So I’m minding my own business, browsing in my favorite home furnishings store, when it comes on the sound system. The saddest song ever recorded.
I’m not going to link to it because it’s so sad. I might not even tell you what it is.
Cat’s in the Cradle by Harry Chapin. Circa 1974.
My sugar plum thoughts of needlepoint pillows and coffee table tchotchkes came to a sudden halt. My mind flooded with the festering waves of parental guilt.
What if my child grows up and never comes to see me because he has to go shopping instead?
“Yes, I’m gonna be like you, Mom. You know I’m gonna be like you.”
I sprinted past the dinette sets. Wriggled around étagères. Leaped over ottomans. Until I landed in living rooms where my son sat on a fine leather sofa with my husband, vanquishing a game of Penguin Wings.
Yes, Little Boy Blue and the Man in the Moon were in the store with me. And no, we still don’t have a cat.
“Mommy loves you!” I said with watery eyes.
“I have 145 penguin coins,” said my son and shooed me away from the iPhone.
“Why are they playing this song?” I said to my husband.
“What song?” he said.
And then there’s Same Old Lang Syne by Dan Fogelberg. Oh, Dan, Dan, Dan.
It runs a close second for the saddest song ever recorded. Heard that one while ice skating recently. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Imagine kneeling and weeping on the cold, cold ice.
Did you know it was based on a true story? Fogelberg crooned the tearjerkers Leader of the Band and Run for the Roses with it on the same 1981 album entitled The Innocent Age. Good grief.
Fogelberg dominates the sad songs category for the 80s. Maybe for all time.
Sister Christian by Night Ranger in 1984 was sort of sad, and yet oddly comforting at the same time.
“You’ll be all right tonight.”
In 1989, Don Henley managed to sneak New York Minute in under the wire and into the decade on his album End of the Innocence. Nice bookend, Don.
November Rain by Guns N’ Roses didn’t come out until 1992. Axl Rose had been working on it since 1983. That explains a lot.
I won’t try to escape if those songs come on like I do with Chapin and Fogelberg. But I will cover my ears if the anguish fest of 100 Years by John Ondrasik (aka Five for Fighting) does. It’s from a 2003 album called The Battle for Everything.
Could someone please just wake me up before you go-go?
Sorrow is better than laughter,
for sadness has a refining influence on us. Ecclesiastes 7:2 NLT
Wham! was destined to make an appearance here sooner or later. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Jitterbug. Gotta get in line for one of those t-shirts.
Have a great weekend, y’all!
Be a peach and leave a comment about a sad or not-so-sad song on your way out the door, will ya?
Thank you, William Shakespeare and John Steinbeck, for inspiring the title.