There have been many love songs written through the ages. Some of them are about new love and others about timeless love. There is another brand of love song though. The depressing love songs are the stuff that makes us feel like someone understands us when we are going through a rough time. That’s the type of song I would like to discuss today.
With the many songs that we have heard over the years about love lost there is one that stands out in the mind like a sore thumb. This song is the most depressing love song ever written or sung. “He Stopped Loving Her Today” as sung by George Jones is a classic country song that will bring any person to tears the first time they hear it. That is why this song has been able to maintain its long standing popularity through the many years since its release in 1980.
What makes this song draw in the masses? It really is a mixture of things. From the lyrics to the music and right down to the singer’s voice this song had “hit” written all over it. The song tells of a man’s lost love and his never dying love for a woman who no longer wanted to be with him. When she leaves him he vows that he’ll love her ’til he dies. She tells him that he’ll forget in time. She was wrong in that assumption. He clings to her until the very end. Keeping her letters by his bed and having underlined every “I love you” in red.
The song reminds us of the great depth that love can have for a person. It takes us to a place that few of us truly comprehend. That is to love someone who doesn’t love us until our death makes it impossible to carry on anymore. The songs popularity comes from our longing to have feelings that deep and also for our yearning to have someone love us the way this man loved this woman.
George Jones certainly portrays the sorrowful friend in this song. His sad voice tells the story so eloquently. He paints a picture with his words and voice like no other can. When he talks about them placing a wreath upon his door you can picture it in your mind. You can see all the friends standing around at the funeral buzzing away about this woman coming to see him one last time. You can hear them putting her down for having made him go through his final years in such misery over her. You can hear a strain in George Jones voice as though he were ready to cry himself. Yet the friends are relieved for this man because he is no longer in misery over this loss of love. They hadn’t seen him smile in years but they see the smile today.
It doesn’t matter how many years have past since this song was first recorded. We still feel like this man died just today when we listen to the song. That is what makes it the timeless classic that it is. It is also the most depressing song ever recorded. There is no other song that can top the feeling of complete helplessness that this song provides. Even the newer “Whiskey Lullaby” by Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss doesn’t top the depression of “He Stopped Loving Her Today”. It comes close, but no cigar.
The moral of the story is that is you are down and you want a good cry but you just can’t seem to get the tears flowing just turn on your music. Flip it to George Jones telling a story about his friend’s long time yearning for a love that never came back to him. “He Stopped Loving Her Today” wins hands down for the most depressing love song ever written. And to think that this song got George Jones singing career back on track!