Why Are There So Many Sad Songs?

Dear Ron,
Why are there so many sad songs? Don’t you think the world might be a better place if we heard happier music?  Thanks for any light you may shed on this dark picture.

Dear Chichi,

Yes, I believe you make a good point. That is why I appreciate the music of John Denver. I will take the liberty of quoting from one of John’s songs. It goes: “Sunshine on my shoulder makes me happy. Sunshine on my face makes me smile.” Something like that.
Why are there so many sad songs, you asked.  It is because, sadly enough, people love to wallow in misery. A case in point: the 9 11 attacks in New York. All everyone could talk about for weeks after was all the people who were killed, how they died, who was killed, the families and their problems, how much of a tragedy it was…yadda yadda yadda.
People just adore hearing about sad things, so it stands to reason that songwriters write sad songs and singers sing them. They are profitable, after all.  These songs are almost always about how the singer lost his “baby” to his best friend. And he goes on and on about how sad this is making him.
Now what I would tell this singer if he wrote to me for advice would be to get another “baby” There are lots of “babies” on my block and I am certain on his block as well. Don’t let it drag him down. That would be my advice to him.  Then he would be able to write a song about his new “baby” and forget about his old one, and I am willing to bet, make a lot of people happier in the process.
Sadness begets sadness in my experience.  There is happy music around. Take, for example, Jingle Bells. “Jingle bells jingle bells jingle all the way, how much fun it is to ride on a one-horse open sleigh. Hey!…”  Now this is uplifting! But we only hear it around Christmas time.
Why can’t we have this song on the radio all year round? It would help people’s morale, and it just might make a difference in this sad world in which we live. If people were happier, they wouldn’t do all the bad things they do to each other. A happy fella doesn’t go sticking his steak knife into his neighbour’s potbelly.
Yes, Chichi, the world certainly would be a better place if we heard happier music more often. Thank you for your letter.


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