Monday, November 23, 2015

Perfect Songs: Crying - Roy Orbison

Roy Orbison's Crying is my third favourite song of all time and the third song in my Perfect Songs series.
I only have a top three when it comes to songs, after that just favourites...plenty of them and they vary. Maybe one day I'll work towards a top 5, 10 or 20...or maybe not.
So Crying...
I've always loved this song, but in 1987 Roy re-recorded it as a duet with k.d lang, and it won a Grammy, and the same duet charted again in 1992. I love the harmonies of that duet and by that age, 21, I was well versed in the sentiment of unrequited love (quite frankly a recurring theme in my life!) and the song just got me, or rather I just got the song!

You know that thing when you've known a song pretty much all your life and then suddenly you get it!?! It takes it up to a whole other level. That's Crying for me.
Roy's voice is perfection in it, well, let's face it Roy's voice IS perfection, those high angelic notes and deeper alto lines, his range is terrific, but when he hits those high notes, you get chills, the hair raises on the back of you neck, and it brings a tear to your eye...always! And he makes it all look effortless too. The thing about Roy's voice is the melancholy and longing in it, coupled with the fact his life wasn't exactly sunshine and roses, and that adds an additional element to the sound.
And on top of that, he is so freaking cool, all black, the dark sun glasses, the stillness of his guitar playing, his strong barely moving stance with just a hint of rhythm within his body or moreso his wrist, and that stoic face. He'd give Johnny Cash a run for his money with his I don't give a shit attitude...until he opens his mouth...I love the juxtaposition of it all.
The song itself is a simple melancholy melody, almost with a country twang...almost. It pauses and stops and starts with the emotion, and the harmonies roar and shine and build bringing in Roy's falsetto beautifully, at that point where he lifts it at You don't love me...the pain in that line kills me every time.
The words perfectly describe that moment when you see a lost love that you haven't quite forgotten. Whether it be lost or unrequited love, and that sinking feeling that overcomes you, be it a look, a touch of your hand, and that devastation you feel. A feeling you thought was gone and buried, but it rises to the surface so swiftly it takes your breath away and wounds you simultaneously. We've all been there, and I think that's what strikes the chord, a simple yet universal story backed by a simple yet solid melody.
I was all right for a while
I could smile for a while
but I saw you last night
Three simple lines...but so much meaning and depth
I thought that I was over you
but it's true so true
I love you even more
than I did before 
Oh boy, that sinking feeling, that depth of misery, that hopeful feeling that deep down you know is unfounded.
Crying simply is for anyone who has shed tears over a loved one, or appreciates a singer with complete control over his instrument.
Here's the original version followed by the duet with k.d. lang. Her harmonies take an already perfect song to a whole other level.


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