and other songs that make me cry just from hearing the opening notes. Not to be confused with songs that make me cry because they're crap.
1) Jersey Girl: As rendered by Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band. They actually played this in concert last time I saw them. You should've seen my friend Jane and me, blubbering away like twits. It's almost as if we actually wanted to be... oh horrors... Jersey girls.
2) One Tree Hill, U2: It was written for someone's funeral, for chrissakes. If it doesn't make you cry, you have serious issues.
3) Sing: the Carpenters/Sesame Street classic. Come on, you know you like it. And you know it makes you just the slightest bit weepy. Even the version featuring Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
4) Don't Take the Girl, Tim McGraw: Here's my advice to you -- if you've never heard this song, don't go out and find it. It's shameless in its tearjerking. Shameless. The girl dies in the end. This song is everything you mock about country music. If you have heard it, you know of what I speak and weep over it yourself. Even if you're a guy.
5) You Raise Me Up, Joshua Groban: Seriously, if you don't get weepy when the gospel choir comes in at the key change, I don't want to be your friend anymore.
6) Let There Be Peace on Earth: Cheesy hippie 70s schmalz for church benedictions and campfire singalongs. And yet... touching all the same. Picture it: you're in church, pre-renovation, holding your mom's hand at the end of the service, and she's not much of a singer, but she hits those high notes near the end like no one else, and it brings tears to your eyes. In a good way.
7) For Baby/For Bobby, John Denver: I'll walk in the rain by your side/I'll cling to the warmth of your tiny hand/I'll do anything to keep you satisfied/I'll love you more than anybody can... Jesus, I got teary-eyed just typing that.
8) The Rising, Bruce S. again: The only 9/11 memorial tune that gets to me. I can't take things like Toby Keith wanting to put a boot in the ass of every country that doesn't see things his way, or Alan Jackson singing about I-rack and I-ran. For the record, Iraq does not rhyme with Jack or black or back or sack. The correct use of Iraq was in Bruce Springsteen's recent R&R Hall of Fame induction speech, in which he turned it into a play on the phrase "rock and roll." Anyway, The Rising is the only song out there which states remotely how the rest of us felt after 9/11.
9) Calliope House/The Cowboy Jig: as rendered by Alasdair Fraser and Paul Machlis on their Road North cd. Traditional Scottish fiddle tune combined with an American classic. It's sad and sweet. It makes me want to force my son into Suzuki violin lessons so he can learn to play it for me.
10) Cleaning Out My Closet, Eminem: This is the one that made me realize that Eminem was once just an impressionable little kid trying to make his way in the world like all the rest of us, and also that I'm glad he's got music as an outlet. Best to keep him off the streets.
11) Across the Universe, The Beatles: It's been suggest that this is just another Beatles songs about acid trips. Whatever. It's still very touching, and gets me all verkelmpt.
12) Champagne Supernova, Oasis: This song is a beauty. It's everything that's good about Oasis. And it's so pretty it makes me all sniffly.
13) Tiny Dancer, Elton John: Another one that's just so pretty it makes me all sniffly.
14) Like a Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan: This is one of those powerhouses of a song that just dives right into the fray from the first note, and the music itself and the lyrics combined are so heady that you can't help but be overwhelmed. In a good way. Also it didn't help that this was the song they used in a pivotal point of a tv movie about the 60s a few years ago that I'm a sucker for; so now when I hear it, I think about that scene and just get... you know.
15) When My Ship Comes In, Rawlins Cross: I'm under the impression that this is a Nova Scotian band but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. They play rock music imbued with traditional Celtic sounds such as bagpipes and fiddles and eoliann (sp?) pipes. This is one of those songs that sort of take you on a ramble, in this case a ride up the river, thinking about all the good things you're going to do with your life.
16) River of Jordan, Peter Paul and Mary: Speaking of rivers, best not leave out this powerhouse folk tune about how someday, we're all going to be one people, and not care about skin color, religious differences, countries... whatever. PP and M did a lot of songs along this thematic line, but this one is the tearjerker. It's the fact that it starts out sort of calm and then you get to the chorus and it's like "WHOA!! Here's the chorus! Better sing along because everyone else is!!" My love for this song has nothing to do with the fact that Paul Stookey once stared at me when I saw them in concert for the entire first half of this song -- stared at me so that other people were turning around to look and see who he was singing to. It was both embarrassing and cool at the same time.
17) Rocky Mountain High, John Denver: If you grew up in Colorado, you know of what I speak. Good luck trying not to get choked up at this one. Especially the bit about they say that he got crazy once and tried to touch the sun; he lost a friend but kept the memory. You're a cold, sad individual if you grew up here and that line doesn't do something to you.
18) Amarillo By Morning, George Strait: Ah, another country song makes my list. This one makes me teary for a number of reasons it's probably best not to go into right here. But the fiddle in this song is that high, lonesome sound you hear cowboys talk about, and that's it right there.
19) Go Rest High on That Mountain, Vince Gill: Another song written for someone's funeral. Seek it out and just try not to cry. Vince Gill wrote it when Keith Whitley died, and performed it at a memorial service. Keith Whitley was one of the best songwriters country music ever had, but alas, he lived a troubled, rock and roll life. This is another one of those songs in which a gospel choir is employed to shameless tearjerking effect.
20) God Only Knows, The Beach Boys: Should I ever have a big wedding, this'll be the song my dad and I dance to. Technically, it's a love song, but it'd still make for a lovely father/daughter dance. No one ever listens to the lyrics anyway (case in point: my high school graduation song was "Forever Young" by Alphaville, a song about the effects of a nuclear holocaust -- e.g. the way people's shadows are burned onto nearby buildings and whatever when the bomb hits. This was our song of hope when going out into the world. Because it was called "Forever Young." "Mr. Roboto" would have been a better choice than that!).
21) Stay (Faraway, So Close), U2: So many things are going on in this song on so many levels, one can't help but get a bit emotional.
22) Theme from Star Wars, John Williams: I almost hate to admit it, but I, like every geek alive, get a little verklempt every time I hear those opening notes. I will cry puddles in May when Episode III comes out and I know it's the last time I'll ever hear those notes open a new movie.
23) Heroes, David Bowie: This is one that I have to hear unexpectedly, one that has to sneak into my day. It reminds me of being young, and punk/new wave/whatever, and wanting to save the world and fall in love.
24) Silent Night, and last but not least...
25) Be Thou My Vision: A gorgeous old Irish hymn, the lyrics to which I will now post here, in honor of Pope John Paul II...
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.