The word ‘home’ is, in my opinion, the most evocative four letters in the world.
Not only does it conjure up ideas of security, safety and well-being, but also nostalgia, missed opportunities, heartache and loss.
For these reasons, many singers over the year have sung about home and what it represents.
Here are 3 sad songs about home that have had a massive, far-reaching influence on music – Siouxsie and the Banshees not included.
Image by Kevin Dooley.
3. Cat’s In The Cradle – Harry Chapin
I may have no idea how to pronounce his name (Chaypin? Shapan? Chappin’?) but his only number 1 hit, “Cat’s In The Cradle”, has meant that Harry Chapin’s name will survivelong after him.
A tragic story of a father and son who are never able to connect despite the best of intentions, the song revolves around the lines “When you comin’ home? … I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then.”
The family home is the central point of the song, but like the characters, the listener never fully settles there.
It’s an empty, sad place, and this folk-rock song about what home comes to mean to a family has brought a tear to the eye of more than one hard-nosed businessman over the years.
You can hear it here.
2. In Every Dream Home A Heartache – Roxy Music
This song about living a plastic, alienated, utterly detached lifestyle in the name of glamour and wealth might sound relatively unoriginal now, but this is from all the way back in 1972.
Its protagonist is a lonely man who has achieved great success, with a house that any online estate agent could sell in a heartbeat, but who only has one companion – an inflatable doll.
How sad is this song?
Well, when flour-covered goth legends Fields of the Nephilim played a cover version, it actually lost some of its quietly disturbing power.
Listen to it here.
1. Home Is Where the Hatred Is – Gil-Scott Heron
Putting that last song about privileged problems into a certain amount of perspective now…
This is a song about a junkie (“you keep saying, kick it, quit it”) in a deprived ghetto area contemplating either suicide, homelessness, or returning to a miserable existence back at home.
Those are his choices.
It’s implied towards the end that it’s actually his home that’s causing his bad habits, associating his house with needle marks and pain.
This is one of the darkest songs about a home ever recorded – but it’s also a classic, from a true master.
Listen to it here.
Can you think of any other sad songs about home? Let me know in the comments!
James Duval is an IT Manager who loves gaming, architecture and good music. He writes posts for eMoov, who are an online estate agent. Get in touch at james(at)gkbcinc.com.