Friday, June 10, 2016

Chet's Tear-Jerkers

Brother Kent --

Just what is (or was) rock 'n roll?

I don’t mean today's lackluster milquetoast, but the tunes we grew up loving ... songs that are just as important to us now as they were 40 or 50 years ago.

I don’t really have a concrete answer. I just know I still love Big Mama Thornton, Chuck Berry, Elvis and Jerry Lee. Plus,  I still foot stomp when I hear the Bo Diddley beat. Who doesn't?

But, rock 'n roll has its own B-side. It’s a mood of sadness. 

It's musical poetry that provides a mirror to your soul. It's a melody you hear late at night that reminds you of moments that seem unforgettably special or, perhaps, almost sad beyond words.

Here's an offbeat example. George Harrison's work on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" always leaves me second guessing a relationship I had in 1969 with a girl named Judy. She had enough common sense to ditch me.

So, for the hell of it, while I prepare my new book on former Bears' linebacker Otis Wilson, I decided to name my top 10 musical tear jerkers.

Somehow, I left off the Monkees' "Pleasant Valley Sunday"  and the magnificent "Transfusion" by the unforgettable Nervous Norvus.

The whistle has been blown. Let the criticism begin.

10. Frank Sinatra - "One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)."
Frankly, the studio version of this gem bores me but I had the good fortune to see Blue Eyes perform "Baby" about a dozen times in concert. As a live song with Frank bathed in the spotlight, it's simply the very definition of brilliance. I know its pop but hey, my house, my game, right?

9. R.E.M.- "Everybody Hurts."
Michael Stipe, you nailed it - big time!

8. The Flamingos - "I Only Have Eyes For You."
Call it doo wop, call it musical magic. Seriously, I would love to have the song played at my funeral.

7. Marshall Tucker Band - "Heard It In A Love Song."
Sure, it’s a mid range tempo, but the bridge with the flute and piano solos are remarkably moving. Listen closely to the lyrics. The guy who wrote this Southern masterpiece can never find happiness.

6. Bruce Springsteen - "Philadelphia."
Recorded around the time the boss's voice was truly becoming  all-out ballsy. Bruce was born to record this number.

5. The Beach Boys - "In My Room."
Brian Wilson's gripping slice of uncertainty about the ups and down of growing up. I actually rate the song a notch above "Good Vibrations."

4. The Duprees - "You Belong To Me."
Vocally flawless.

3. Conway Twitty - "It's Only Make Believe."
Sure, he's trying to mimic Presley but who the hell cares? The song is just rich with passion.

2. Jefferson Starship - "Miracles."
You know how much I worship this song, the best single record turned out during the 1970's. Go ahead, name anything better.

1. The Rolling Stones - "Out of Tears."
A deep cut off Voo Doo Lounge. Listen once and you'll love it.  Listen twice and you'll see why it's an upset winner.

Chet Coppock
Host: Chicago Blackhawks
I'm sure we'll get some responses to this one!
Off the top of my head, here are three that get me nearly every time ...
#1 - SHE'S OUT OF MY LIFE - Michael Jackson
It's a challenge every time I hear it ... who's gonna breakdown first, Michael or me?
A beautiful song through and through ... but when his voice cracks, it's all over for me.  
#2 - DREAMS OF A CHILD - Burton Cummings
Gets me every time ... I've watched Burton sing this live in concert and honestly don't know how he gets through it himself.  It hit me deep the very first time I ever heard it ... and I've loved it ever since.
This one never really hit me until my own daughter got married ... now I swear it gets me every time.  Still powerful stuff, even once you know the ending.
And I'm sure there are at least a dozen others ... but I'd have to give it some thought.  (We encourage our readers to do the same.)  
Frannie swears she's seen me tear up during The Mamas and the Papas version of "Dedicated To The One I Love" but I don't recall ever doing so.  I love their version ... and I think it's a great recording ... but I don't recall ever getting emotional about it.
And there are others that hit you out of the blue just because of the mood you may be in on any given day ... songs you've heard a thousand times before that never had that effect on you and then all of a sudden, BOOM, it hits you out of nowhere.  Usually after that they just go back to being great songs ... but you never forget the emotional experience they gave you during that one particular moment of weakness.
So come on, readers, bring it on.  Let's hear some of YOUR greatest tear-jerkers.  (kk)