I don’t love you anymore

Falling in love, or falling out of love, are probably the two most common topics for popular song lyrics over the past hundred years…and it’s likely there are more songs about breaking up.

From “I Get Along Without You Very Well” and “Stormy Weather” up to the present day, songs that express the feelings we experience when a relationship comes to an end are everywhere. Breakup songs generally come in two categories: songs of heartbreak, sung by the poor boy or girl who lost the supposed love of their life; and songs of bitter dismissal, spat out by the angry, betrayed victim.

While I’m partial to many great breakup songs from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, I have a couple of new favorites to add to my list. The first is by a great young R&B singer/songwriter named Mayer Hawthorne, who has had some success with a retro-soul sound on several LPs and singles since 2010. The song I’m referring to is an infectious dance tune called “The Walk,” in which the guy lusts after the gal but knows she’s trouble and tells her to leave. The “kiss off” lyrics go like this:

“Baby, what you doing now? You’re pissin’ me off,
But your hair is so luxurious and your lips are so soft,
Anyway you slice it, you’re doing me wrong,
But I love the way you walk now, and your legs are so long

Well your looks had me putty in your hand now,
But I took just as much as I can stand now,
And you can walk your long legs, baby, right out of my life…”

Another was a huge international #1 hit in 2012 by the Australian singer/songwriter who calls himself Gotye. The narrator can’t quite believe how cruel she was in the way she broke up with him, so he refers to her as “Somebody That I Used to Know“:

“You didn’t have to cut me off,
Make out like it never happened, and that we were nothing,
And I don’t even need your love,
But you treat me like a stranger, and that feels so rough,
No you didn’t have to stoop so low,
Have your friends collect your records and then change your number,
I guess that I don’t need that, though,
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know…”

My singer/songwriter daughter Emily wrote a song recently that hasn’t officially been released, but she has given me permission to include a section of the lyric, which cleverly takes stock of feelings that change in the arc of a romantic relationship:

“I like you too much to be honest with you, don’t wanna hear your heart hit the floor, /But I love you just enough to tell you I don’t love you anymore…”

For this blog, which will be Hack’s Back Pages Lyrics Quiz #10, I’ve chosen 25 classic tunes with lyrics that explore the anger, sadness or satisfaction that comes when you dump someone, or get dumped. Ruminate on these 25 lyrics, write down your guesses, and then scroll down to see how many you got right, and read a little about each song. Good luck!

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1. “It’s a strange, sad affair, sometimes seems like we just don’t care, /Don’t waste time feeling hurt, we’ve been through hell together…”

2. “I beg of you, don’t say goodbye, can’t we give our love another try? /Come on, baby, let’s start anew…”

3. “No, I can’t forget tomorrow when I think of all my sorrows, when I had you there, but then I let you go…”

4. “Why, tell me why, did you not treat me right? /Love has a nasty habit of disappearing overnight…”

5. “Since you’ve gone, I’ve been lost without a trace, /I dream at night, I can only see your face, /I look around, but it’s you I can’t replace, /I feel so cold, and I long for your embrace, /I keep crying, baby, baby, please…”

6. “Oh, baby, give me one more chance to show you that I love you, /Won’t you please let me back in your heart?…”

7. “A love like ours is love that’s hard to find, how could we let it slip away? /We’ve come too far to leave it all behind, how could we end it all this way?…”

8. “There goes my baby with someone new, she sure looks happy, I sure am blue, /She was my baby ’til he stepped in, goodbye to romance that might have been…”

9. “There’ll be good times again for me and you, but we just can’t stay together, don’t you feel it too, /Still I’m glad for what we had, and how I once loved you…”

10. “I ain’t saying you treated me unkind, you could have done better but I don’t mind, /You just kinda wasted my precious time…”

11. “Go on now, go! Walk out the door, just turn around now ’cause you’re not welcome anymore, /Weren’t you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye?…”

12. “Tearing yourself away from me now, you are free, and I am crying, /This does not mean I don’t love you, I do, that’s forever, yes and for always…”

13. “Get up in the morning, look in the mirror, /I’m worn as a toothbrush hanging in the stand, yeah, /My face ain’t looking any younger, /Now I can see, love’s taken a toll on me…”

14. “Now, you don’t care a thing about me, you’re just using me (ooh-ooh-ooh), /Go on, get out, get out of my life, and let me sleep at night…”

15. “I’ve given up, I’ve given up, I’ve given up on waiting any longer, /I’ve given up on this love getting stronger…”

