I love breakup songs. There is just something about the melancholy overtone and sometimes “in your face” lyrics that make me……oddly happy.
There is a whole art to the composition of a country breakup song. It is a beauty all on its own. I’ve always felt the best emotions one can express musically is heartbreak. The cliche is true, “where words leave off, music picks up.” There are just certain emotions you must portray vocally. It adds new levels to the conversation.
And what better venue then Classic Country music. I’ll never get tired of the southern quips, cheatin’ ridden, sympathy drinkin’ country ballad. So I decided to compile a list of my favorite Classic Country breakup songs. They are in no particular order and this is only the tip of the iceberg.
5. “Tears Will Be The Chaser for Your Wine” – Wanda Jackson
No country or rock’n’roll list of mine would be complete without an entry by the Queen of Rockabilly, Wanda Jackson. This song came out in 1966 and was after Jackson’s early rock days. The little lady from small town Maud, Oklahoma with the nasty voice sounds especially sweet on this song. She let him down real easy letting him know there will be no place left for him if he walks out, except for a glass of wine.
4. “By The Time I Get to Phoenix” – Glenn Campbell
I first heard this song sung by Reba McEntire (Oklahoman). She did a great job, but the original will always be the best version. This Jimmy Webb (another Oklahoman) penned ballad suits Glen Campbell’s voice like a glove. This song makes me want to go on a long depressing road trip with just my dog and I.
3. “She’s Got You” – Patsy Cline
Growing up I never listened to Patsy Cline. That’s partly due to the fact I grew up in the 90’s and the first decade of the millennium, but I was also told that she was just kind of boring and I wouldn’t like her. That person (not mentioning names) was DEAD WRONG. Cline’s voice is like molasses slowly being poured over a lover’s lament. “She’s Got You” takes the cake for me. It really captures the time and what it meant to fall out of love in the 60’s (I got your class ring, that proved you cared).
2. “Cry! Cry! Cry!” – Johnny Cash
I don’t think this list would be complete with out an entry from the man in black. This was Johnny Cash’s first single of which he wrote and performed. It peaked at number 14 and was released under the legendary Sun label. My favorite line: “Soon your sugar daddies will be gone. You’ll wake up some cold day and find your alone.” That’s below the belt. Take that you gold digger.
1. “I Will Always Love You” – Dolly Parton
This song is one of the best compositions ever written. Although, I think its title often gives the song the wrong idea. This is not a wedding song or country’s version of “Endless Love.” This song was written by Dolly Parton when she knew it was time for her to leave the Portor Wagoner show. He had helped start her career and had done many things for her, but the relationship had become unhealthy and restraining. It was best for them to split, but one had to take the first step. Dolly took that big step, along with a lot of cash to the bank.
This concludes my current list of heartbreak songs. I think I pulled out some fairly normal country songs that don’t include your dog a’ dyin’ or your mamaw’s beatin’, but these songs represent the essence of the country music ballad. It’s real and holds nothing back and is packed full of emotion.
Now I’m going to get my boots back. Those were expensive.