MarsEarth

Old world wisdom, new world insight – poems, poetry, philosophy, dreams, commentary, ideas


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The Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – # 1

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

Eric Clapton

Can you believe we have reached the Top Spot?
Thank you for following this blog and sharing it with your friends and family.
I always appreciate your interest and comments.
And now, “The next voice you hear . . . “
This song, the saddest of rock and roll,  expresses the ultimate experience
a person could ever engage in

for the sake of a perceived want or for the sake of love. 
For the loser, the loss cannot be calculated.
For the hurt, the despair is of a depth which can never be plumbed.
When we ourselves decide there is no other way to secure a valued relationship,
we – without question – cross a line . . .

Historically, forbidden love is exciting. But even the modern day seeker of forbidden love must follow rules, especially when a sweetheart belongs to another. How far have men gone to give a passionate embrace to another woman? King David made that bad choice. How far would a woman go to get the man she thinks is her soul mate? Well, let’s see. We have infamously stained dresses and a very high divorce rate among Los Angeles and New York actors for infidelity. Just the same, there has been no female version of “Say Anything.” Let’s not hold our breath for a woman so single-minded. What does a lovelorn man do when the object of his desire and passion is already taken?

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Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – Runners Up

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

Here are the songs that were certainly on the order of  sad/ melancholy. Obviously, they had so much more anger or enthusiasm than the numbered ones that they floated on the proverbial pool of tears. Nevertheless, I was determined to root out the rock and roll songs that sank to the bottom of despair and discouragement. Apparently, there is a lot of gloomy frustration and heartbreak amongst us.

Real life is why we have so many tortured souls who seek out artistic ways to deal with and work out their issues. Thank heaven for music.

Here are a group of songs with a heavy touch of sadness. They are so good, and thankfully still enjoyable, without kicking up any trauma or ripping off any scabs of pain during the performance. 

I share them with you below. The next installment will be the #1 saddest of all. Promise.

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The Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – # 2

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

How many times have we felt as if the world was against us? Like we were somehow earmarked for bad things to keep on happening? As if it was not enough to get bad news, but also to have something embarrassing compound and insult? Maybe at least once in life, or maybe once but for a long period of time? When this kind of “overkill” descended upon us, it was uncalled for. Not necessary. No real reason. Like being victim of collision on the open sea. As a lightning strike. We ask G_d, “Why is this happening to me?” and at other times, “Me, again?!” In some circumstances it may feel as if life itself is falling in all around us.

For Irish singer-songwriter, Gilbert O’Sullivan, born Raymond Edward, on December 1, 1946 (and still composing), expressing pain and suffering, separation and anxiety in music made for a successful career. His epic hits in the early 1970s were gateway works which single-handedly expressed the anguish of losing a loved one. They are now iconic in the world of popular music. Gilbert was born in Cork Road, Waterford, Ireland. While still in grade school his family moved to London, and later, Swindon.  As a teenager he played drums in a band named Rick’s Blues. Band members included guitarist  Malcolm Mabbett, bassist Keith Ray and Rick Davies, who later founded the progressive rock band Supertramp. Gilbert’s musical talent as a solo artist was heralded greatly in America.

His personal life did not play out in his songs, surprisingly. Gilbert was exposed to gut-wrenching suffering of death, disease and disappointment which allowed him to craft songs that we relate to. Recently, he told a reporter that, “a good lyricist has to have an understanding of [sad] situations, and this allows me to go into an area and write about it in a genuine way.” He went on to say that he did not know his father well growing up. And he found out that is father did not treat his mother well.  What is the sound of the Human psyche when it reveals the ruin of another person?

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The Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – # 3

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

Is there such a thing as an ultimate sacrifice? There are many stories in Earth history that detail the struggle of one man and also of one woman. These epic heroes are against the odds of success. They are in some sort of peril, facing overwhelming forces or powers. Usually there is little energy left in the tank – so they act through pure adrenaline. They are committed to an ideal which is often retold as the salvation of those left behind. These fighters take the battle to the enemy or opposing force. They attack with purpose. They counterattack with precision. They often win the battle or the war. We back at home celebrate their victories and anniversaries, but remember the lost. When our heroes lose, they lose it all. They lose their future, their reward, and in one final indignity, their lives seem to be silently snuffed out. Is this the ultimate sacrifice which a hero can give for the good of those she/ he loved? Is more lost when they die for what they believed in?