16. “Sunshine, blue skies, please go away, my girl has found another and gone away, /With her went my future, my life is filled with gloom, so day after day, I stay locked up in my room…”

17. “Baby, baby, I’d get down on my knees for you, if you would only love me like you used to do, yeah, /We had a love, a love, a love you don’t find every day, so don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t let it slip away…”

18. “Loving you isn’t the right thing to do, how can I ever change things that I feel? /If I could, baby, I’d give you my world, how can I when you won’t take it from me?…”

19. “I don’t know how in the world to stop thinking of him ’cause I still love him so, /I end each day the way I start out, crying my heart out…”

20. “Maybe I didn’t love you quite as often as I could have, And maybe I didn’t treat you quite as good as I should have, If I made you feel second best, girl, I’m sorry, I was blind…”

21. “I’m so hard to handle, I’m selfish and I’m sad, /Now I’ve gone and lost the best baby that I ever had…”

22. “But it’s all right, I’m okay, how are you? /For what it’s worth, I must say I love you, /And in my bed late at night, I miss you, /Someone is gonna take my heart, but no one is going to break my heart again…”

23. “Since you left me, if you see me with another girl seeming like I’m having fun, /Although she may be cute, she’s just a substitute, because you’re the permanent one…”

24. “We could have been so good together, we could have lived this dance forever, /But now who’s gonna dance with me, please stay…”

25. “I know a man ain’t supposed to cry, but these tears I can’t hold inside, /Losin’ you would end my life, you see, ’cause you mean that much to me…”

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ANSWERS:

1. “Can We Still Be Friends,” Todd Rundgren, 1978

Music and lyrics by Todd Rundgren. Reached #28 on Top 40 chart in 1978. From Rundgren’s “Hermit of Mink Hollow” album.

2. “Breaking Up is Hard to Do,” Neil Sedaka, 1962

Music and lyrics by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield. Reached #1 on Top 40 chart in 1962; a slower version by Sedaka reached #8 in 1975. Original is from Sedaka’s “Neil Sedaka Sings His Greatest Hits” album.

3. “Without You,” Nilsson, 1971

Music and lyrics by Pete Ham and Tom Evans of Badfinger. Nilsson’s version reached #1 on Top 40 chart in 1972. From Nilsson’s “Nilsson Schmilsson” album.

4. “I’m Looking Through You,” The Beatles, 1965

Music and lyrics by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Was not released as a single. From The Beatles’ “Rubber Soul” album.

5. “Every Breath You Take,” Police, 1983

Music and lyrics by Sting. Reached #1 on Top 40 chart in 1983. From The Police’s “Synchronicity” album.

6. “I Want You Back,” Jackson 5, 1969

Music and lyrics by The Corporation (Berry Gordy, Freddie Perren, Alphonso Mizell and Deke Richards). Reached #1 on Top 40 chart in 1970. From The Jackson 5’s “Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5” album.

7. “If You Leave Me Now,” Chicago, 1976

Music and lyrics by Peter Cetera. Reached #1 on Top 40 chart in 1976. From Chicago’s “Chicago X” album.

8. “Bye Bye Love,” The Everly Brothers, 1957

Music and lyrics by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant. Reached #2 on Top 40 chart in 1957. From “The Everly Brothers” debut album.

9. “It’s Too Late,” Carole King, 1971

Music by Carole King, lyrics by Toni Stern. Reached #1 on Top 40 chart in 1971. From King’s “Tapestry” album.

10. “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” Bob Dylan, 1963

Music and lyrics by Bob Dylan. Did not chart as a single (but Peter, Paul & Mary’s version reached #9 on Top 40 chart in 1963). From Dylan’s “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” album.

11. “I Will Survive,” Gloria Gaynor, 1978

Music and lyrics by Freddie Perren and Dino Fekaris. Reached #1 on Top 40 chart in 1979. From Gaynor’s “Love Tracks” album.

12. “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” Crosby, Stills and Nash, 1969

Music and lyrics by Stephen Stills. Reached #21 on Top 40 chart in 1969. From Crosby, Stills and Nash’s “Crosby, Stills and Nash” album.

13. “She’s Gone,” Daryl Hall & John Oates, 1973

Music and lyrics by Daryl Hall and John Oates. Reached #7 on Top 40 chart in 1976. From Daryl Hall & John Oates’ “Abandoned Luncheonette” album.

