Jan 232008


I’ll keep this simple: What songs make you cry? I don’t mean a full-on blubber; that shit is hard for dudes. I’ll settle for tunes that fairly consistently make you feel like you might, any second now, bust out into a good sobfest.

I don’t mind sharing: I had the iTunes on shuffle today and heard “Back To Living Again”, from Curtis Mayfield‘s final album, New World Order. Man, did I come close to losing my manly Cry Composure!

Yeah, I admit that I, Mr. Backstory-Is-Bullshit Man, was nearly felled by the notion that Curtis recorded this number while flat on his back, having to record each line individually because he was paralyzed from the neck down. I mean, just… well, God — just listen to those words. What a capstone to a 35-year career of (to steal from Mayfield fanboy Paul Weller) “upfullness.” The dude had been confined to a bed, paralyzed for 7 years. A year later, he’d have a leg amputated due to complications from diabetes, and a year after that, he’d be dead. And in the middle of all that, “Back To Living Again” is what Curtis had to say.


But I gotta tell you, the thing that gets me every time is Aretha Franklin‘s performance. She adored Curtis Mayfield, and I swear you can hear it in her brief cameo at the end there. Shit!

RIP, Curtis Mayfield.


So anyway — what songs make you cry?



  19 Responses to “‘Fess Up: Songs That Make You Cry”

  1. hrrundivbakshi

    The guy I *really* want to hear from on this one is Townsman Mwall. Howzaboutit, M? What songs get you a-blubberin’ — or at least close to it?

  2. No outright weeping to tunes on my end, but there are certainly enough songs that provoke me to those feelings of poignance that would lead lesser men to cry. Gram Parsons “A Song for You” among numerous others. I’ve often played that one when leaving places or people behind, and boy, behind dry eyes do I ever imagine myself weeping at the thought of how they’ll feel once I’m gone.

  3. Mr. Moderator

    There are way too many for me to list, Hrrundi. I well up watching sporting events, movies, grass grow. Most recent song to do this to me, as is always the case when I listen to it, is “Washington Bullets”. There’s a particular spot that always gets me. It’s some combo of the lyrics, the music, and the pathos in Strummer’s voice.

  4. hrrundivbakshi

    GREAT answer, Mod. I got all choke-y watching that recent Strummer biopic, a coupla times.

  5. BigSteve

    Only Townes Van Zandt can do this to me consistently, especially Tecumseh Valley and Waitin’ Round to Die.

    And speaking of movies I remember tearing up at the end of The Kids Are All Right, the spot when Keith comes out from behind the drums to hug the others after the triumphant Won’t Get Fooled Again. I don’t know, it just hit me how sad his death was.

  6. I read Mr. Mod’s sentence – “Most recent song to do this to me” – as “most recent songs do this to me” and I thought “Me too, brother, me too, that’s why I don’t like much modern music!”

  7. “A Man Needs a Maid” from Harvest by Neil Young.
    “Heartbreaker” by Dionne Warwick/BeeGees.
    “Invitation to the Blues” from Small Change by Tom Waits.
    “Watching Alice” from Tender Prey by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
    “In My Life” from Rubber Soul by The Beatles.

  8. Mr. Moderator

    Good to see a few Townspeople speaking up on this issue, isn’t it, Hrrundi? I had a most unexpected moment along these lines on my drive in this morning. I’ll try to write about it later today or tomorrow as part of a broader post I’ve been cooking up.

  9. Yeah Steve, “Tecumseh Valley” has that power, definitely. “Waitin’ Round To Die” less so because the song is just too brutal.

  10. “Baby Belong to Me” by Irene Cara from the FAME sndtrk

  11. Mr. Moderator

    Hey, I just stumbled across a post on a blog that references some of our work here. As a coincidence, the RTH reference was part of a post involving songs that make the blogger cry!


  12. Mr. Moderator

    Hrrundi, we must have a ton of hard-ass, manly men around here. Even Clint Eastwood cried, but not this crowd!

    Kilroy, Mwall, BigSteve, you can pull from my tissue box any time.

  13. “Last of the Widows,” by Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies. God, every time.

  14. BigSteve

    Here’s two more where I had to pull over the car because I couldn’t see well enough to drive. The Pogues singing And the Band Played Waltzing Mathilda and the Temptations doing Just My Imagination. Sometimes there are tears of anger, and sometimes tears because the music is just so beautiful I crack. Come to think of it the Pogues’ A Pair of Brown Eyes fits into the latter category.

  15. “That’s the Way” by Led Zeppelin has been known to make me cry on occasion.

  16. Mr. Moderator

    Hey, good to see a few more of you were willing to let if flow before Hrrundi’s post fell off The Main Stage. Bravo!

  17. trolleyvox

    Hey, good to see a few more of you were willing to let if flow before Hrrundi’s post fell off The Main Stage. Bravo!

    There are moments of poignancy in certain songs that do get to me. The Zombies’ “Hung Up on a Dream” always seems to do it, as does the peak and release of that solo in “Marquee Moon”. Something about the evocation of fleeting elegiac, august grandeur and sweet melancholy and longing all wrapped up together.

  18. Two songs that always get me:

    Judee Sill, “The Kiss”
    Kate and Anne McGarrigle, “Mendocino”

    I guess I have a thing for chord resolutions and longing for redemption.

  19. Mr. Moderator

    The peak and release of the solo in “Marquee Moon” is an EXCELLENT call, Tvox! I’ve long thought that should I ever find myself cast in a film role that requires me to cry I’ll go off into a corner, listen to that part of the solo, and then come back loaded for bear. Either that, or I’ll watch the final pitch of the 1980 World Series.

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