There are a lot of those slow, sad love ballads and breakup songs. But how many upbeat breakup songs are there? Driving to work this last week I heard two songs on CBC Radio2 that got the old brain fired up. I was on a mission to find more. The first song that came to mind has to be the supreme and unmatched leader in this category. I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor. The anthem for all women shouting out to the world I will survive.
The song I heard earlier this week could be an anthem for men. Paul Carrack’s 1987 single Don’t Shed a Tear. Carrack’s defiant F U in Don’t Shed a Tear carries a little bitterness but probably sends the strongest and coolest message to the former love who left him.
The video is mostly of a model walking around with cuts of the singer performing and doesn’t capture the power of the lyrics. Carrack, you will probably remember, was lead singer of Squeeze and Mike and the Mechanics.
The second song that set me on this project is Paul Simon’s 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover. A humourous song with the rat-a-tat drums. But what a gip! Simon only mentions five ways to leave your lover.
The Greg Kihn Band’s The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write’em), not only provides the title for this post but was a top 15 hit in 1981.
Australian New Wave band Mental As Anything probably have the quirkiest and funniest of the breakup songs singing “If you leave me, can I come to?”
Don't You Want Me by Human League Captures the best of the he said - she said tenet. What always struck me about this song, the guy is saying how she can’t survive without him. Is he emotionally immature or emotionally abusive?
Live video? He's not even singing into the mic.
Heartache Tonight by The Eagles . Glenn Frey singing. What do I have to say about this? It’s the Eagles.
Hungry Heart - Bruce Springsteen. An updated “live” version. Slightly more up tempo then the original.
Tunnel of Love - Bruce Springsteen. Had anyone else sang this song it would have been a depressing love-lost song. With Springsteen’s phrasing on the brilliant lyrics there is a message of hope.
You Give Love a Bad Name - Bon Jovi. I can’t say I was ever a Bon Jovi fan. I didn’t mind Wanted Dead or Alive. But as for breakup songs, you can’t get more rocking then You Give Love a Bad Name. Rocking, in the I’ve-got-big-hair-filled-with-hairspray sense.
Top Ten Breakup Songs.
1 - I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor
2 - Don’t Shed a Tear by Paul Carrack
3 - 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover by Paul Simon
4 - The Breakup Song by The Greg Kihn Band
5 - If you leave me, can I come to? by Mental As Anything
6 - Don't You Want Me by Human League
7 - Heartache Tonight by The Eagles
8 - Hungry Heart by Bruce Springsteen
9 - Tunnel of Love by Bruce Springsteen
10- You Give Love a Bad Name by Bon Jovi
To see songs 11-22 click here Breakup Songs Part II.
There are a lot of those slow, sad love ballads and breakup songs. But how many upbeat breakup songs are there? Can you think of any? What else did I miss?