Well this is it folks — it’s the end of another publishing year at the Toban and quite possibly the end of “Essentially A Playlist.” I don’t know who the Arts Editor will be next year and whether they’ll let me continue my list-making and ramble-writing loosely held together by a bi-weekly theme. If they do, well I guess I’ll see you in September, but if they don’t, it’s been a slice. My thanks to Maria Bowler for allowing me this space — I dedicate this list of songs about endings to the closing of her successful tenure as my editor.
Boyz II Men — “End of the Road” [from Boomerang: OST]
I had forgotten that this track was from the soundtrack to the Eddie Murphy flick Boomerang and not from a Boyz II Men album proper. Man, remember when Eddie Murphy movies weren’t targeted at five-year-olds? And didn’t suck? Maybe you don’t —it’s been a while.
Jeff Buckley — “Last Goodbye” [from Grace]
It’s a bit chilling to consider Buckley’s lyrics with the 20/20 hindsight of his tragic and early death. “Just hear this and then I’ll go / You gave me more to live for / more than you’ll ever know.”
Muddy Waters —
“You’re Gonna Miss Me
(When I’m Dead and Gone)”
[from Aristocrat of the Blues]
Chicago has given us so much over the years: deep dish pizza, Wrigley chewing gum, Obama, Bill Murray, the Bulls, and the blues — particularly the great Muddy Waters. Karmically I think the city is due a Cubs World Series win after everything they’ve shared with the world.
Paul Butterfield Blues Band — “Baby Please Don’t Go” [from Paul Butterfield’s Better Days]
Speaking of Muddy Waters, you know this Big Joe Williams song he covered even if you think you don’t know it. Read these first few lines and tell me you don’t start hearing the song in your head: “Baby please don’t go / baby please don’t go / baby please don’t go down to New Orleans.” The Butterfield version is a little more electrified, but still authentically blue and desperate.
Lou Rawls — “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine”
[from Best of the Doors]
I rarely go to karaoke bars, but even more rarely do they have this Philly Soul classic from the velvet-voiced Rawls. Which is a shame because it’s a great song and I absolutely own it. Seriously.
Bill Withers — “Ain’t No Sunshine” [from Greatest Hits]
Has anyone ever captured the feeling of loss after a relationship more directly and succinctly than Bill Withers on this classic track? Anyone who has ever loved and lost knows the clouds that roll into their soul and blot out the sun.
Adele — “Rolling In The Deep” [from 21]
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but it’s especially furious when a woman scorned has a voice like Adele’s. If this song is autobiographical, I would hate to be the guy that inspired it and now has to hear her wail “we could have had it all.”
John Coltrane —
“Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye”
[from My Favorite Things]
While “Central Park West” is my all-time favourite Coltrane love ballad, this mellifluous take on a Cole Porter standard is certainly one of the beautiful treasures Coltrane left behind.
Tori Amos — “Tear In Your Hand” [from Little Earthquakes]
There was a time when I would buy pretty much every album that Tori Amos and Ani Difranco released (I know, right? I went through an “angry woman” phase in my teens). I miss the days when I looked forward to whatever came out of Amos’ pen and piano. Little Earthquakes was the album that got the ball rolling.
The Doors — “The End”
[from Best of the Doors]
Never one to shy away from a cliché, I figure this is the perfect way to close out this particular column and perhaps the series. “This is the end, beautiful friend. This is the end.”