Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Remembering Boudleaux

Boudleaux Bryant was a songwriter from Georgia. Along with his wife, Felice, he’s best known for writing a long string of hits for the Everly Brothers in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and they wrote for many years after that. The Bryants are responsible for “Wake Up, Little Suzie”, “All I Have To Do Is Dream”, “Devoted To You”, “Bye-Bye Love”, “Bird Dog”... and my personal favourite, “Love Hurts”. Boudleaux died 21 years ago today, at the age of 67.

Love hurts, love scars
Love wounds and mars
Any heart not tough
Nor strong enough
To take a lot of pain
Take a lot of pain
Love is like a cloud
Holds a lot of rain
Love hurts
Love hurts
I’m young, I know
But even so
I know a thing or two
I’ve learned from you
I’ve really learned a lot
Really learned a lot
Love is like a stove
Burns you when it’s hot
Love hurts
Love hurts
Some fools rave of happiness
Blissfulness, togetherness
Some fools fool themselves, I guess
But they’re not fooling me
I know it isn’t true
Know it isn’t true
Love is just a lie
Made to make you blue
Love hurts
Love hurts

I missed the date for the 20th anniversary of his death, and that favourite of his songs had particular personal significance for me around that time. The significance having faded, it’s just a great song, as you can see from the performances by the Everly Brothers (1960), Roy Orbison (1961), Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris (1974), Nazareth (1974), Joan Jett (1990), Cher (1991), and Heart (Ann Wilson singing, 1995). The best, to me, is the Parsons/Harris duet, above, from the Parsons album Grievous Angel... but Ann Wilson and Joan Jett both do justice to it as well.

A great songwriter can’t live forever, but his songs do. Boudleaux Bryant is still with us.


The Ridger, FCD said...

Roy Orbison's is great, but I also like Rod Stewart's cover (on Still the Same).

Barry Leiba said...

Found that one on YouTube, here (attached to a silly Grey's Anatomy thing). Yes, I like it.

It's interesting that the lyrics seem to have morphed, so that everyone who sings it "recently" (like, since the mid-1970s) replaces "stove" with "flame", and "rave" with "think".

W.M. Irwin said...

Barry, the only version of “Love Hurts” that I know of is the cover by Nazareth, which I didn’t care for very much. I should have heard the Everly Brothers version of this song, since 560-WQAM used to play their old hits a lot into the mid-sixties. But speaking about what “love is” is a common theme to many songs. One of my favorites is “Love is a Stranger” by the Eurythmics. It came out in 1983, when music videos were in their heyday. Singer Annie Lennox put on quite a performance in the video. Like “Love Hurts“, “Love is a Stranger” also describes love as being painful, maybe excessively so!! As far as the Everly Brothers are concerned, my favorites were “All I Have to Do Is Dream” and “Let It Be Me” (although I liked the stirring cover by Betty Everett and Jerry Butler more).

Barry Leiba said...

Yes, lots of "Love is..." songs, many of them cynical or angry. Pat Benatar's "Love is a Battlefield" comes to mind. And then there's a great song, "Love Is", by Kate and Anna McGarrigle, and their sister Jane. The McGarrigles do it on their wonderful album "Heartbeats Accelerating" (the title song is one of their best), and Emmylou Harris covers it nicely. Here's Emmylou's version, on YouTube.

Are you the Bill Irwin I went to high school with? If so, send me email, or post another comment here with your email address, and I won't publish it.

The Ridger, FCD said...

Rod sings "flame", but he has "talk" instead of either "rave" or "think". He also changes it from "I'm young" to "you're young" - interestingly, the lyrics still work, but with a rather different meaning.

Lisa said...

I love this. I adored Felice and Boudleaux's music. This is a beautiful tribute. Thank you.