Country Songs of Love Gone Wrong
Are you heartbroken? Maybe you have an anniversary or Valentine’s Day coming up, but don’t have anything to celebrate. Maybe you’re sad and don’t want to be cheered up? Or maybe you just appreciate a good song. Well, these Country Music classics are for you. Some consider them love songs. I consider them more “love gone wrong” songs. My dad calls them “cry in your beer” songs. These selections are by old school country artists, from 1951 to 1980.
- Songs featured in this hub:
- He Stopped Loving Her Today, George Jones
- I Fall to Pieces, Patsy Cline
- I Can’t Help it if I’m Still in Love with You, Hank Williams
- Today I Started Loving You Again, Merle Haggard
- Jolene, Dolly Parton
- Ruby Don’t Take Your Love to Town, Kenny Rogers and the First Edition
- DIVORCE, Tammy Wynette
- Crystal Chandeliers, Charlie Pride
George Jones, 2002
George Jones, He Stopped Loving Her Today
He Stopped Loving Her Today, recorded by George Jones in 1980 on his album I Am What I Am, revived his stalled career. The song won Grammy, Academy of Country Music, and Country Music Association awards.
He Stopped Loving Her Today was written by Curly Putman and Bobby Braddock, and has often been sited as the best country song of all time. It is the incredibly sad story of a man who lost the woman he loved, and only stopped loving her by dying.
George Jones was born in 1931, and passed away in 2013 at 81. He was often called “the greatest living country singer”. He was masterful at conveying the feelings contained in lyrics, and credited with over 150 hit songs. Jones was known for his easily recognizable voice and his musical phrasing. He was also known for his tumultuous relationships, especially with fellow country music superstar and former wife, Tammy Wynette.
Patsy Cline, I Fall to Pieces
I Fall to Pieces was recorded by Patsy Cline for her 1961 release Patsy Cline Showcase. It was a huge hit for Cline, and considered a country standard. The song was written by Harlan Howard and Hank Cochran, who went on to write numerous songs, both singly and together, for Cline.
Patsy Cline was born in 1932, and died in a private plane crash in 1963 at the peak of her career. Despite her relatively short career, she is considered one of the most successful female country artists with far-reaching impact.
Hank Williams, I Can't Help it if I'm Still in Love with You
Hank Williams was born in 1923, and died at age 29 in 1953. Williams was a prolific songwriter, and considered a pioneer of honky tonk music. He grew up in Alabama, and began singing at a local radio station in 1937. By 1941 his drinking was already problematic, and he had difficulty keeping band members after his original band members were drafted. It is reported that his idol, Roy Acuff once told him, "You've got a million-dollar voice, son, but a ten-cent brain." Williams was eventually fired from the Grand Ole Opry.
Williams produced 11 number one songs, and numerous other top ten hits. He battled addictions to alcohol, morphine and other pain killers. He was reported to have an undiagnosed case of spina bifida occulta, which caused him pain. He had rocky relationships with women, including first wife Audrey Sheppard, mother of Randall Hank Williams, aka Hank Williams Jr. Hank Williams had a daughter, Jett Williams, who is also a singer, as are 3 grandchildren. Quite a legacy.
I Can’t Help It If I’m Still In Love With You was released on the B side of the single Howlin' at the Moon, in 1951. It is but one of many sad, mournful Williams songs. Try these out for cry in your beer lyrics: “Today I passed you on the street, and my heart fell at your feet. I can’t help it if I’m still in love with you.”
Today I Started Loving You Again, Merle Haggard
Merle Haggard was born in 1937 in California, and died in California in 2016 at 79.
Haggard's father died when Merle was 9 years old. He was first sent to a juvenile detention center at age 13 for truancy and various petty offenses. He continued the same behaviors, and was detained a total of 4 times. In 1957 he burglarized a tavern and was sent to San Quentin where he saw Johnny Cash perform 3 times. In prison he decided to turn his life around.
Haggard started recording music in 1962 and had his first of 38 number one hits in 1966. Haggard and his band The Strangers, along with Buck Owens are credited with popularizing “the Bakersfield sound” in Nashville. Today I Started Loving You Again was not a number one hit, but still a great song with lyrics: “I got over you just long enough to let my heartache end. And then today, I started loving you again.” The song was on Haggard's 1968 album, The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde.
Dolly sings Jolene in the 70s
More recent Dolly singing Jolene with Miley Cyrus
Dolly Parton was born in Tennessee in 1946, and grew up, in her words, “dirt poor”. She has been married to her husband, Carl since 1966. She joined The Porter Wagoner Show in 1967, and continued appearances and recording with Wagoner until 1976.
Jolene was written and recorded by Parton, and released as a single in 1973, before the release of the album Jolene in 1974. The song is about a homemaker who pleads with a beautiful, sexy siren “I’m begging of you please don’t take my man”. Parton has said the inspiration for the song was a pretty, red-headed bank teller who flirted with her husband. The name “Jolene” was from a young red-headed autograph seeker.
Parton has 25 number one singles, and 40 top ten country albums. Jolene ranked 217 in Rolling Stone’s 500 greatest songs of all time. It has been recorded countless times by artists from diverse musical stylings.
Kenny Rogers, Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town
The First Edition formed in 1967. Ruby, released in 1969, on the album Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town, was a hit around the globe. The band changed their name to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. The First Editions had their own TV variety show from 1971 to 1975. Also in 1975, Kenny Rogers signed as a solo artist with United Artists. Rogers went on to have a hugely successful solo career.
The song is about an injured and paralyzed veteran, pleading with his woman not to step out on him, “Ruby, don’t take your love to town”. It was considered bold and risky to release such a song during the Viet Nam conflict.
Tammy Wynette, DIVORCE
Tammy Wynette was born Virginia Wynette Pugh in 1942. Her father, a musician and farmer, died when she was 9 months old. Her mother moved to Memphis to work at a WWII defense plant. “Wynette” was raised by her maternal grandparents in Mississippi, near the Alabama border. She was a basketball star in high school. She was married to a construction worker who had difficulty keeping work. She left him when she was pregnant with her 3rd child. She obtained a cosmetology license, which she maintained the rest of her life.
Wynette, who sang and played some of her father’s instruments, did guest spots on Porter Wagoner before being signed by Epic Records in 1966. She received her first Grammy in 1967. She had five number one hits in 1968-1969, including D-I-V-O-R-C-E in 1968 on the album of the same title. The song was written by Curly Putman and Bobby Braddock. Braddock is a long time friend of our very own Tom Cornett and TamCor.
In all, Wynette had 17 number one singles, and was named Country Music Associations’ Female Vocalist of the Year three times.
Tammy Wynette was married to George Jones from 1969-1975. They had a volatile relationship, attributed to Jones’ alcohol and drug abuse. They had a daughter together and continued recording together until 1980, and sporadically after that. Wynette died in 1998, after years of medical problems.
Charley Pride, Crystal Chandeliers
Charley Pride was born in 1938 in Mississippi, one of 11 children to sharecropper parents. Although he began playing guitar in his teens, he also had a love for baseball. He began playing minor league baseball for the Negro League in 1952. After a 2 year military stint, he had difficulty pursuing a continued career in baseball.
He started pursuing music in earnest, and was signed by RCA in 1966. He released moderately successful singles over the next year, before his 3rd single, Just Between You and Me, which won a Grammy. Crystal Chandiliers was on his 1967 album, The Country Way.
He is the only African American inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. He was named Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year 1971, and CMA Male Vocalist of the Year 1971 &1972. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000. Charley has had 36 number one hits.
© 2010 rmcrayne