Tears in a Bottle

Please, tell me there’s a song that makes you cry every time you hear it!

For me, there are several:

  • Jim Croce, Time in a Bottle
  • James Taylor, Fire and Rain
  • Fievel & Tanya, Somewhere Out There (An American Tail)
  • Michael Joncas, On Eagles’ Wings
  • Bone Thugs N Harmony, The Crossroads

I could go on, especially now with the pregnancy hormones, but you get the picture. The other day I popped in my James Taylor Greatest Hits not even thinking. Five minutes in I furiously blinked back tears not wanting my son to see me cry for no apparent reason. That experience got me to thinking. What is it about certain songs that syphon tears out of our heads and hearts?

I suppose the answer is different for every person and every song. Often, it’s a melancholy or happy but extinct memory we’ve attached to the tune. Sometimes it’s the strum of the guitar, the beat of the drum, or the perfect voice carrying into our ear. Other times, it’s the lyrics.

The words of songs transport us to different times and specific emotions. What novelist try to do with eighty thousand words, lyricists can accomplish in two hundred fifty with nearly one hundred of the count repeating in the refrain.

I’m amazed at the ability.


What song(s) make you grab the tissues?


8 thoughts on “Tears in a Bottle

  1. Wow. I can’t think of one. My niece is getting married at my house on Nov. 10th and she wants the first dance with her step-dad to be “He didn’t Have to Be” by Brad Paisley. The thought of that kind of makes me teary.

  2. There are ones I cried about at certain junctures in my life. Turning points; disappointments, lover’s spats, break-up with my first love.

    Colour my World – Chicago
    I’ll Get Over You – Crystal Gayle

    Those and others take me back to the memory and raise feelings of melancholy, mixed with a fair measure of good memories of what happened before and how survival kicks in. They remind me that I’ve before experienced that turning point when I stop looking back and start looking forward to life’s next adventure.

    The one that used to make me cry, but now gives me comfort is On Eagle’s Wings – Josh Groban. When Mom was sick and bedridden with Alzheimers for over a decade, I prayed for relief for her. They play the refrain at the close of our church services and I used to pray He would “…hold her in the palm of His hand.”

    She’s at peace now, and the song NOW brings me comfort.

    Great, emotive post. And, I agree with you. Some songs speak to me. Most of my current favorites come from the sound track of Country Strong.

  3. Megan, there is a song by Toronto recording artist Amy Sky, ‘I Will Take Care Of You’ that moves me to tears every time, to the point that I can’t bear to listen to it. Think, Robert Munsch, Love You Forever, set to music.

    • I bet you hope you don’t hear it while strolling though the market. That’s my fear…hearing a tear jerker at the most public moment. Random passer by says, “Jee, what’s her problem?” 🙂

  4. Movies are more likely to make me cry than songs, but I’ve always thought Harry Chapin’s Cats in the Cradle is sad. Every time I hear it, it makes me want to drop everything and go hang out with my kids. (Of course, if I hear it in the car while my kids are in the backseat fighting, then it’s a whole lot less terrifying. :-))

    • Totally get that! During the incident that spurred this post, Summit actually made me go from crying to laughing by randomly hollering, “Throw-up!” He doesn’t have turrets. At least, I don’t think he does. 🙂 Kids…gotta LOVE them!!

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