14. “You Keep Me Hanging On,” The Supremes, 1966

Music and lyrics by Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland. Reached #1 on Top 40 chart in 1966. From “The Supremes Sing Holland-Dozier-Holland” album.

15. “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, 1985

Music and lyrics by Tom Petty. Reached #13 on Top 40 chart in 1985. From Petty’s “Southern Accents” album.

16. “I Wish It Would Rain,” Temptations, 1967

Music by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, lyrics by Rodger Penzabene. Reached #4 on the Top 40 chart in 1968. From “The Temptations Wish It Would Rain” LP.

17. “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” The Righteous Brothers, 1964

Music and lyrics by Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil and Phil Spector. Reached #1 on Top 40 chart in 1965.

18. “Go Your Own Way,” Fleetwood Mac, 1977

Music and lyrics by Lindsey Buckingham. Reached #10 on Top 40 chart in 1977. From the “Rumours” album.

19. “One Less Bell to Answer,” 5th Dimension, 1970

Music by Burt Bacharach, lyrics by Hal David. Reached #2 on Top 40 chart in 1970. From The 5th Dimension’s “Portrait” album.

20. “Always On My Mind,” Willie Nelson, 1982

Music and lyrics by Wayne Carson, Mark James and Johnny Christopher. Reached #5 on Top 40 chart in 1982. From Nelson’s “Always On My Mind” album.

21. “River,” Joni Mitchell, 1971

Music and lyrics by Joni Mitchell. Was not released as a single. From Mitchell’s “Blue” album.

22. “I Used to Be a King,” Graham Nash, 1971

Music and lyrics by Graham Nash. Was not released as a single. From Nash’s “Songs For Beginners” album.

23. “The Tracks of My Tears,” The Miracles, 1965

Music and lyrics by Smokey Robinson, Marv Tarplin and Pete Moore. Reached #16 on Top 40 chart in 1965. From The Miracles’ “Going to a Go-Go” album.

24. “Careless Whisper,” Wham!, 1984

Music and Lyrics by George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley. Reached #1 on Top 40 chart in 1985. From Wham!’s “Make It Big” album.

25. “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” Marvin Gaye, 1968

Music and lyrics by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong. Reached #1 on Top 40 chart in 1968. From Gaye’s “In the Groove” album.

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Found: Lost classics of the ’80s

Funny, isn’t it, how we sharply divide pop culture into decades?

I guess we’ve got to start a new decade at some point, so we choose Jan. 1, 1970, or 1980, or whatever. In truth, however, it’s not that precisely defined. The Sixties didn’t slam shut at the beginning of 1970. The trippy, dense music of the progressive rock bands of 1970-1973 had much more in common with ’60s psychedelia than the rest of the dance/punk/disco/new wave genres that dominated the rest of the ’70s.

The same holds true for the 1980s. The music of 1980 and 1981, for example, was still dominated by disco and new wave rather than the synth pop, Eurodance, metal and hip hop that came to define The Eighties music in general.

Me, I was 25 when 1980 arrived, and by 1985 I was 30, married, contemplating a family and, on the whole, less plugged in to the newer bands and styles. I mostly clung to my favorites from the ’70s (and ’60s) who were still releasing albums and touring. But I still stuck my toe in the waters now and then, thanks to friends’ recommendations and inevitable exposure through radio.

All of this came to mind as I spent last week searching the albums of the 1980s, looking for “lost classics” for this week’s post. In the ’80s, I hadn’t immersed myself in entire albums anymore the way I’d used to, so I came to realize I had a smaller selection of deep album tracks and “diamonds in the rough” for me to bring to the surface for you all to hear again, or for the first time. But I settled on a playlist of a dozen tracks that I think you’ll enjoy. Some are by artists who debuted in the ’80s; others were ’70s bands still making great new music. In any case, I loved these tunes and hope you will too.

Rock on, music lovers!

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“Trust Me to Open My Mouth,” Squeeze, 1987

A case can be made that Squeeze was really just singer/songwriter Glenn Tilbrook and singer/lyricist Chris Difford, with a revolving door of sidemen throughout their career, which has lasted into the 2010s. Their native England fans ate up the catchy, accessible new wave music when they first arrived on the scene in 1978 with the “Cool for Cats” and “Up the Junction” singles, both reaching #2 there. Their first big impact in the US came with the 1981 single “Tempted,” sung by occasional member Paul Carrack, which reached #8 on mainstream rock charts. In 1987, Squeeze had their biggest success here with the delightfully titled LP “Babylon and On,” and two hit singles: “Hourglass” (#15 on Top 40 charts) and “853-5937” (#32). A solid rocker that curiously didn’t click as a single is “Trust Me to Open My Mouth,” featuring Difford on vocals.

