Sometimes a break-up is nobody's fault, although one party may take it a lot harder than the other. Some saw the end coming while others had no clue. Sometimes one of the two is clearly at fault. In such a song, that person usually laments his or her actions. This post will not deal with songs where it's evident from the lyrics that the split is a result of cheating, drug or alcohol addiction, etc. I've already written on cheating songs and drinking songs. (See my posts of 9/12/12 and 10/7/11, respectively.) The split could also be due to a lack of sensitivity, self-absorption, etc. The break-up could be after a long or short-term relationship.
Here are some of my favorite country breakup songs in no particular order with the songwriter(s) in parenthesis, part of the lyric and occasionally a comment:
Kevin Sharp - She's Sure Taking It Well (Tim Buppert, Don Pfrimmer & George Teren) from his debut album "Measure of a Man". RIP Kevin (1970 - 2014)
"She's sure taking it well
Taking my heart and my soul
You'd think I wasn't here
Falling apart watching her go
If she knows it's killing me
You couldn't look at her and tell
My heart's breaking and
She's sure taking it well,"
Mary Chapin Carpenter - Quittin' Time (Robb Royer & Roger Linn) an early hit she didn't write.
"But you pretend and I pretend
That everything is fine
And though we should be at an end
It's so hard admittin'
When it's quittin' time."
Dixie Chicks - Let 'Er Rip (Billy Crain & Sandy Ramos) a sassy album track from their "Wide Open Spaces" album.
"Why the drama, we don't have to drag out this situation
It wasn't you, It wasn't me, sometimes the chemistry don't ignite
There ain't no rings, no mortgage, there ain't any complications
It's just a hyphenated word, get it out, I'm sure I'll be alright."
Collin Raye - Someone You Used to Know (Tim Johnson & Rory Lee Feek) from "The Walls Came Down".
"Bet you didn't tell him
'Bout those weekends at the coast
Or how we used to argue
'Bout who loved who the most
Well I guess I won that one, 'cause I still need you so
But to you I'm just someone you used to know."
David Nail - Red Light (Jonathan Singleton, Melissa Peirce & Dennis Matkosky) from his debut album "I'm About to Come Alive".
"But she just looked me in the eye
Said it's over
Didn't try to lie
Or pick a fight
I might have seen it comin' that way
but at a red light ..."
David Bradley - Hard Time Movin' On (Rivers Rutherford & Gordie Sampson) from this Englishman's 2010 "Movin' On" album. The single got a great review by MKOC's J.R. Journey but failed to chart.
"hey it's me
I know it's kinda strange for me to call
given that we’re broken up and all
but I could think of nothing else to do
so I called you."
Ronnie Milsap - Inside (Mike Reid) It's nice that we can finally describe Ronnie as a Country Music Hall of Famer.
"But inside I die a little each day, inside I feel her slipping away
Inside if she knew I hurt this way, inside she'd find a reason to stay
And so I must keep this broken heart down deep inside."
Lane Turner - Where's a Sunset (When You Need One) (Michael Lane Turner) young folks may not know what the Roy and Gene reference is about - or even John Wayne since he died in 1979. From his self-titled 2009 EP.
"You fought like a hero, and you should be proud
you gave it your best, nothin' less there's no doubt
but she chose another, what else could you do
but look for a way, to walk away lookin' cool
tell me what would John Wayne do
where's a sunset when you need one
the only way to say goodbye
tip your hat like Roy and Gene done
saddle up and go in style ..."
Jennifer Nettles - Me Without You (Tim Owens, Derek George & Jennifer Nettles) from her debut solo album, "That Girl".
"There's a million little reasons
for this smile on my face.
Without those tears in my eyes
I bet you'd hardly recognize me
Without you, well you left the cage door open
and your pretty bird just flew."
Lari White - Now I Know (Chick Rains, Cindy Greene & Don Cook) from her 1994 "Wishes" album.
"I always wondered what I'd do without you
I found out today
I got up and made a cup of coffee
And time just slipped away
I dressed up and went out on the town
To places you'd never go
I always wondered what I'd do without you
Now I know."
Jimmy Wayne - Stay Gone (Billy Kirsch & Jimmy Wayne) His first hit.
"I found piece of mind I'm feeling good again ... "
"So baby, baby stay
Stay right where you are
I like it this way
It's good for my heart
I haven't felt like this
In God knows how long
I know everything's gonna be okay
If you just stay gone."
Ty Herndon - What Mattered Most (Gary Burr & Vince Melamed) His first single went to #1.
