When I was in college and prone to spending Saturday nights in a fine drinking establishment with friends, my definition of a good bar was one where this song was on the jukebox.
Needless to say, my favorite bars were not purely college bars three decades ago.
When I hear Patsy Cline's "I Fall to Pieces," written by Hank Cochran and Harlan Howard, I think of the Cotton Club on Highland Road in Baton Rouge -- a damned fine establishment, God rest it. And I think of a damned fine singer -- God rest her.
And I think of damned fine songwriting -- God rest Cochran and Howard.
THE LAST living link to the creation of a classic song left us Thursday; Hank Cochran is dead at 74. From today's Los Angeles Times obit:
Hank Cochran, the esteemed country music songwriter revered for the poetic economy and power of such enduring hits as Patsy Cline's "I Fall to Pieces" and Eddy Arnold's "Make the World Go Away," died Thursday at his home in Hendersonville, Tenn., after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 74.HERE ARE a couple more of Cochran's creations -- snatches of timeless bliss that likewise are entries in my book of damned fine songwriting:
Cochran was joined Wednesday night by musicians Jamey Johnson and Billy Ray Cyrus and fellow songwriter Buddy Cannon, who sang songs with him at his bedside.
In a career spanning more than half a century, Cochran wrote or co-wrote hundreds of songs recorded by Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Elvis Presley, Ray Price, George Strait and numerous others.
"He was a great friend, and a great mentor, and he was responsible for some of the music that inspired me to do what I do," Haggard, himself one of country's most prolific songwriters, said through a spokeswoman Thursday.
Cochran's name can also be found on the credits for Cline's "She's Got You," Strait's "The Chair" and "Ocean Front Property" and Ronnie Milsap's "Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me," the latter being the one he usually cited as his favorite of his own songs.
"People study songs and go over them and all that," Cochran once said, "and they tell me that's one of the most well-written songs, but that has nothing to do with why it's my favorite. It's my favorite because it can still cut me up just like the day I wrote it."
One verse looks at heartache from the viewpoint of a man who is unable to move on:
You must think I look bad with a smile
For you haven't let me wear one
In such a long, long while
Still I keep running back — why must this be?
Don't you ever get tired of hurtin' me?
"Of my top 20 favorite songs of all time, he wrote about half of 'em," country star Brad Paisley tweeted Thursday after hearing the news. "What a great guy and great life."
OH, WHAT the hell, here's another . . . one of my all-time favorites: