My favorite songs tend to be those that are really funny or tear-jerking, shut the blinds and cry over a guitar sad. Since my song “I’m Not The One” tends toward the latter, I thought I’d run down some of the songs that were an influence on it. These are my top 10 favorite sad songs.
Dominoes by Butch Walker – A tale of growing old together and eventually being the one that’s left behind
Whiskey Lullaby by Allison Krauss and Brad Paisley – In some ways a very typical sad country ballad. It’s about a solider coming back from the war and problems that come with it. But the lyrical imagery is fantastic and it really elevates itself above the form.
Sometimes It Snows In April by Prince – This is from the underrated movie “Under The Cherry Moon”. I think it really hits home that the death a friend is really a bigger disaster for those left behind than the person who’s gone. Since Prince doesn’t believe in the internet, I found this really nice version by Native.
Baby Mine from “Dumbo” – I don’t know if this really counts as a sad song since it’s meant to cheer up baby Dumbo. But it’s certainly a tear-jerker. As a kid, this is the part of the movie I would fast foward through. But in the last few years I’ve really come to enjoy. There are lots of versions, but Allison Krauss’s is my favorite.
Mountain Angel by Dolly Parton – A sad song is only enhanced by a really good story. Something I’ve tried to do with my song. This one is about a good country girl who gets seduced and knocked up by the Devil. Eventually she’s abandoned, her children die and she’s left as a weeping and screaming crazy woman in the woods.
Torn by Ednaswap – If you’re only familiar with the overly-produced saccharine Natalie Imbruglia version of Torn, then you’re missing out. Ednaswap wrote the song and recorded it 4 or 5 times for different releases. I’m sure they love the money that came from Natalie’s version that still gets pumped through grocery stores and banks 24 hours a day. But the original version is so much more organic and heartfelt.
Tears In Heaven by Eric Clapton – A brilliant song by itself, only made more touching when you realize it’s a tribute to his son who fell out of a 53rd story window and perished in 1991.
Pictures Of You by The Cure – Of course, The Cure are known for being sad sacks (which isn’t always true), but this is the one that I find to be more authentically sad without being mopey and pretentious.
Black and Blue by Fats Waller – This is an uncomfortable song to listen to because it would be thoroughly looked down upon if released today. It’s a black man lamenting the color of his skin. But in these old recordings, before the Civil Rights Movement, it’s so heartfelt and hopeless sounding. This is, of course, Louis Armstrong’s version.
St James Infirmary – Traditional – This is a very old song, but a great one. Classic sad Dixieland stuff. When you have to go to the infirmary to visit your gal on a cold white table, it’s a bad day.
Accidents Can Happen by SixxAM – If you’re even the remotest rock fan and you haven’t exeperienced The Heroin Diaries album yet, put aside your expectations of Nikki Sixx and give it a go. If you’ve ever dealt with anyone with addiction issues, this tale of comforting someone who’s fallen off the wagon will touch you.
I Saw Red by Warrant – I may be showing my roots a little too much with this one. 🙂 But as 80’s hair band ballads go, this is a great one. It’s the old story of walking on your girl when you shouldn’t have. But the line “I don’t think I’m going to love you anymore” really nails that feeling of being angry, but still in love, and having to make a conscious decision to fall out of love.
Into My Arms by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – After those last two, I guess I need to regain some “cool quotient”. 🙂 Nick Cave is another one known for being mopey. And strangely, this song isn’t his saddest. I don’t even really think it’s really a sad song at all. And yet, it is.
Wow, I think I really need to watch something funny now. Believe it or not, the next thing on my to-do list today is my comedy writing time. Brilliant planning on my part. Anyway, enjoy these sad songs and keep and check out my song influenced by all these others, “I’m Not The One” below.
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