Mood Music: Sad Songs

"Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought."
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

Sad songs for those melancholy moments. Curl up in front of the fire, turn on the music, hug yourself, and just ache.

My award for the saddest song of all time goes to "The Great Valerio," from Richard & Linda Thompson's I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight. A haunting melody with some wonderful modal intervals. Several other artists have recorded it: June Tabor, Linda Thompson, and Maddy Prior.

All of Nick Drake's work bears an achingly plaintive mood. Start with Pink Moon, my favorite.

Still on the plaintive June Tabor knows how to sing a sad song. Abyssinians, contains some of her saddest.

Joni Mitchell's Blue is a good place to start with for those that prefer a sad story to accompany their sad music.

Songs can be sad because of the melody or because of the words. For sad words it's hard to beat the old folk ballads and it is hard to beat Martin Carthy for a performer. Traditional folk ballads are, however, an acquired taste.