Daily Dirt:’There are sad songs … and then there are sad country songs’

George Jonea

George Jones

Daily Dirt for Jan. 31, 2022

Remember when we first fell in love with Carrie Underwood on Season 4 of the original “American Idol?” Well, it’s time to fall in love all over again … welcome to the three thoughts that make up Vol. 199 of the Daily Dirt.

The Possum

1. No song cuts to the heart of a subject like a well-crafted country classic.

Admittedly, it’s hard for me not to wipe away a tear every time I hear the late, great George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” partly because I know of the back story tied to Jones and his problems with substance abuse and his long on-and-off-again relationship Tammy Wynette. And also because it’s just such a sad song. There are sad songs, and then there are sad country songs.

Here’s a few lines from Jones’ sadder-than-sad anthem:

He kept the letters by his bed

Dated nineteen sixty-two

He underlined in red

Every single ‘I love you’

Pass the freaking Kleenex, please. With that sad state of affairs in mind, here are three other worthy country songs — and a key line or two from each — that were all hits and all classic tear-jerkers:

Gold medal: From “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood.“Right now he’s probably slow-dancin’ with a bleached blonde tramp and she’s probably gettin’ frisky.”

Silver medal: From “Whiskey Lullaby” by Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss.“She put him out like the burnin’ end of a midnight cigarette.”

Bronze medal: From “The Dance” by Garth Brooks.“Our lives are better left to chance. I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.”

2. Here are three more medal-winning license-plate spottings in West-Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri. Will any of the following crack our updated top 10? Stay tuned for the new rankings later this week.

Gold medal: RELACZN. A man, or woman, after my own heart.

Silver medal: GRILLN 1. Once again, a man, or woman, after my own heart.

Bronze medal: FRERX. I get it! And I may know you!

3. There are some big birthdays coming up in the coming days:

  • Garth Brooks: The country superstar turns 60 on Feb. 7. My favorite Garth song will always be “The Dance” (see the first thought of the day).
  • Jennifer Aniston: It’s hard to believe, but the former “Friends” star will be 53 on Feb. 11.
  • Jim Brown: The greatest NFL running back of all-time will be 86 on Feb. 17.

In the gone, but never forgotten category:

  • Hank Aaron: The consummate slugger and gentleman would have turned 88 on Saturday. Hammerin’ Hank passed away last year.
  • Babe Ruth: Ironically, the Bambino would have been 127 on Sunday. The two greatest MLB home run hitters (sorry, Barry Bonds) came within a few hours of sharing the same birth date, albeit separated by 39 years.
  • Burt Reynolds: The former movie star/media personality would have been 86 on Feb. 11. He died in 2018, but his toupee lives on.

Steve Fact O’ The Day Steve thinks “bleached-blonde tramp” might be the best phrase to ever be included in a song lyric, no matter what the genre.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. His life is a country western song.

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