Top Five

Well, thanks to all of you who sent me a potential candidate for my Top Five Saddest Songs Ever Written. It was a bummer to read every one of them, so in this case, that’s a good thing. The ones that I considered Saddest of All are these Top Five, complete with lyrics, so you can be sad, too. All the other entries submitted are listed at the bottom as well, all of them quite sad, but only five can make the Top Five.

To borrow the words of my friend Dave, remember this is only an exhibition, not a competition, so please: no wagering.

1. And So It Goes—Billy? Joel (mine, remained on top)

In every heart there is a room
A sanctuary safe and strong
To heal the wounds from lovers past
Until a new one comes along

I spoke to you in cautious tones
You answered me with no pretense
And still I feel I said too much
My silence is my self-defense

And every time I’ve held a rose
It seems I only felt the thorns
And so it goes, and so it goes
And so will you soon I suppose

But if my silence made you leave
Then that would be my worst mistake
So I will share this room with you
And you can have this heart to break

And this is why my eyes are closed
It’s just as well for all I’ve seen
And so it goes, and so it goes
And you’re the only one who knows

So I would choose to be with you
That’s if the choice were mine to make
But you can make decisions too
And you can have this heart to break

And so it goes, and so it goes
And you’re the only one who knows

2. Long Black Veil—Johnny? Cash (Jen Bock)

Ten years ago, on a cold dark night
Someone was killed, ‘neath the town hall light
There were few at the scene, but they all agreed
That the slayer who ran, looked a lot like me
The judge said son, what is your alibi
If you were somewhere else, then you won’t have to die
I spoke not a word, thou it meant my life
For I’d been in the arms of my best friend’s wife
She walks these hills in a long black veil
She visits my grave when the night winds wail
Nobody knows, nobody sees
Nobody knows but me
Oh, the scaffold is high and eternity’s near
She stood in the crowd and shed not a tear
But late at night, when the north wind blows
In a long black veil, she cries o’er my bones

3. Parallel Lives—Chris? Cunningham (another one of mine that I thought of this week)

Our place is outside the house where house rules won’t be broken.
I set aside a piece of my soul.
The ring around the moon at night will be my only token.
I’ll place it on your finger when we go.
We lead parallel lives:
Never too far, never to touch.
We lead parallel lives:
And I love you very much.
Separated by a gap in time, I remember our first kiss.
That’s not the only thing that I miss.
Every wink, every unsaid word, every song we listened to,
I’m blessed with the memories of you.
We lead parallel lives,
With respect in our resistance.
We lead parallel lives,
And we’re one in our distance.
As we are we’re worlds apart but I can still command your eye.
I can make you smile, twitch or blush.
And the other night when the lunar light had spread across the sky,
it wasn’t the white wine that gave the rush.
We lead parallel lives:
Like an arrow straight and true.
We lead parallel lives:
that of me and that of you.
I’ll be sure to let you know when I’m coming back to town.
You say that when I’m home you like to see me.
You might get a letter or two but you’ll never find me at your door.
I hear the air in Georgia’s kind of sticky.
We’ll lead parallel lives
That will never come together.
We’ll lead parallel lives
And perhaps it’s for the better.

4. Cat’s In the Cradle—Harry? Chapin (Josh Schneider)

My child arrived just the other day,
He came to the world in the usual way.
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay.
He learned to walk while I was away.
And he was talking ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew,
He’d say, “I’m gonna be like you, dad.
You know I’m gonna be like you.”
And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
“When you coming home, dad?” “I don’t know when,
But we’ll get together then.
You know we’ll have a good time then.”
My son turned ten just the other day.
He said, “Thanks for the ball, dad, come on let’s play.
Can you teach me to throw?” I said, “Not today,
I got a lot to do.” He said, “That’s ok.”
And he walked away, but his smile never dimmmed,
Said, “I’m gonna be like him, yeah.
You know I’m gonna be like him.”
And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
“When you coming home, dad?” “I don’t know when,
But we’ll get together then.
You know we’ll have a good time then.”
Well, he came from college just the other day,
So much like a man I just had to say,
“Son, I’m proud of you. Can you sit for a while?”
He shook his head, and he said with a smile,
“What I’d really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys.
See you later. Can I have them please?”
And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
“When you coming home, son?” “I don’t know when,
But we’ll get together then, dad.
You know we’ll have a good time then.”
I’ve long since retired and my son’s moved away.
I called him up just the other day.
I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind.”
He said, “I’d love to, dad, if I could find the time.
You see, my new job’s a hassle, and the kid’s got the flu,
But it’s sure nice talking to you, dad.
It’s been sure nice talking to you.”
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me,
He’d grown up just like me.
My boy was just like me.
And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
“When you coming home, son?” “I don’t know when,
But we’ll get together then, dad.
You know we’ll have a good time then.”

5. All I Want Is You—U2? (Ashley Brooks)

You say you want
Diamonds on a ring of gold
You say you want
Your story to remain untold
But all the promises we make
From the cradle to the grave
When all I want is you
You say you’ll give me
A highway with no one on it
Treasure just to look upon it
All the riches in the night
You say you’ll give me
Eyes in a moon of blindness
A river in a time of dryness
A harbour in the tempest
But all the promises we make
From the cradle to the grave
When all I want is you
You say you want
Your love to work out right
To last with me through the night
You say you want
Diamonds on a ring of gold
Your story to remain untold
Your love not to grow cold
All the promises we break
From the cradle to the grave
When all I want is you
You…all I want is…
You…all I want is…
You…all I want is…
You..

And the Rest of the Best… thanks everybody…

Honey—Bobby? Goldsboro (Jim Bock)

Yesterday—The? Beatles (Greg Willis)

Beth—KISS (Chris Lorch)

I’ll Be There—Escape? Club (Shane Raatz)

Happy-Happy?, Joy-Joy—Ren? & Stimpy (Kevin Poquette)

Grace Is Gone—Dave? Matthews Band (Dave Schrubbe)

You may note: the majority of the Saddest Songs have love as a theme, whether love lost, or love unfulfilled, love unattainable, whatever. I don’t know about you, but that just confirms for me that love is probably the most powerful human emotion there is: it can, at the same time, take a person to the highest peaks of euphoria, or drag them down to the lowest depths of despair. That’s somethin’.

Have a good Thursday, anyway.

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