Great men say that life is pain! Feeling grim over things we love and things we hate is not insanity, but a way of life. And, this is when the blues music becomes our constant companion. Listening to the painful stories of others makes our anger and unhappiness meld into theirs. For a while it creates the perfect placebo for an escape. There is no shortage of blue songs about lovers leaving, the world falling apart, and existence darkening. But, if it gives you respite to share these vile emotions with generations of musicians and artists, go ahead and crash yourself to the vagaries of life with some great blue songs. So, here we are with a list of the 10 most popular blue songs that might become your anecdote for sadness.
10. Further on up the road – Bobby “Blue” Bland (1957):
This melodious blue song describes how an abandoned lover wishes to see his/her lover being abandoned by someone else they love. The song talks about the universal law of ‘you shall reap, what you sow’ and dramatizes this point to bring out the apathy of the loneliness in a lovers heart.
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9. Born under a bad sign – Albert King (1967):
‘Born under a bad sign’ was a hallmark song that modernized the blues music. It’s painful, yet beautiful lyrics are still relevant in a world where many of us think we’re not creators of our lives, but doomed by destiny to suffer and die.
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8. Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton (1992):
‘Tears in Heaven’ is a song that describes the personal sorrow Eric Clapton faced when he lost his 4 year old son in 1991. For some time he isolated himself, but when he returned, he wrote this song for a drug addiction movie, Rush. Tears in Heaven instantly became a hit and got listed in the Billboard Hot 100 songs.
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7. Dust Bowl – Joe Bonamassa (2011):
‘Dust Bowl’ is the title song from the album by blues rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa. He describes the vile indecisiveness that love brings with it. Sometimes it lifts you up and sometimes it tears you down, and at the end of it, you feel like you live in a dust bowl.
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6. Hoochie Coochie Man – Willie Dixon (1954):
‘Hoochie Coochie Man’ is a blues standard written by Willie Dixon. He was intrigued by the mystical gypsy immigrants and their prowess in fortunetelling. Through his song, he describes the prediction to a mother about her boy turning into a Hoochie Coohie Man. Hoochie Coochie is a sexually provocative dance performed by women, and so you can put your own abstractions to the meaning of the song. This song was a major hit and reached number 8 on the Billboard Charts.
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5. Boggie Chillen – John Lee Hooker (1948):
‘Boggie Chillen’ is one of the most popular blue songs that introduced the element of rock n roll to the otherwise grey shades of the acoustic genre. Its ragged guitar tune has touched many with its honest emotions and when Hooker’s voice cracks, the audience can actually feel the pain of a broken heart.
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4. Back Door Man – Howlin’ Wolf (1961):
‘Back Door Man’ in many cultures refers to a man having an affair with a married woman. This song too describes the plight of a man in love with a woman, he can’t see during the day. He becomes a nocturnal creature, who slides in through the back door at night and walks out at the first call of the rooster.
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3. Sweet home Chicago – Buddy Guy (1937):
‘Buddy Guy is an American blues guitarists, and the pioneer of the Chicago Blues. His song, ‘Sweet Home Chicago’, talks of a mythical city, which is paradise for lonely lovers. Originally written by Robert Johnson, generations of blues artists have reproduced their own versions of this beautiful melancholic song.
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2. Rolling Stone – Muddy Waters (1950):
‘Rolling Stone’ is one of the first songs played by Muddy Waters and its words were inspired from the traditional proverb ‘a rolling stone gathers no moss.’ It describes the aspirations of a free spirited country boy who wants to go far and wide, and not become the like the moss whose life is stagnant and uninspiring.
(img source: guardian.co.uk)
1. The thrill is gone – B.B. King (1969):
One of the greatest blues tracks of all time, ‘Thrill is Gone’, is among B.B. King’s most cherished songs. It defines the hurt of a lover, when perhaps, he has been abandoned and all the excitement in his life has ended. He presumes, his love will miss him someday and repent for everything that went wrong.
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