The Saddest Song Ever

Been spinning Chet Baker Sings on the turntable recently. Quite a record.

If I were a single man, this is probably what I would play for someone who I was trying to seduce. You can’t help but be moved by his voice and the arrangement. It’s quiet and vulnerable and intensely personal. And on side two is what may be the saddest song ever.

It’s a Hoagy Charmichael song and the lyrics were based on a poem by Jane Brown Thompson, who is said to have died the night before the song was first played on the radio in 1939.  Many artists have covered the song, but the 1954 Chet Baker version is devastating. He sings that he gets along without you very well, but you know what? I don’t believe it for a second.

There are lots of sad stories behind the music we love, and Chet Baker had more than his share of trouble. His career was a rollercoaster of fame, addiction, incarceration, and terrible setbacks that nearly derailed his brilliant art. Hollywood once eyed him as a matinee idol, but the demons wouldn’t have it.

Listent Chet Baker Sings on your Spotify or whatever. Pick up the vinyl if you’re the analog sort. It will take you elsewhere for a time, to a place that just doesn’t exist any more.

3 thoughts on “The Saddest Song Ever

    1. Yeah, too young — but it’s almost surprising he made it so far.

      When you listen to the song through the prism of addiction, it takes you in a whole different direction.

  1. why is it our country that has all the mass shootings.
    Chris Churchil had a interesting column in the TU

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