These Great Apology Songs Have Nothing To Be Sorry About

For some reason missed an episode of one of my favorite music programs, Sound Opinions from National Public Radio. Fortunately, I was able to revisit the show via the Internet but, after listening to it, I can say that I am literally sorry for not hearing it live.

Sorry was indeed the theme of the episode where the hosts, Chicago music journalists Greg Kot of the Tribune and Jim DeRogatis of the Sun Times, discussed the best apology songs in rock history. Among the most notable they mentioned were “All Apologies” by Nirvana, “I’m Sorry” by Brenda Lee, “So. Central Rain” by REM and “I Apologize” by Husker Du.

Here are some others that could have been added to the already impressive list.

Feel Like a Bullet (In the Gun of Robert Ford) by Elton John

Plenty of the Rocket Man’s tunes can fit this category, especially one like “Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word” from the Blue Moves album. This ballad from Rock of the Westies, however, offers one of the most heartfelt apologies in the history of modern music. The name in the subtitle, which I had to research when I first heard the song, was the traitorous friend who fatally shot Jesse James.

Jealous Guy by John Lennon

Just over a year removed from The Beatles, Lennon recorded this apologetic ballad for the Imagine album. “I didn’t mean to hurt you,” he repeats. “I’m sorry that I made you cry.” Just in case that ao

logy would not suffice, Lennon ended the album with the love song “Oh Yoko.”

Big Mouth Strikes Again by the Smiths

Morrissey in this track from The Queen Is Dead admits to saying some pretty mean stuff to his love interest, such as suggesting that she should be bludgeoned in her bed and desiring to smash every tooth in her head. Afterwards he compares himself to Joan of Arc being burned, saying he does not deserve to live among mankind.

Mr. Guilty by Loudon Wainwright

The folk singer-songwriter says he is sorry in every verse on this live tune from Unrequited, even though his legion of fans know that his apology is simply his characteristic sarcasm.

Baby Come Back by Player

Listeners can never be certain exactly what he did to drive the girl away, but the poor guy sounds sincerely rueful about the breakup. In the very catchy chorus he admits that he was wrong, as he repeatedly begs her to return.