Prompt: Songs that makes me sad

By the time the video was made, Roy Orbison was already dead.

Cry FreedomNot only are there many sad songs that I appreciate, they tend to be among my favorites by a given artist. “Sad songs say so much” – no, that Elton John song is NOT on the list.

Biko – Peter Gabriel. The last song from the third eponymous album, the 1980 collection referred to as Melt. It is my #1 album of that year, and one of my favorite album of the decade. Stephen Biko was a black South African anti-apartheid activist, and the song gave voice to the tragedy of his death.

September ’77
Port Elizabeth weather fine
It was business as usual
In police room 619
Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko
Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko
Yihla Moja, Yihla Moja
The man is dead
The man is dead

Related: in the 1987 movie Cry Freedom, “South African journalist Donald Woods (Kevin Kline) is forced to flee the country, after attempting to investigate the death in custody of his friend, the black activist Steve Biko (Denzel Washington).” There’s a monumental scene of The Funeral (Nkosi Sikelel’ Iafrika), which I find quite moving.

In My Room – the Beach Boys
I didn’t really relate to the band’s early songs about surfing and automobiles. But I surely “got” this piece. My bedroom wasn’t even a proper room, but rather two walls carved out of what was probably a dining room. It was where I would read incessantly, play with my baseball cards, and daydream.

End of the Line – Traveling Wilburys
By the time the video was made, Roy Orbison was already dead. Of course, George Harrison and Tom Petty, who sings most of the verses, have since passed.

A Salty Dog – Procol Harum
Maybe “The captain cried, we sailors wept, our tears were tears of joy,” but I’ve always found this track melancholy:
Across the straits, around the Horn, how far can sailors fly?
A twisted path, our tortured course, and no one left alive

Telling Me Lies – Trio (Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris.
The lyrics are devastating, and the three-part harmony just does me in. The fact that Linda’s singing voice is stilled by the damn Parkinson’s adds to the poignancy.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. i hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

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