In some sense we all lose when any loved one perishes in our place. They take on the responsibility of protecting our rights and way of life.  It is the fighting men and women of our nation’s military who appear to be the larger-than-life subject matter in a particular song from Five Finger Death Punch (5FDP). This group is American heavy metal band from Las Vegas, Nevada. Formed in 2005, the band says that their name comes from the Kung Fu genre film “The Five Fingers of Death” (1972).  As I understand it 5FDP  originally consisted of vocalist Ivan Moody, guitarist Zoltan Bathory, guitarist Caleb Andrew Bingham, bassist Matt Snell, and drummer Jeremy Spencer in 2005. Caleb was replaced by guitarist Darrell Roberts one year later. Then in 2009 he was replaced by Jason Hook. By 2010 bassist Matt Snell split from the band and Chris Kael took up the position. With all the talent coming and going, it’s a wonder that the foundation members did not seek out some type of separation counseling. Is what we see happening on the outside of a person explain the pain going on inside that person’s mind?

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The Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – #15

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

Remember how much fun it was when we were young and met people who would become instant friends? We saw them at the pool or the library or the park. There were many more people to meet at school, but it was not the same as having a close friend living next door or just down the street. So, it was hard if that person ever moved away. Even harder when dating that person and there were any questions of fidelity. The most difficult was being in love with that person who revealed their cruel and shallow soul.

These seem to be the themes of the fifth album released by Paramore, the Franklin, Tennessee, Pop Rock Punk band. Members are guitarist Taylor York, vocalist Hayley Williams and drummer Zac Farro. This album entitled “After Laughter” was co-produced by Taylor and rock music producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen. As of this publishing date, their A side top track, “Hard Times” peaked at the #6 position in the Billboard Hot 100 singles in the Rock Songs category, but is making another run at the top, moving up again from the #29 spot to #27.  The band’s style is reminiscent of Blondie with Deborah Harry‘s skill at singing with an inviting voice over up-tempo beats while delivering pensive and too real lyrics.

I know what you’re thinking.  I am writing about their song “Fake Happy.” It received serious consideration. In the very same way that the honorably mentioned Three Degrees received a review, and it was the happy tune that placed it out of contention – for both songs. For Paramore the song that had the punch and real grit of a sad song was dealing with a very toxic relationship. It was the kind of relationship that makes you cry, that hits you in the face, that makes you want to quit and keep on fighting at the same time.

Why do we put up with a loved one who keeps breaking our heart? Unfortunately, no one knows this answer. Some famous broken-hearted person once said, ‘the heart wants what the heart wants.’ That’s just a lie we tell ourselves when the other person becomes more important than our own identity. So what happens when we do this?

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The Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – #33

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

How much fun is it to point at the TV and say, “There’s my boyfriend/  girlfriend.” We see people in the malls, driving by, and even in our schools and can instantly fall in love. Sometimes there are chance meetings at clubs and shows or concerts. What happens if we meet a rock star and they are nice enough to make us feel special?

If a girl or a boy ‘falls in love’ in this way we call them silly. If an adult does this, we call her/ him a groupie. Even if we fall in love with a famous musician who we meet by chance, it is usually not a long term thing, We might think less of that musician if they break someone’s heart. This seems to be the theme for a 1969 song written by Bonnie Bramlett, Leon Russell and Delaney Bramlett.


This was the same year that Karen Carpenter (1950-1983) formed The Carpenters soft rock band with her brother Richard Carpenter. She was the drummer and lead vocalist while he was a pianist and arranger. The band released hit songs that touched on all manner of hopeful relationships. Their star power generated five #2 singles and three #1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100.

The song, originally called the ‘Groupie song,‘ became one of the most famous melodies by The Carpenters and also an international sensation. The way Richard arranged the orchestra seemed to showcase sobbing horns, a broken beat, and a rainy piano accompaniment. Fans said it really felt as if you were someone who was “in love” with a popular itinerant musician. It is not always easy to accept that the one we love is ready to move on and not as invested as we are.

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