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Episode 02 No Use Crying

February 12, 2011


Words and Music – Richard Allen
Produced by David Barratt at the Abattoir of Good Taste

Vocal and Guitar – William Thaumatrope
All other Instruments – David Barratt


No Use Crying is almost a pop song. It’s taken me a long time to fess up but yes, I confess, I like pop music. Rock music is often about sex but pop music speaks of love, albeit a particular kind of love, a love that is always first love, beautifully innocent, complete and perfect, even when it is sung by people who are old enough to know better. When I think back to the songs that still stick with me from my early adolescence they are songs like “Sugar (dadadadadada), ooo honey, honey (dadadadadada), you are my candy girl, and I can’t stop wanting you” by the Archies (who?), or “She ain’t got no money clothes are kind of funny, her hair is kinda wild and free. Because love grows where my Rosemary goes and nobody knows like me,” by the rather fancifully named Edison Lighthouse–perhaps the definition of a one hit wonder band. Of course, Neil Sedaka made pop into an art form: “Oh Carol, I am but a fool. Darling I love you, though you treat me cruel. You hurt me and you make me cry. But if you leave me I will surely die!”

But the Beatles were also a pop band. My producer who is doing thecompletebeatlesonukelele asked me recently why the Beatles are still so present in our culture and in our music, at least in the “west,” where I write from, and I thought that maybe it had to do with the way in which we now know in retrospect that beneath the irony and sophistication of the later image there still lies the exuberant innocence of youth. The later Beatles of “I am the Walrus” still contains wrapped nostalgically within it the Beatles of “She Loves You” or “I wanna hold your hand”—both quintessential pop songs. Which one is the real Beatles?

As Keith Richards says in his recent autobiography, people always mistakenly think that love songs are about an actual person. How can you write a song without the intensity of feeling derived from actual experience? Well, as Richards points out, more often that not, it is not just one experience but a number of different ones. And after all, if Keef says so it must be true. Furthermore, love songs are both real and imagined. We all know that Eric Clapton’s Layla is about Patti Harrison but it is also inspired by the beautiful Persian love story of Laila and Qays–that resonates from Iran to Khazakhstan to the cinemas of India–who turns into Majnun, the mad one, crying out in the wilderness for his beloved who is out of reach: “Layla, you’ve got me on my knees, Layla, I’m begging you darling please, Layla, darling won’t you ease my burdened mind.” In fact it is the riff of Clapton’s song that carries the near self-annihilating ecstasy of the lover as it buries the lyrics with its searing and swooning power (it is almost impossible to sing—just try it). But now we are no longer in the domain of pop.


Its no use crying
No use lying
No use trying to save the past
‘Cause I am leaving
Stop your grieving
We are over it didn’t last

Remember the time when we went to the island
Made love by the river in the banks of moss
Our spirits were free, you and me
That was our time, it will never be lost
That was our time, it will never be lost

I can’t explain
But don’t you complain
Your not to blame we had our day
Sometimes it happens
Love breaks, it shatters
And then its best to walk away

Hanging will bring no peace
Letting go will give release
Happiness is in your grasp
Take your freedom from the past

I’m just not ready
To go steady
And make a bed for you to lie
I can’t commit
We just don’t fit
You and I must say goodbye


From → Thaumatropemusic

  1. AparnaF permalink

    A good pop song! My bigger half liked the bass line.

  2. Geoff permalink

    Hi WT.
    I like this song – good lyrics. I noticed you sang the line written “Remember the time when we went to the island” first as “Remember the times that we went to the island” and second as “Remember the time that we went to the island”. Deliberately or not that is arguably better than what you wrote down, there is a nuance of difference. Also, the line “… blame we’ve had our day” sounded to me like “You’re not to blame, we had our day” – where the meaning is subtly different, I think, and I like the latter version as it is less pessimistic: yes, it is finished, but yes it was good for as long as it lasted, and we can move on without feeling guilty. Or am I nitpicking? I have found that following songs with the lyrics in front of me, I often see differences, which I have usually put down to the transcriber’s lack of time or lack of care. I assume it is someone employed on mimilul wage by the record producer in the case of celebrity performers. I would tend to trust the singer’s version, because s/he sings what fits more naturally, and finds (subconsiously?) a better version.

    Talking of nit-picking, I am old enough to remember the school nit-nurse – known today as the non-toxic head lice removal operative, if the schools can afford them. As a bit of nostalgia, can you not write something about the school nit-nurse ?: e.g. I fell in love with the nit-nurse. I was only ten years old, but the things she could do wth her fingers made me ever so bold. … If Rimbaud can do it so can you, See his ‘Les chercheuses de poux’.

    • Err….are you a scholar or something? Nice point about time(s) and right about the lyric “we had our day,” which I have changed to reflect your astute critique. Sloppy scribe, what can I say? But I am glad you liked the song.

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