Late last year, there were several things going on in my life that inspired me to write Don’t Cry For Me When I’m Gone. One of my best friends was moving. I been alive long enough to realize how relationships change when friends move away from each other. Relationships change over time anyway, but those changes seem to accelerate when we are no longer around each other on a regular basis. So that was on my mind. I was also reflecting on friends who seemed to continue to grieve for lost loved ones, even when they have been dead for what seemed like long enough for the grieving process to be over. I pictured the long lost loved ones telling their friends, “Don’t cry for me when I’m gone”.
That line stuck with me and I decided to write a song around it. When it came to the first line of the song, I would hopefully use this to set the tone of the whole song. I like surprises in my song. Since I’m writing a song about death, what better way to start it out than with “Some day I’ll die and go away”? I hoped that this would convey a light tone.
Some day I'll die
The majority of the song was written in the style of the southern gospel music that I grew up listening to in church. I didn’t want this to be a religious song. I don’t mention Jesus or God. The other idea that stuck with me as I put the song together was, “life in hell would be better than the life I’m living now”. I was able to encompass this idea in the bridge of the song:
The wings of fallen angels
The third verse of the song does say that I’ll be in a better place. But I never say that I’m going to heaven. When writing the song, my idea for the meaning of this line was that either heaven or hell would be better than the life I’m living. I don’t know that this is what comes across in the song but I’m completely comfortable with the listener coming away from the song with their own interpretation.
I remember singing this song for my wife for the first time. I think she thought it was ok but didn’t really have a strong positive reaction to it like some of my other songs. As I was writing the song, I already had strong ideas about how I wanted to record it. I thought an arrangement that would sound something like the Soggy Bottom Boys in O Brother, Where Art Thou? I thought that an arrangement in that style would help get across the humor I was trying to convey. Soon after I had written the song, I recorded a rough version of the song. It was the middle of November when I shared this first cut of the song with my wife. Her opinion of the song changed. She was able to hear the song in the way I had heard it in my mind from the start. I’ve re-recorded most of the vocals and remixed the whole thing to get it to where it is now…
Cry for me now
Singer, Songwriter, Entertainer, Storyteller