“Bedbugs and Ballyhoo,” Echo and the Bunnymen, 1987

Ian McCulloch (guitar, piano, vocals) wrote nearly all of Echo & The Bunnymen’s solid post-punk catalog with guitarist Will Sergeant and bassist Les Pattinson, and although they didn’t make much of a dent in the US charts, they were a big success in the UK, where they enjoyed five Top Ten albums and a handful of hit singles during their 1982-1987 heyday. While the 1984 LP “Ocean Rain” is regarded as their high-water mark, the follow-up, entitled simply “Echo & The Bunnymen,” appeals most to me, especially the fabulous “Bedbugs and Ballyhoo” and the minor UK hit “Lips Like Sugar.” Regarding the band’s quirky name, Sergeant explained, “We had a mate who kept suggesting all these crazy, stupid names. We thought Echo & The Bunnymen was stupider than the rest, so we went with that.”

“Captured,” Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, 1984

If you know little or nothing about this energetic R&B throwback band from the Jersey shore, do yourself a favor and track down their first three albums: “I Don’t Want to Go Home” (1976), “This Time It’s For Real” (1977) and “Hearts of Stone” (1978). They operated in the shadow of, and with considerable help from, Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band stalwart Steve Van Zandt, who wrote much of their material and produced their albums. A few personnel changes came as they switched labels in 1980 and continued on throughout the ’80s with less consistent albums but always a few great songs buried in the track lists. On the 1984 LP “In the Heat,” there’s a jewel called “Captured,” carried now by synthesizer and guitar instead of a sweaty horn section as in their early days. Southside Johnny Lyon’s soulful voice is the real trademark, and he’s in fine form here.

“To Be With You,” Simply Red, 1989

Dynamic lead singer Mick Hucknall’s flaming red hair was the reason the band was named Red, but one night a venue promoter was unclear about their name, to which Hucknall responded, “Red…simply Red.” Up on the marquis it went as “Simply Red” — and it stuck. The soul/pop group has sold upwards of 50 million records worldwide between 1986 and 2010, with a dozen Top Ten albums (including four at #1) in the UK, and two #1 singles in the US: “Holding Back the Years” in 1986 and a cover of “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” in 1989. From that ’89 album, “A New Flame,” I’ve always been partial to the infectious “To Be With You,” full of vibrant horns, a danceable groove and Hucknall’s magnificent vocals.

“The West Side,” Phil Collins, 1983

Starting in 1981 and throughout much of the ’80s, Genesis drummer/vocalist Collins had a hugely successful solo career running parallel to Genesis’s increasingly commercial path. Collins’s presence on the radio was ubiquitous to the point of suffocating for a couple of years — Genesis singles, solo singles (seven #1s between 1984-1989), Disney film soundtracks, one-off collaborations with artists like Philip Bailey, Marilyn Martin and David Crosby… I admit I stopped buying his stuff after a while, but I enjoy going back to his first efforts on his own, 1981’s “Face Value” and 1982’s “Hello I Must Be Going.” The latter includes a bold, instrumental big-production number called “The West Side” that still packs a wallop and is far more interesting than his commercial hits from that period.

“Mandela Day,” Simple Minds, 1989

Scottish band Simple Minds, led by the great vocalist Jim Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchill, were cult favorites in 1980 and 1981 before reaching #3 on the UK charts in 1982 with “New Gold Dream” and then #1 in 1984 with “Sparkle in the Rain.” These albums managed no better than the mid-60s on US charts, but in 1985, the band had huge international success with “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” the single from “The Breakfast Club,” and the multi-platinum “Once Upon a Time” LP with the US hits “Alive and Kicking” and “Sanctify Yourself.” Although their success continued in the UK well into the ’90s, it tapered off quickly in the US, which is too bad, because their quality remained high. The 1989 LP “Street Fighting Years” took a decidedly more political tone, especially with the stunning #1 single “Mandela Day,” in honor of the (at the time) still-imprisoned leader. Barely anyone in the US heard it.

