Tearjerkers From The flyPod

I have two "music barometers," reactions that tell me that a piece of music is a keeper. The first is goosebumps. The second is tears, and there's a whole stable of songs, pieces, movements that are guaranteed to open the floodgates. Here are some:

Altan - "Dobbin's Flowery Vale", Harvest Storm

This is a traditional Irish folk song usually played on the fiddle. Altan rendered it on the flute and that makes all the difference.

This Mortal Coil - "Ivy and Neet", Filigree & Shadow

4AD had a very strange stable of artists back in its day, but the compilation albums, released under the name This Mortal Coil, came up with some truly breathtaking music.

Loreena McKennitt - "The Mummer's Dance", The Book of Secrets

It's not that this song, arguably McKennitt's most popular, is so sad. It's that this was playing when I heard that my only grandmother, the last of her generation in my family, had died.

Crowded House - "Fingers of Love", Together Alone

For me, two Crowded House songs are guaranteed weepers. "Don't Dream It's Over," is too easy. So "Fingers of Love" gets the nod.

And when it comes to classical, the list is endless. So I'll just mention one: The 3rd Movement of Brahms 3rd Symphony marks the moment when I diverged from my parents (opera lovers) into a lifelong affair with instrumental music, and I still can't here it without tears.

So tell me...what music brings on the tears for you?


Most Irish music makes me tear up but for sure Colin Hays "I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You".
I don't know about tears, but a song on an album I dug out for the drive home today hit me for being so sad, happy, and comfortable all at once... "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" by Bob Dylan.

"Helpless" by Neil Young and "Spaceboy" or "Thirty-Three" by The Smashing Pumpkins always dredge up the feelings, as well as "Tangerine" by Led Zeppelin. All mostly for the same reasons you site with Loreena McKennitt.
Altan is one of my favorite Irish trad bands...next to the Bothy Band, but the Bothy Band isn't around any more. I've seen Altan live twice - they are very, very impressive.

You should come on over to the Stary Plough in Berkeley where I play Irish with some locals. Sunday nights 8:00 PM till we get tired.

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Mary, Windspike...I'm a sucker for Irish, modern or traditional. Maybe it's my Irish ancestry. I've been to Ireland a number of times and can't get enough of the Emerald Isle.

So, WS, this Sunday? Every Sunday?

Fred, not a Dylan fan, I have to say, but of the others you mentioned...Smashing Pumpkins...definitely! And Led Zepplin, always! "The Rain Song," does it for me.
4 Non Blondes. Every time I hear "What's Going On?" I literally stab myself in the eye with any sharp object I can grab. Even though I'm extremely manly (sorry ladies, I'm taken) the resulting gaping would causes me to shed a single tear.
Rex! We've missed you man. How's the 'Future-President-o-the-US' doing? As for that manly response...one manly tear, I can see that.
you mean overwhelming-throat-closing-sobbing up? "Once I was (a Soldier)" by Tim Buckley. Also, his son, Jeff, did an unbelievable cover of Leonard Cohen's "Halelujah". It isn't just the songs, haunting as they are, it's also their sad life stories.

Big fan of the celtic, too, I used to order odd artists through Green Linnet Records. I love Altan's The Red Crow album.

I envy your having been to Ireland a few times (that explains your shiny green skin). Husband & I are planning a Scotland-Ireland trip in a couple yrs for my roots. To see his roots we'd have to go to Poland or The Ukraine. ~~ D.K.
I remember listening to Loreena McKennitt when I was younger. My mom grew up a few towns away from her in Manitoba
Anything John Lennon sang with the Beatles, Harry Nilsson, "Surrender" by Cheap Trick, "Another Brick In The Wall", and "Ooh-La-La" by the Faces.
D.K., actually it's been more than a few...twice for business, three times for pleasure. Oddly I've never travelled there to look for my own ancestors, just my father-in-law's.

Graeme, another favorite of mine from the Great White Norith... Natalie MacMaster.

Lew right you are about the Beatles, and as far as Pink Floyd goes (at least from the The Wall), it would have to be "Goodbye Blue Skies".
All of my relatives are in Ireland, so Danny Boy usually does it for me. But nothing opens the floodgates quite like the theme song to Barney. Damn that purple dinosaur.
Every sunday - execpting some wacky holidays. Planning on being there this eve unless traffic over the bridge is too wacky.
Oh, Kathy's Song - Simon and Garfunkel always gets me.
My brother's stuff always makes me cry.
Maria Callas when she sings La Mamma Morta...it is the song in Tom Hanks' movie "Philadelphia" that at some point in the movie listening to this song with his lawyer (Denzel)...he explains the love and torment that Maddalena feels at the death by fire of her mother from the mobs of the French Revolution...she knows that she is alone.

Carl Orff's Carmena Burana gives me goosebumps it is sooo epic.
I did a list last month, but of course there wasn't enough room for them all. So a couple more:

Tinariwen - Arawan: Traditional Malian music done with electrified instruments; this track is 100% goosebump-worthy, and also terribly sad...even if you don't read the translation in the liner notes (it's about a village that disappears because of drought).

Dave Alvin - California Snow: A Border Patrol agent with a fucked-up personal life finds the bodies of people who died trying to cross. I tear up just thinking about this one.
WS, I will try to come some Sunday, just obviously last night.

Libby, that's very cool. My own brother is not musical.

Sumo, Orff! Definitely. How about Placido Domingo singing "E lucevan le stella" from Tosca? Gives me the goosebumps everytime.

Tom, I'm going to check the former--Tinariwen. Always looking for something different...in additiion to "goosebump-worthy".
I have never listened to any of those, but I will check them out.

The only music that really gets me is Josh Groban. Songs like Per Te and Alejate and a few others. And Weird Al's "White and Nerdy," but that is because I laugh pretty hard thinking of people I know like that
I forgot about Louis Armstrong's version of "What a Wonderful World" and a good version of the National Anthem

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