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.”
“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..
Guy Clark was born on this day, November 6, 1941 in Monahans, Texas.
Finding Guy Clark was to me like taking that first drink. I heard Guy’s music and I couldn’t stop after just one. I eventually did sober up, but I have never quit Guy Clark.
If it weren’t for Guy, I don’t think that I would have the passion for music that I carry with me today. He influenced many other great singers and songwriters in his lifetime.
Today, I love the discovery of the root of the song. I find pleasure in hearing the original versions, and through reading the songwriters lyrics. I want to know what the writer was thinking, feeling, and what place he must’ve been in that inspired him or her to compose a certain piece of music or song.
So many other artists have covered songs penned by Guy Clark over the years. In my earliest childhood memories, I recall that music was an important part of my life. Back then, I didn’t even know who Guy Clark was. Even back then, I was hearing his music.
In 1972 Townes Van Zandt released ,“Don’t let the Sunshine Fool Ya.”
This song was written by Guy Clark. It tells a story about two friends. Guy often said that Townes was one of the biggest influences in his songwriting. More importantly, the two were best friends for a big part of Guy Clark’s life. They were friends up until Townes died of a heart attack on New Years Day in 1997. Even when death took Townes, I think that Guy carried his spirit along until his own last breath. Almost every single album that Guy ever recorded included songs by Townes Van Zandt, and Guy has released more than twenty albums.
Guy’s childhood was in Monahans, Texas. In the early 1950’s he moved with his family to Rockport, Texas. After graduating high school in 1960, Guy moved to Houston, where he spent almost a decade in the music revival that was going on there.
Guy and Susanna moved to the East side of Nashville from L.A. in November of 71. He and Susanna were married in 1972.
While living in Las Angeles, Guy signed a songwriting contract with Sunbury Dunbar. Sunbury Dunbar was the music publishing side of RCA. They gave him the option of continuing his residence in L.A. or moving to Nashville. He chose Nashville partly because his friend Mickey Newbury was there.
Upon arriving in Nashville, Guy, Susanna, and Townes Van Zandt lived together in a white stucco house at 1307 Chapel Ave. It was in that house, that Guy would complete the song “L.A. Freeway.” He had originally written “If I could just get off of this L.A. Freeway without getting killed or caught” on a burger sack while still in L.A.
Guy first played the song for Jerry Jeff Walker who released it as his first single for MCA that year.
In 1973 Guy Clark wrote a song about his Grandma’s boyfriend. Jack Prigg was like a grandfather to Guy and influenced him with his worldly views. “Desperados Waiting For A Train.”
Jerry Jeff Walker released it on Viva Terlingua in 1973.
Guy’s songs, “L.A. Freeway” and “Desperados Waiting for A Train” may have launched his career, but he had already began making his way in music. He was already influencing other singer-songwriters in their careers as well. Guy was a mentor to artists like Steve Earle and Rodney Crowell. He and Susanna had an open house to anybody who wanted to come in.
Rodney once said that a song wasn’t complete until it had the approval of Susanna Clark.
The Hearworn Highways videos that were filmed at Guy and Susanna’s home give a good indication to what it must have been like. I cannot fathom how it must have felt to be surrounded by such great talent. If only I could’ve been a fly on the wall I would have been more than satisfied.
In 1977 Johnny Cash charted with Guy Clark’s tune “Last Gunfighter Ballad.”
By 1982, Ricky Skaggs was topping the charts with “Heartbroke” which reached the #1 spot. Steve Wariner took Guy’s Song “Baby I’m Yours” to the #1 position in 1988. Rodney Crowell did it in 1989 with “She’s Crazy For Leaving.”
Rodney Crowell co-wrote “She’s Crazy for Leaving” with Guy Clark. It was the 3rd of 5 straight #1 hits in a row for Rodney.
Bobby Bare, Vince Gill, and John Conlee all saw top 10 on the charts with Guy Clark’s songs.
1985 saw the Highwaymen, Willie, Waylon, Kris, and Johnny re-release “Desperados Waiting For ATrain.” This brought the old song to a whole new generation. I had been raised listening to these outlaws who banded together to form the Highwaymen.
I had first heard “Desperados Waiting For A Train” being performed by Jerry Jeff on an album that I had found discarded in the trash. It must have been about that time, that I discovered the real Guy Clark and when I began to admire him for the works he had written. (Read the entire story of my dumpster diving days here on my blog from 10/24/20 “Viva Terlingua.”)http://www.pinkieandpancho.com/viva-terlingua/
Jimmy Buffett had two Guy Clark songs in 1997. “Boat’s to Build,” and “Cinco De Mayo in Memphis.”
John Denver recorded Guy’s tune “Homegrown Tomatoes” in 1988. It was then that I fell in love with John Denver’s music.
Guy also turned me onto John Prine and Emmylou Harris. They recorded a version of “Magnolia Wind” in 2011. Somewhere around that time, I also found and began to follow Tom Russell.
Tom Russell’s style in his own songwriting shows many characteristics of Guy’s work.
Steve Earle, who I had first heard on the Heartworn Highways album, recorded Guy’s song El Coyote in 2013.