A lament by a clueless guy who knew all the trivial stuff but missed what mattered most. “I never asked…she never said,and when she cried I turned my head, she dreamed her dreams behind closed doors, and that made them easy to ignore”.
Trace Adkins - Help Me Understand (Wayne Hector, Steve Mac & Chris Farren) from his "Chrome" album.
"Help me understand
Why I'm not part of our plan
And you don't need me anymore
Help me understand
Why I still wanna be where you are
Even though I know in my heart
You don't love me anymore."
Tracy Lawrence - How a Cowgirl Says Goodbye (Larry Boone, Paul Nelson & Tracy Lawrence)
"These empty miles that are memory they just seem to linger on
She left me on this lost highway wondering why and where she'd gone
That's how a cowgirl breaks a young man's heart
That's how my whole world slowly came apart
With a cold and empty stare as if I wasn't there she didn't even stop to cry
That's how a cowgirl says goodbye."
Wynonna - Is It Over Yet (Billy Kirsch) from "Tell Me Why".
"Tell me when I can open my eyes
I don’t want to watch you walk out that door
There’s no easy way to get through goodbye
I’d probably try and talk you into staying once more"
Alabama - Old Flame (Mac McAnally & Donny Lowery) the song that got me into their music.
"There's an old flame, burning in your eyes
That tears can't drown, and make-up can't disguise
That old flame may not be stronger, but it's been burning longer
Than any spark I might have, started in your eyes."
Blake Shelton and Conway Twitty - Goodbye Time (James Dean Hicks & Roger Murrah) which version do you prefer?
"If we had known our love would come to this
We could have saved our hearts the hurt of wasted years
Well it's been fun - what else can I say
If the feeling's gone words won't stop you anyway."
Eric Paslay - She Don't Love You (Jennifer Wayne & Eric Paslay) from his self-titled debut cd.
"She don't love you, she's just lonely
She wasn't once upon a time
She used to dance when the band played
She used to be the trustin' kind."
the song concludes:
"I remember her in the sunlight
I remember her when she was mine
Ty Herndon - Right About Now (Michael Peterson & Darrell Brown) if it was a single, it didn't chart.
"Right about now
I wish I was more than just a memory to her
I didn’t listen somehow
When she said, you’ll miss me if you go
And I swore before I slammed the door
I’ll never think of you again
Oh, I was so wrong back then
And she was so right about now."
Doug Stone - Why Didn't I Think of That (Bob McDill & Paul Harrison) from his "From the Heart" album.
"Oh now that she's left
I keep kicking myself whenever
I start thinking back
He says he needs her,
tells her he loves her,
why didn't i think of that?"
Trisha Yearwood - There Goes My Baby (Annie Roboff & Arnie Roman) from "Where Your Road Leads".
"How could I have a love so fine
And not know what it's worth
Maybe this empty heart he left behind
Is all that I deserve
What kind of fool
Finds a perfect jewel and can't see how it shines
'Til she's all alone and cryin'."
Anne Murray - A Stranger in My Place (Kin Vassy & Kenny Rogers) from "Straight, Clean and Simple".
"I can see now
Where you might grow tired of dreams
That don't come true
I can see where
I have fallen short
Of the things I promised you
I can see now through
My tear filled eyes no love on your face
But I just can't see a stranger in my place."
Keith Urban - Tonight I Wanna Cry (Monty Powell & Keith Urban) from "Be Here".
"Alone in this house again tonight
I got the TV on, the sound turned down and a bottle of wine
There's pictures of you and I on the walls around me
The way that it was and could have been surrounds me
I'll never get over you walkin' away."
Victoria Shaw - Don't Move (Steve McCkintock & Victoria Shaw) from her self-titled second album.
"Who'd have thought the two of us would ever come to this
with boxes all around us, labelled hers and his
did we just get so busy that we let love slip away
there's too much pain between us and there's nothing left to say."
Zac Brown Band - Goodbye in Her Eyes (Zac Brown, Wyatt Durette, John Driscoll Hopkins & Sonia Leigh)
"I could tell that it was over
When her lips met mine
It was an emptiness in her voice
Hesitation when she smiled
She didn't have to say a word
It was just so plain to see
She had found what she'd been looking for
And I knew it wasn't me."
Johnny Rodriguez - We're Over (Cynthia Weil & Barry Mann) from a GH album.
That's all we are, we're over
And all that's left is to find a reason why
We're over, and we still can't say goodbye."
And now this post is over. What are your favorite country break-up songs?