lament: It's how we learn about other songs too.
Essentially, all that time ago Purcell knew how to set us up with the slow tempo, and the perfect sad/wrenching melody, made more profound by the overall beauty of the song.
Just remembered a favourite:
"I'd Rather Leave While I'm in Love". Rita Coolidge.
For me, a perfect mix of sentiment and melody, combined with Coolidge's brilliant delivery. Written by Carol Beyer Sager.
"Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier" sung by James Taylor never fails to bring a tear or two.
Great songs so far!
A few to add:
* Vincent by Don McLean
* Coat of Many Colours by Dolly Parton
* Down at the Tube Station at Midnight by The Jam - both sad and scary
* Space Oddity by David Bowie
> * Coat of Many Colours by Dolly Parton
That's not sad; it's an uplifting song!
Has anyone mentioned Townes van Zandt's "Marie". A dark dark piece of writing.
Vic Chestnutt - Flirted with you all my life
might I suggest Bruce Springsteen the river.
Stolen car from his Nebraska album is worth a listen too..
Great thread and some good suggestions.
My pick: Tom Waits - Take It With Me
I can't make it to the end of this song without welling-up at the lyrics and the slightly rickety old piano on top of his amazing gravelly voice makes it so much more melancholy if that's possible!
New York Doll by Robyn Hitchcock.
For me it would be the theme to "The Likely Lads", especially when combined with the opening credits. I grew up in both the environments shown in the opening, and at the same dates they were filmed - the industrial area around Byker and the Quayside in the 60s, then in a terminal decline with whole communities being demolished to make way for the new. Followed by a "modern" aspirational New Town in the suburbs. This latter we moved to in the mid 70s, and we lived a couple of hundred yards from where the house used in the credits were - my parents stayed their until around 2010.
Take a song that is very much a "lament", combine it with a very personal recognition of the areas pictured (and the actual streets and houses), being an age, and state of health, where you start to assess your past and wonder about the future, and add in recent loss of both parents and you end up with something that is emotionally (and almost physically) difficult to watch/listen to.
Anyone mentioned Katy Song by Red House Painters?
Crikey - for about 40 years I thought Gloomy Sunday was an Associates original, and a superb one at that. Oh well...
Great choice. I think I was away at Uni for the original Likely Lads but Whatever Happened to is for me the absolute peak of UK comedy scriptwriting., a match for( but very different from) Frasier.
> might I suggest Bruce Springsteen the river.
> Stolen car from his Nebraska album is worth a listen too..
Good call, also Glory Days!
Similar, Bob Seger, Jody Girl
> Any Frightened Rabbit song!
I wondered how long it was going to take for someone to mention frightened Rabbit. All the more heart wrenching since Scott left us all. I can only listen to them so much in any one go, I’m currently not as covids getting me down as it is.
Indeed, listening to a lot of their material now, and Scotts words particularly, is deeply haunting.
Pedestrian Verse is an absolute masterpiece.
Lisa Gerrard - Sanvean (I Am Your Shadow) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cl_diN-Midg& (not the official video).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hs5hOhI4pEE& - The Partisan (cover)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEmLSmb_2wk& - Seems So Long Ago, Nancy.
Gloomy Sunday has been mentioned. Here's Diamanda Galás' version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hzt0Jeh_NTk&
> Who Knows Where the Time Goes by Sandy Denny was to my mind the absokute saddest.
I was driving to work feeling depressed at the pointlessness of it all when this came on the radio - I had to stop for a weep...
Farewell Farewell does it for me.
Is mother proud of little boy today?
Ah-ha this kiss you give
It's never ever gonna fade away
A sad song about an Irishman gone away from Eire and dreaming of coming home - but a little too late https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1kUijTWkSg& (Carrickfergus)
And another about a man coming across a grave stone from WW 1 Willie Mcbride
And Unhappy Anniversary by LW3
Don't Think Twice was played at a family funeral in the crem, not too long ago.
It was a surprise, but as I was quietly singing along I thought, Yes, bang on, really hit the spot.
Richard Thompson, 3 from a long possible list,
The End of the Rainbow
Withered and Died
Dimming of the day
> And Unhappy Anniversary by LW3
I've never seen this as a sad song, it might be the jaunty tune, but I always thought of it as more of a story.
One more of his that does get me is Human Cannonball, which I'm fine with until the last line.
Can I suggest "Who knows where the time goes?" Sandy Denny
Dylan - Girl from the North Country (finds it way on whenever I miss a girl)
Radiohead - Lucky
Dire Straits - Every Street (there's just something about that outro)
Another vote for A Little Rain by Tom Waits - often have to skip it so it doesn’t ruin my day! - and Waltzing Matilda by the Pogues
Levi Stubbs Tears - Billy Bragg
> Lisa Gerrard - Sanvean (I Am Your Shadow) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cl_diN-Midg& (not the official video).
I love that but I never found it sad, indeed rather uplifting (just musically). Is there something in the lyrics (which I've never paid attention to) that is particularly sad?
Tank Park Salute - Billy Bragg
About a young boy who’s dad has been killed.....gets me every time.
Coming in late to this thread and not wanting to take it off in another direction but along with some songs already mentioned Billie Holiday singing Strange Fruit is another one that does it for me.
Apologies if it's been already included.
A few not mentioned that I "enjoy"
King of Bohemia by Richard Thompson
The Great Valerio by Richard and Linda Thompson
Almost Blue by Elvis Costello
Starless by the Unthanks - cover of King Crimson song
Maybe not the saddest but def the most sentimental
Tom Waits - Take It With Me
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