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Old 16th Mar 2009, 12:13   #1
Colyngbourne
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Default Top 10 sad songs

I'm going to have to cheat on this one: it's going to be a Top 12, with a few honourable mentions. I could have named 10 hymns easily where I have to pause and mouth the words instead.

1. Speak, my tongue, the glorious battle - a plainchant hymn which chokes me every year when we sing it at the Maunday Thursday 'Stripping of the Altars' service; the the church is divested of ornament as it is sung, the lights go down, a simple cross brought centre-stage, and the congregation depart as the all-night vigil in church begins.

2. Wild Mountain Heather – Libby Kennedy on Neighbours singing it at Drew's funeral...trying not to think about it too much....don't watch it on Youtube whatever you do...

3. Don’t Let It Bring You Down – Annie Lennox/Neil Young

4. Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton - No's 4 & 5 I have known at funerals of young people.

5. Heaven (Bryan Adams/DJ Sammy) – John Barrowman

6. Hurt – Johnny Cash

7. Fareweel Regality – Rachel Unthank & the Winterset - the song I spent 2008 weeping to, when I needed it.

8. Two Little Boys – Rolf Harris - probably the first song I remember feeling teary over; is it a generational thing? Will C21st babies feel this way about it when they're grown?

9. Alexandra Leaving – Leonard Cohen

10. Bright Eyes - Art Garfunkel

11. Into the West – Annie Lennox; another funeral song.

12. Ne me quitte pas or Je ne sais pas – Jacques Brel - torn between these two. I don't like Brel's over-emotional delivery of the first, but the poetry in it is finer.


Honourable mentions to songs that are terribly weepy in context of their films:

This Nearly Was Mine – South Pacific: Emile feels he has lost his chance at love

Slipping Through My Fingers – Mamma Mia! - a love song to a daughter - wah!

Somewhere – West Side Story
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Old 16th Mar 2009, 12:46   #2
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Default Re: Top 10 sad songs

Donds for Nos. 6 & 10. *sniff*

For me also:

Vincent by Don McLean
Danny Boy (particularly, again, the Johnny Cash version)

and, for reasons I'm unsure of, a number of Christmas songs, particularly Little Drummer Boy and In the Bleak Midwinter.
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Old 16th Mar 2009, 13:00   #3
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Default Re: Top 10 sad songs

Against all odds-Phil Collins

Seriously,most of Jacques Brel and specialy Ne me quitte pas is nearly unbearable when heart broken.
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Old 16th Mar 2009, 14:59   #4
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Default Re: Top 10 sad songs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colyngbourne View Post
3. Don’t Let It Bring You Down – Annie Lennox/Neil Young
Very much agreed - especially Neil's version on 4-Way Street ("This is a song that's guaranteed to bring y'all down. It's called 'Don't Let It Bring You Down'. It starts off kinda slow and then it trickles out altogether") but Annie's version is surprisingly effective - especially in that movie scene.

And "Hurt", of course, should be on anyone's list. I'll have to come up with a list of my own.
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Old 16th Mar 2009, 17:42   #5
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Default Re: Top 10 sad songs

Wonderful topic!

Quote:
Originally Posted by saliotthomas View Post
Against all odds-Phil Collins
I laughed!




1. All things Nick Drake - cannot choose any one of them, though "Things Behind the Sun" is a current favorite

2. The Cure - 2 Late. the b-side of of their mega hit Lovesong and a much lovelier song, all winsome and wistful and whispery...

3. Serge Gainsbourg - Sex Shop. so lush and sad...

Tom Waits - Tango Till They're Sore

Saint Etienne - Teenage Winter

Portishead - It's a Fire

this Israeli tune, sung by Arik Einstein:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GfeFcEQzo0

Duran - Come Undone
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Old 16th Mar 2009, 17:59   #6
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Default Re: Top 10 sad songs

Quote:
Originally Posted by beer good View Post
Very much agreed - especially Neil's version on 4-Way Street ("This is a song that's guaranteed to bring y'all down. It's called 'Don't Let It Bring You Down'. It starts off kinda slow and then it trickles out altogether") but Annie's version is surprisingly effective - especially in that movie scene.
I connect it with a distressing evening I spent more than a dozen years ago when I was writing a letter appealing for clemency re the execution of a certain Death Row inmate in the States. I keep forgetting it's been used in that film since.
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Old 16th Mar 2009, 19:22   #7
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Default Re: Top 10 sad songs

The difficult bit, of course, is getting through this list without making it all country songs (the music of pain). Anyway, here's ten that never fail to get me.