Guy Clark continued to influence songwriters and write songs himself all the way up to his death May 17,2016.
Even after his death, the final song that Guy Clark wrote was released by Angaleena Presley. It was on the 2017 album Wrangled. Her song, “Cheer up Little Darling,” was co -written by Guy.
Guy Clark’s own recordings are catalogued on his multiple albums. His first album, Old No #1 recorded by RCA was done in 1975. The year I was born.
His final album was Guy Clark:The Best of Dualtone Years released in 2017.
I suppose that I have always been a fan of Guy Clark. Even before I didn’t consciously realize who that was. I appreciate all that Guy has done for music. He helped to create the Americana genre. A genre that will outlive us all. His 2005 AMA Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting doesn’t even give enough credit for all of the lives that his music has impacted. Guy loved to write music and he loved to share his musical talent with others.
“I have no reason to sit home and write songs all day without going out and playing for the folks and I have no reason to play for the folks unless I’m writing new songs…”
Happy Birthday Guy Clark. Thank You for the memories and for the music.
Last August, On behalf of Rodney Crowell, his daughter Hannah accepted the Poet’s Award for him at the Academy of Country Music award show. The Poet’s Award is a special songwriter award that goes to those who have contributed musically and lyrically throughout their careers.
“This is a very fitting award for my father, because he is truly a poet to his core. He is a poet in the songs that he writes. He is a poet in the way he plays with his grandbabies. He is a poet in the way he used to peel into the parking lot at our conservative Christian school with a top hat on, blaring Bob Dylan. (I knew he did that just to instill in my little brain the importance of being on the outskirts and being who you are.) He is a poet in his friendships. He is a poet in what a beautiful mentor he is to young artists. He is a poet in his deep commitment to being truly authentically himself. As an artist, and as a human being.”
Hannah Crowell is the daughter of Rodney Crowell and Roseanne Cash. Granddaughter of Johnny Cash. She is an interior designer.
The “Poets Award” places Rodney Crowell at the top end of a long line of singer-songwriters including Guy Clark. Guy and Susanna Clark were mentors to Rodney since his earliest days in Nashville.
This morning, I listened to Rodney’s newest Poetic Work. “The Damage.”
The Song was released earlier this year for the soundtrack of the film, Once Upon A River. It is Rodney’s first single, since releasing the album Texas in 2019.
The lyrics are certainly poetic. I found them rather chilling.
Rodney was originally selected for a role as one of the film’s main characters. Due to health issues he had to opt out of that role. I believe that his contribution of “The Damage.” to the soundtrack was enough.
Rodney Crowell was born August 7, 1950 in Houston, Texas.
He was born into music. One grandfather lead a church choir, while the other was a blue grass banjo picker. Rodney’s father James Walter Crowell sang in bars and honky tonks. By the time Rodney was 11 he was a drummer in his father’s band.
In 1972 Rodney Crowell moved to Nashville. He was discovered by Jerry Reed, and soon had his first job as a songwriter.
Emmylou Harris recorded Rodney’s song “Bluebird Wine.” Rodney accepted a position in Emmylou’s, The Hot Band. Rodney played guitar and sang backup vocals for Emmylou.
“Early on, Emmylou recorded three or four of my songs and had hits.”
Crowell told Vanity Fair in a 2015 interview, about him spending an entire day writing a song that he wanted Emmylou Harris to record.
When the song was done, he went to her house, pulled out his guitar, and played her the song he made especially for her.
Emmylou rejected the song, saying to him, “That’s really nice, but man, I heard a demo for your song- ‘You’re Supposed to be Feeling Good,’ I want to record that.”
“That’s the only time I tried to write a song for somebody.”
Rodney and Emmylou have been friends since the earliest days of their careers. Together, they received Album of the Yearfor, Old Yellow Moon and were named Group/Duo of the year in 2013.
In 2015, the duo again made music together, releasing The Traveling Kind.
Diamonds & Dirt, Rodney’s critically acclaimed album from 1988 produced five consecutive number one singles in 1988 and 89. His album in 1989, Keys to the Highway produced two top 5 hits.
Other songwriting success for Rodney Crowell in the last decade include top ten hits “Song For Life,” for Alan Jackson, “Making Memories of Us,” performed by Keith Urban, and “Please Remember Me,” recorded by Tim McGraw.
In 2003 Rodney Crowell was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
In 2006 Rodney won the “Lifetime Achievement award in Songwriting.”
In 2009 Rodney wrote “Sing.” It was released by Wynonna Judd on her album Sing:Chapter 1. It peaked at number four on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart.
“It Ain’t Over Yet” written by Rodney, and featuring his ex, Rosanne Cash would become 2017’s song of the year. It is probably my favorite Rodney Crowell song of all time.
The sheer brilliance of Rodney’s lyrics in this song remind me of Rodney’s early beginnings with Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt.
I first fell in love with Rodney after hearing him perform on Guy Clark’s Heartworn Highways.
This song is a gift, so simple, so sweet so deep.
Rodney is truly a poet and a songwriting genius.
I hope and pray that we get more out of him before he leaves this old world.
I may be getting old, but it ain’t over yet. – It ain’t over yet Rodney, your music is going to live forever.