Posted by: Mark Nielsen | March 14, 2011

Fat Charlie the Archangel & Other Grown-Up Breakup Songs

“River on Fire”/tribute video to Gene Eugene

Those who checked in online with me over the weekend will know that I am in the process of getting divorced from my wife after 19 years of marriage. I am choosing not to write a lot about this on the blog, for various reasons.

Thanks and hugs go out to those who have been checking in with me and praying for our family. I’m still at the house in Skokie, our family is still getting along okay, and we’re working with a mediator on the details. Probably by about June 15 I will be moving to Carol Stream in the Chicago suburbs, to stay with my mother for awhile. Graham and Sue will stay here in Skokie, though Graham will get most weekends and summers with me in general.  Feel free to call, email, ask questions, comment here, etc. …as your encouragement really helps, and we have nothing to hide. Plus I don’t know how else to talk to people and spread the word other than to “just do it”, or leave the door open for others to more comfortably approach us.

One of the ways I am taking therapy through this process is in writing poems and songs, and singing or listening to music about relationships and breakups, especially the healthy but hard kind. (So for example, Alanis Morisette’s famously angry “You Oughta Know”, while it’s a great song, ain’t gonna work for me right now.)

To read the lyric for my own break-up song, penned last week (and which I’m still working on writing some music for), hop over to this post from last Friday.

So if you are doing or have done the difficult soul work that is getting divorced– or even if you just like a well-written song– then stick around. All week I will be posting lyrics, sometimes with chords, of a handful of lesser-known but really terrific songs about divorce and/or break-ups. I may drop in a couple video links, or link to music sites so you can listen for yourself. But even if I don’t, go check out these tunes and singers however you can… they’re so powerful. Featured artists will include Indigo Girls, Bruce Cockburn, Bill Mallonee, Bob Bennett , and today’s two songwriters, Paul Simon and one of my top ten faves, Gene Eugene (of the now-defunct Christian band Adam Again).

Crazy Love, Vol. II

(by Paul Simon, from Graceland – an album secretly full of break up songs and perky tunes with melancholy subject matter. This is the song that kept popping into my head the first month or so of my separation process… especially the line “He says ‘Well this will eat up a year of my life / And then there’s all that weight to be lost.’  ” )

Crazy Love, Vol. II

Fat Charlie the Archangel
Slipped into the room
He said I have no opinion about this
And I have no opinion about that
Sad as a lonely little wrinkled balloon
He said well I don’t claim to be happy about this, boys
And I don’t seem to be happy about that

I don’t want no part of this crazy love
I don’t want no part of your love [repeat 3x]

I don’t want no part of this crazy love
I don’t want no part of this crazy love

She says she knows about jokes
This time the joke is on me
Well, I have no opinion about that
And I have no opinion about me

Somebody could walk into this room
And say your life is on fire
It’s all over the evening news
All about the fire in your life
On the evening news

I don’t want no part of this crazy love
I don’t want no part of your love [repeat 2x]

Fat Charlie the Archangel
Files for divorce
He says well this will eat up a year of my life
And then there’s all that weight to be lost
She says the joke is on me
I say the joke is on her
I said I have no opinion about that
Well, we’ll just have to wait and confer

I don’t want no part of this crazy love
I don’t want no part of your love [repeat 3x]

I don’t want no part of this crazy love
I don’t want no part of this crazy love

———–

River on Fire  –  orig. performed by Adam Again. Written/sung by the late Gene Andruzzi, aka Gene Eugene. From the AA album “Dig”, circa 1992. See YouTube embedded above to listen. This one– by a Christian band I really love– is probably the saddest of the bunch, both because of the minor-key slow drone and the imagery in the lyrics. Even what’s not said is as powerful as what is said. Sadder still because Gene, an influential producer as well as a great singer and writer, died so young (in early 2000.)

River on Fire (Adam Again)
 
  [Key of Ab?]

Intro Dm 
F              Em                         Dm
What would you say if you knew what I was thinking?
F         G                      Dm
Maybe you do but you know not to dig too deep
F         C                        Am
What if I knew what you needed for sure?
     Em                         F
I've seen in your eyes you need more
     A
Much more.

    Dm                   C
And I could be happy and you could be miserable
Bb                   Bb         A
I'll grab a metaphor out of the air
    Dm  C    Dm       C     Dm
The Cuyahoga river on fire

F            Em                  Dm
What can you say, the impossible happens.
F            G                        Dm        Am   Dm
What can you settle for, what can you live without?
F              C                           Am
I remember the night I first darkened your door
      Em
And I swore that I loved you
  F         A
My heart was pure
 Dm                     C
You could be happy and I could be miserable
Bb                   Bb         A
I'll grab a metaphor out of the air
    Dm  C    Dm       C    Dm
The Cuyahoga river on fire

InterludeF  Em  Dm F  G   Dm  Am  Dm 
F       C                      Am
My open window, a dream in the dark
   Em
My fingers, your face
  F        A
A spark, a trace

   Dm                       C
And I could be happy and you could be miserable
Bb                   Bb         A
I'll grab a metaphor out of the air
    Dm  C    Dm       C    Dm
The Cuyahoga river on fire
Dm                     C                     Bb
I know a lot about the history of Cleveland, Ohio
               Bb            A
Disasters that have happened there
         Dm  C    Dm       C    Dm
Like the Cuyahoga river on fire

 

 


Responses

  1. The Late Edition:
    Lines on My Face – Peter Frampton

    Lines on my head from that one thing you said
    She spoke of strangers that don’t sleep two a bed
    Kept on trying, buying time, not waiting on fate
    Somehow got the feeling that I opened my eyes too late

    I saw where you came from
    I called out your name, but there’s no answer
    We lived on your doorstep
    I made you my wife but I don’t need that…

    Somehow I got thru adolescence in the 80s, a marriage, and a divorce without knowing about this great but sad song. Heard it May 2013 on Chicago’s Drive (radio) A-Z alpha-order-complete-catalog feature this morning (it’s a Frampton Comes Alive deep cut). Even the longing, beautiful guitar work almost made me cry, before I even looked up the lyrics later to remind me what I had heard. Gotta re-post this to my “Break Up Songs” feature at the blog from a couple years ago… Wow!


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