Regina Spektor, "Chemo Limo"
The last thoughts of a woman dying of cancer, imagining death as the luxurious limo ride she never could afford to take, her thoughts slipping away one by one until only the faces of her children remain.

John Coltrane, "Alabama"
Recorded after a KKK bombing of a church. An attempt to play grief and frustration. A slow, drawn-out intro, then the song proper starts and almost immediately falls apart as if the band can't bear to play it. A few seconds of silence, then they repeat the intro again - a new beginning - and stop.

The Band, "It Makes No Difference"
Especially the live version from The Last Waltz, the supposed big triumphant last hurrah that nobody in the Band except for Robbie Robertson wanted; the way Rick Danko's voice shatters into tiny little pieces when he sings "It's all I can do to keep myself from telling you that I've never felt so alone before."

The Velvet Underground, "Stephanie Says"
Lou Reed later rewrote it as "Caroline Says, Part II", slowing it down to a dirge and making it a horriffic study of domestic abuse. This mid-tempo version has none of the explicit angst and physical violence of the later version, it's just a general song about feeling left out, yet somehow manages to be more difficult to shrug off. "It's such an icy feeling, it's so cold in Alaska."

The Cowboy Junkies, "Lost My Driving Wheel"
Margo Timmins chokes up completely on the last verse. So do I.

Guy Clark, "Desperados Waiting For A Train"
A love song not for a woman or a child but a grandfather, spanning an entire life and the way you gradually realise that grown-ups are not only human but mortal too ("To me he's one of the heroes of this country, how come he's all dressed up like them old men?") up until the inevitable last hold-up where the roles have been reversed. "Come on, Jack... the sumbitch is comin'."

Townes Van Zandt, "Waitin' Around To Die"
As a friend of mine is fond of repeating, if you can make a 79-year-old blacksmith cry like a baby with nothing but a guitar and a story, it's fucking SAD. He's got a point.

Tom Waits, "Ruby's Arms"
"Oh Jesus Christ, this goddamn rain..."

Sonic Youth, "Tunic (Song For Karen)"
Kim Gordon's songs were always chilling, but their requiem for Karen Carpenter is too much. Gordon half-sings lyrics about dying from fame and starvation as if in a half-conscious bliss ("Hey Mom, look, I'm up here! I finally made it!") while the sheets of guitars crash against her in frustration, unable to do anything but cover her up.

Neil Young, "Tired Eyes"
Sounds like it's recorded at 4AM after a 2-week tequila-fueled wake for a dead friend, which is because it's pretty much what it is. Neil's voice cracks and careens all over the place, the musicians play like ghosts, and everyone's stuck in that moment of clarity, trying to command death away, knowing they can't.


...OK, I need to go listen to something cheerful now.
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Old 16th Mar 2009, 19:27   #8
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Default Re: Top 10 sad songs

Stina Nordenstam - Crime, So This Is Goodbye, Now That You're Leaving.

Anyone here know Stina?
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Old 16th Mar 2009, 19:40   #9
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Default Re: Top 10 sad songs

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Originally Posted by disturbiapixie View Post
Stina Nordenstam - Crime, So This Is Goodbye, Now That You're Leaving.

Anyone here know Stina?
Gah, how could I forget her? I could put together a top 10 of saddest Stina Nordenstam songs and it would still be too short...
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Old 19th Mar 2009, 21:59   #10
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Default Re: Top 10 sad songs

I would say "Against all odds" is pretty sad and "My heart will go on". There are actually tonnes of sad songs, but it's hard to think of them. I would know when I hear them though

Last edited by looloo; 30th Mar 2009 at 14:15.
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