Ten Songs That Made Your Parents Want To Kill Themselves

Published on January 30th, 2009 in: Issues, Music, Retrovirus, Top Ten Lists |

By Jim R. Clark

The title here is pretty self-explanatory. Maybe you just broke up with the love of your life and you just want to while away a few minutes wallowing in self-pity? Well, why should your parents have all the fun, eh? Let’s take this depressing journey into musical history together. Join me. If you dare.

I’ve decided to compile this list with the proposition that the saddest songs are the most meaningful ones. Oh, that’s such sentimental sap isn’t it? Maybe I’ve begun this article because I’ve watched a truly disappointing movie called The Saddest Song in the World that made me start to think upon this topic. Ah well, it’s not important so let’s begin, shall we?

(A few brief words on the ground rules before we start; all the songs on this list must have at least cracked the Billboard Top 100. I mean, sure, an obscure song may well be worthy of my list, but then, if only half a percent of the general public have ever heard it then it’s really not much a part of the general social consciousness then is it?)

As we set forth on our march of misery, let’s start with number one chronologically:

1. The Everly Brothers “Oh, What A Feeling,” 1959: This song, which was the B-side of “(Till) I Kissed You,” has a wonderful honesty and naivete without being overly self-conscious. When I hear this song, I’m picturing a scene involving cardigans and a ye olde malt shoppe.

roy orbison
Roy Orbison

2. Roy Orbison, “Crying,” 1961: The original king of Goth, looking like Bela Lugosi with sunglasses, makes Robert Smith sound like the Partridge Family by comparison. Roy’s inhuman opera voice really hasn’t seen an equal in history.

3. Skeeter Davis, “End Of The World,” 1963: I first heard this old school country song in the movie Girl, Interrupted, a ghastly girls-in-prison chick flick of psycho-hormonal imbalances. But nevertheless, this one song stands out as a real tearjerker. The feeling of absolute, abysmal hopelessness of the singer finds a home within the heart of the dumped.

4. The Bee Gees, “How Do You Mend A Broken Heart?” 1971: It’s hard to understand how such a good looking, popular bunch of fellows could be beset with a such case of ennui, but forget all about the disco, this band of bearded brothers were real gloomsters. “How can a loser ever win?” indeed.

5. Gilbert O’Sullivan, “Alone Again (Naturally),” 1972: Looking like a gay, afro-sporting, sailor-suit wearing Leo Sayer, Gilbert O’Sullivan surprises us with his tale of melancholy. The calmly sung, morbid topic of this song is a distraught man who, having been left at the altar, is planning his subsequent suicide. Further complicating the situation, the despondent Irishman goes on to discuss the deaths of his parents.

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3 Responses to “Ten Songs That Made Your Parents Want To Kill Themselves”


  1. emilyc:
    January 31st, 2009 at 2:51 am

    I absolutely love “Alone Again (Naturally).” Seriously, it’s probably one of my favorite ever songs, because of its sheer lyrical insanity. It’s such an “up” sounding song with the most depressing lyrics known to man. If you like that song, check out his 1971 song, “Nothing Rhymed,” which is also in the same melancholic mode…

  2. JL:
    February 23rd, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    If you think about it, “Alone Again (Naturally)” is a logical precursor
    to Squeeze’s “Up The Junction”.

  3. Stevieo:
    August 10th, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    Looking back, Gilbert O’sullivan had to have been one pathetic individual. The guy seriously needed prosac. Every song he ever wrote was morbidly black, or else about being a pervert in love with a toddler. What a pathetic individual!

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