“Looking For Eden,” Ian Anderson, 1983

After a hugely popular run as the leader of Jethro Tull throughout the 1970s, Anderson wanted to experiment with electronic music in 1980 as a solo artist, but halfway through the sessions for the album, called simply “A,” the record company insisted it be labeled a Tull album, even though Anderson’s supporting musicians on the project hadn’t had anything to do with the band. Hard feelings with the real Tull members, and a fan base that didn’t like the new direction, hurt the Tull brand, and Anderson eventually tried again with a true solo effort called “Walk Into Light” in 1983. Heavy on synthesizers and drum machines, the album sounds a bit dated today, but several tracks shine through, most notably “Looking For Eden,” with an alluring melody line and superb vocals from Anderson.

“A One-Story Town,” Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, 1982

The late great Petty was a true American success story that ended several chapters too soon when he died in 2017 of a drug-induced heart attack. He and The Heartbreakers played a popular brand of mainstream rock that clicked in the ’80s and kept attracting fans well into the 2010s when they had become almost elder statesmen on the rock concert circuit. Petty was from Florida, but the band was founded in LA in 1976, breaking through in 1979 with “Damn the Torpedos” and the hits “Refugee” and “Don’t Do Me Like That.” In 1982, the band released “Long After Dark,” their fifth LP and third to reach the Top Ten, carried by the Top 20 singles “You Got Lucky” and “Change of Heart.” As often happens for me, I found myself enjoying certain album tracks more than the hits, and in this case it was “A One-Story Town,” a hard rocker that never failed to please when I cranked it up at parties.

“Evil Empire,” Joe Jackson, 1989

I’ve made it clear before on this blog how highly I think of Jackson and his superb catalog of recorded works, from his “angry young man” new wave 1978 debut “Look Sharp!” all the way up through 2019’s “Fool.” His songwriting is among the best in the business, covering a broad range of musical style, genres, tempos and arrangements. He’s had his share of successes in the US, including the Top 20 singles “Steppin’ Out” (#6 in 1982) and “You Can’t Get What You Want” (#15 in 1984), and his albums performed well here throughout the late ’70s and ’80s. One of my favorites was criminally ignored by the public, the marvelous “Blaze of Glory” in 1989. The entire record is worth your time, but I’m particularly fond of “Evil Empire,” which plays on Ronald Reagan’s nickname for Russia.

“Love Like We Do,” Edie Brickell, 1988

When she and her band The New Bohemians made their debut with the endearing “Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars” album in 1988, Brickell struck a memorable pose at the microphone, with one leg crossed well in front of the other as her seductive voice wrapped around her charming tunes. The album yielded the quirky hit “What I Am,” which wasn’t really representative of her music, in my view. I would’ve selected the catchy “Love Like We Do,” which bounces along relentlessly. She met Paul Simon during her performance on “Saturday Night Live” that year, and they were married four years later. She has continued making records with and without the Bohemians, making some great music along the way, especially on “Picture Perfect Morning” (1993) and “Volcano” (2004).

“Kiss and Tell,” Bryan Ferry, 1987

As vocalist and de facto leader of the avant grade Roxy Music from 1972-1982, Ferry led them through a fascinating evolution from edgy dissonance (“Virginia Plain,” “The Thrill Of It All,” “Out of the Blue”) to ultra cool atmospherics (“Avalon,” “More Than This”). He has continued that direction on his subsequent solo projects, including the excellent “Boys and Girls” LP in 1985 and the jazz-influenced “Bete Noire” (1987), which strikes a fine balance between mysterious moodiness and dance-floor energy, and includes one of his best tracks, “Kiss and Tell.” He has spent a lot of time since then doing entire albums of cover versions, and even though some tracks are incredible (“I Put a Spell on You” comes immediately to mind), I have preferred his more recent offerings of new material — “Olympia” (2010) and “Avonmore” (2014).

“Horizontal Departure,” Robert Plant, 1983

When you were the lead singer of the finest hard rock blues group in history, it had to be mighty intimidating to attempt any kind of solo career, but Plant forged ahead pretty quickly, releasing his first effort, “Pictures at Eleven,” only 20 months after Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham died and put an end to the band. Frankly, most fans expected it would be guitarist/leader Jimmy Page who would emerge first, but Plant evidently had more fortitude to withstand the inevitable comparisons to the Zep tunes. With guitarist Robbie Blunt helping out, Plant cranked out some fine hard rock and subtle ballads on the debut and its even better follow-up, “The Principle of Moments” (1983), which include the hit singles “I’m in the Mood” and “Big Log.” A noteworthy deep track I’ve liked is the closer, “Horizontal Departure.”

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