January 29 2021

For No One

I am a collector of sorts. A collector of sad songs and broken dreams. Recently on Twitter, I asked for some feedback from others as to what they thought was the saddest song ever. My goto has always been “Teddy Bear,” by Red Sovine, “Roses for Mama,” a song also recorded by Red Sovine and sometimes C.W. McCall. Other sad songs for me have been Towne’s Van Zandt’s, “Tecumseh Valley,” and Blaze Foley’s, “Clay Pigeons.” John Prine did a great cover version of the “Clay Pigeons” as well.

Another sad song that my mind often goes to Willie Nelson wrote and sings the song lyrics:

I’m writing a song all about you, A true song as real as my tears, But you’ve no need to fear it, Cause no one will hear it, Cause sad songs and waltzes aren’t selling this year.”

Sad Songs and Waltzes- Willie Nelson.

Wrecking Ball Radio turned me on to another sad song due to my Twitter post. “For No One.”

@CosmicJt23 Tweeted:

“For No One”- Beatles song, but covered by Emmylou Harris. Paul’s version is great but it’s more upbeat so you don’t notice how sad it is, but Emmylou’s version blows me away.

He was right. “For No One” was written by Paul McCartney and gives songwriting credits to John Lennon. McCartney began writing the song in a swiss chalet while on holiday with his girlfriend Jane Asher in March of 1966. The song was written about Asher who was a successful London actress. There is speculation that the song was written after an Argument involving Asher and McCartney. The pair didn’t split until 1968 two years after the song was written so the argument must not have been a deal breaker.

Paul McCartney’s original title for the tune was to be “Why Did It Die.” Alan Civil who played the French Horn on the track thought it was an orchestral piece called “For No One.” I suppose the name stuck

Emmylou Harris covered the song on her 1975 Album, Pieces of the Sky, released in 1975. Her version does seem to go much deeper with the song than the Beatles version. Emmylou’s version sounds so much more haunting and chilling than the Beatles sound.

The day breaks your mind aches

You find that all her words of kindness linger on

She no longer needs you

She wakes up she makes up

She takes her time and doesn’t feel she has to hurry

She no longer needs you.

And in her eyes you see nothing

No sign of love behind the tears

Cried for no one

A love that should have lasted years

You want her you need her

And yet you don’t believe her when she said her love is dead

You think she needs you

She goes out you stay home

She says that long ago she knew someone but now he’s gone

She doesn’t need him.

And in her eyes you see nothing

No sign of love behind the tears

Cried for no one

A love that should have lasted years

Your day breaks your mind aches

There will be time when all the things she said

Will fill your head

You won’t forget her…

Songwriters: Paul Mccartney, John Lennon

I would like to thank my Twitter friend WreckingBallRadio for the recommendation of this sad song for my collection.

Emmy’s version of “For No One” is getting lots of streams by me this week.

If you like sad songs too, The last line in the song says everything. There will be a time when all the things she said will fill your head. You won’t forget her..

Pancho.

November 2 2020

Ode to Billy Joe

Earlier today, I learned that the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame was inducting Bobbie Gentry to the Hall of Fame.

Bobbie Gentry gained international fame in 1967 after composing and recording “Ode to Billy Joe.” The song spent four weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It earned Gentry two Grammy Awards in 1968. Awards were, Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. At the Grammy’s that year, the song was also nominated for Best Contemporary Single and for Song of The Year.

When Bobbie recorded the demo of “Ode To Billie Joe” for Capitol, she had an ambition to write songs to sell to other artists. She only sang the song herself on her demo,  because, she said it was cheaper than hiring someone else to sing it.

Capitol Recording Studio (Hollywood) chose to release Bobbie Gentry’s version of the song. Gentry signed to Capitol on June 23,1967. The single was released July 10, 1967.

Rolling Stone lists “Ode to Billy Joe” among it’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Following the single’s success, an album was quickly put together. On August 21 Ode to Billie Joe overcame the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, topping the Billboard 200.

We still don’t know what she threw off of the bridge that day. Bobbie Gentry states, “That doesn’t matter.”

In 1969 Bobbie Gentry would write and record “Fancy.”

“Fancy” is my strongest statement for women’s lib, if you really listen to it. I agree wholeheartedly with that movement and all of the serious issues that they stand for- equality, equal pay, day care centers, and abortion rights.”

Bobbie Gentry

Fancy” released November 3, 1969. (As I am writing this, the song released 51 years ago as of tomorrow.)

In April of 1970, Capitol would release the album Fancy. Most of the album was recorded at Fame Recording Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The Album consisted of cover songs other than the title track. Fancy, was produced by Rick Hall.

The album peaked at number 37 in the US Billboard Top Country Albums chart. The song “Fancy” reached number 8 on the Billboard Top 40.

In 1991 MCA would release Reba McEntire’s version of “Fancy.” Her recording would also reach #8 on the Billboard Country chart.

Reba, who had wanted to record the song since 1984 refers to it as her “possible signature hit.”

If I didn’t know better, I would swear that Reba wrote the song “Fancy.” It fits her persona so well. She performs the song to perfection and has definitely made it her own.

Because of the current health climate, the honors ceremony for this years Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame has been postponed until November 2021.

Other 2020 inductees are Steve Earle, Kent Blazy, and Brett James. All of these artists including Bobbie Gentry experienced their first Top 20 song at least 20 years ago. Hall of Fame Songwriters were selected by their professional songwriting peers.

Congratulations To All of You!

Pancho.