A 1968 song by The Beatles, written by Paul McCartney, and released as a non-album single. The ballad evolved from “Hey Jules”, a song McCartney wrote to comfort John Lennon’s young son Julian, after Lennon had left his wife for the Japanese artist Yoko Ono. The lyrics espouse a positive outlook on a sad situation, while also encouraging “Jude” to pursue his opportunities to find love. Hey Jude went to #1 all over the world, and had the highest sales for any single that year. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001, and is regarded as one of the greatest songs of all time. Paul McCartney continues to perform it in concert, and sang it at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London.
Seasons in the Sun
An English adaptation of the 1961 song “Le Moribond” (the Dying Man), by Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel. The lyrics were rewritten in 1963 by singer-poet Rod McKuen, who thought Brel’s version was “too macabre”. In the original, the man dies of a broken heart as he says farewell to his friends, and to his wife, who has been unfaithful to him. Rod McKuen changed it so that the dying man gives his last words to his loved ones, and passes away peacefully. The song became a hit for Canadian singer Terry Jacks in 1974, and went to #1 around the world.
Cat’s in the Cradle
A 1974 folk rock song by Harry Chapin, from the album Verities & Balderdash. Partly based on a poem written by Harry’s wife, poet-singer and activist Sandy Gaston, the lyrics describe the relationship between a man who is too busy working to spend time with his son. When his son grows up, he is too busy working to spend any time with his father. It was Chapin’s only song to reach #1 in the US, is the best known of his works, and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2011.
Don’t Cry Out Loud
A 1976 song written by Australian singer-songwriter Peter Allen, with lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager. The song is about having to keep emotional pain to yourself. Although Sager wrote the lyrics, they seem to be inspired by Allen’s experience, as he was told to keep his “best face forward” after his father’s suicide when he was 14. The woman in the song has the same nickname as Peter Allen’s sister, Baby. First recorded by R&B group The Moments, it was a hit for Melissa Manchester in 1978, reaching #10 in the US and #9 in Canada.