So share with me, Loyal Reader. What’s the Saddest Song you know? What song has the tear ducts gushing every time you hear it? Even before you hear it; if you know you’re going to hear it, your eyes start leaking like a cheaply waterproofed basement. If you as much as think about it, you get all choked up. Everybody has one. What’s yours?
(I should mention that I’m talking about songs that affect you emotionally, not songs that make you cry because they should have never been made, like Ringo Starr’s album of old standards, or anything by Michael Bolton.)
There’s a few that get me going. Just about anything from Les Miserables. I’ve seen this musical four times, and heard several versions of the soundtrack. I usually start tearing up at “I Dreamed A Dream” (I’ve never seen Susan Boyle’s performance, but Ruthie Henshall’s isn’t too shabby):
Is there any more tragic figure in literature than Fantine?
And “On My Own” is the ultimate Unrequited Love Song, particularly as sung by Lea Salonga:
But, even with all that angst, the song that always reduces me to a blubbering fool is from…The Little Mermaid??
Back at the end of the last century, we visited Walt Disney World (my favorite place in the world, by the way. Just sayin’.). This particular trip was my third, and it was the first with my son Cameron, who was 5 at the time. He had a huge crush (as huge as a 5-year-old can have, I guess) on Ariel, so one day I found myself standing in line at Ariel’s Grotto, waiting for an audience with the Mermaid Princess while Cam was jumping around in the play area, getting wet and having a good time running around with the other kids. In the background, cleverly hidden speakers subliminally played songs from the movie.
At one point, they were playing “Part Of That World”, which is, as you know, a song about Ariel wishing she were a human, so she could have legs and jump and dance and walk around like all humans:
“I wanna be where the people are
I wanna see, wanna see them dancin’
Walking around on those – what do you call ’em?
Oh – feet!”
I was having a good time, standing in line, watching Cameron cavort.
“Legs are required for jumping, dancing”
I happened to look ahead at the line of waiting people to get an idea of how long the wait would be. I happened to spy an Asian kid, 10, maybe 12 years old, waiting in line, sitting in a wheelchair. The look on his face as he watched the other kids play broke my heart.
“Up where they walk, up where they run
Up where they stay all day in the sun
Wanderin’ free – wish I could be
Part of that world”
Every time I hear that song, even now as I write about it, I think about that kid and kids like him, and, well, you know. They flow freely. Every time.
So what about you? What song never fails to turn on your waterworks?