Tear Jerker: Stan Rogers

This Canadian folk musician has some incredibly sad songs.

  • Stan's tragically early death in a 1983 airliner fire adds to the emotional drama of much of his music when listened to now. Northwest Passage made me cry uncontrollably for the first four playings. The tenor harmony voice on chorus could be the last starving cries of a doomed man echoing off an iceberg. The song is a story of a modern man's reflections on and homage to the early northern explorers while travelling west in a car.
  • Go listen to "Northwest Passage", then try "Barrett's Privateers".
    "Goddamn them all, I was told
    We'd cruise the seas for American gold
    We'd fire no guns, shed no tears
    Now I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier
    The last of Barrett's Privateers."
  • "First Christmas". It's the experiences of a young man working the night shift to make ends meet, an abused teenage girl in a homeless shelter, and an old man whose family have put him in a nursing home, on their first Christmas away from home. The third verse especially can do it.
  • There's also "Turnaround", used at the end of the end of the TV movie, Terry about Canada's great hero, Terry Fox. Just the chorus "Yours is the open road/The bitter song, the heavy load that I'll never share/Though the offer's still there/Every time you turn around" hits you in the heart of what a man Terry was and what we lost when he died so all too soon.
  • "Harris and the Mare" is awfully goddamn sad.
    Now with the wife as cold as clay I carried her away
    No hand was raised to help us through the door
    And I've brought her half a mile, but I've had to rest a while
    And none of them I'll call a friend no more
    For when the knife came down, I was helpless on the ground
    No neighbor stayed his hand, I was alone
    By God, I was a man, but now I cannot stand
    Please, Harris, fetch thy mare, take us home"
  • "The Last Watch" can make anyone who has made their living on a ship for any period of time break down like a child.
  • "White Squall", about the sudden storms that blow up on the Great Lakes, and the consequences:
    And I tell these kids a hundred times, don't take the lakes for granted
    They'll blow from calm to a hundred knots so fast they seem enchanted
    But tonight some red-eyed Wiarton note  girl lies staring at the wall
    And her lover's gone into a white squall."
  • "Make And Break Harbour" note is a ballad of the last of the old-fashioned fishermen on the Atlantic seaboard.
    It's so hard not to think of before the big war
    When the cod were so cheap and so plenty
    Foreign trawlers go by now with long-seeing eyes
    Taking all, where we seldom take any
    And so the young folk don't stay with the fisherman's way
    Long ago, they all moved to the cities
    And the ones left behind, old, tired, and blind
    Can't work for "a pound or a penny"."
  • Many other Rogers songs fit the bill: "Lock-Keeper", "MacDonnell on the Heights", "Tiny Fish For Japan", "Free In The Harbour"... the list goes on. And on.