See You In Another Life # 2: the Goodbye Song


The Goodbye Song (WAV, 37MB)

The Goodbye Song (mp3, 6.6MB)


In the first episode we looked at fantasy lives. A favourite fantasy world most of us have visited from time to time is the love song. That country where you rhymes with be true and love you rhymes with no-one above you.  The album has two songs that take the love song formula and tweak it a little: Had and this one, The Goodbye Song.

If you’ve ever had to dump someone, The Goodbye Song is an object lesson in how not to do it. The title should really be Don’t Make It Any Harder Than It Is, but that’s too long for me, and gives away the punchline of the self-obsessed patronising lover.

When I wrote it I’d been listening a lot to Diana Krall’s album Glad Rag Doll, featuring songs from the 1920s and 1930s. I’ve always loved music from old music-hall songs from the turn of the century up to the 40s and 50s. My parents used to perform in a church dramatic club putting on shows that drew on music-hall and some of the great musicals like South Pacific and Guys and Dolls. So when I started listening to the Beatles,  Incredible String Band and Bonzo Dog Band, and found them harking back to earlier music with songs like Honey Pie and Waiting For You I felt quite at home. The first few songs I wrote were in the Honey Pie style.

Some listeners have also noted a touch of Leonard Cohen in Goodbye Song, perhaps the more tongue-in-cheek Cohen of I’m Your Man.

The guitar is played by Ged Brockie, a prominent jazz guitarist and composer with a serious professional music career to his name.  Gerry brought him in, let him hear Goodbye Song and an hour later we had all the guitar tracks we’d need, with a choice of solos to slot in. John Lawrence then added beautifully complementary piano.


The Goodbye Song

It’s time to say goodbye, you know the reasons why
It was always going to end like this
Oh darling
Don’t make this harder than it is Don’t try to stall for time, don’t try to change my mind
Let’s leave out the parting kiss
Oh darling
Don’t make this harder than it is I got a sinking feeling, when you said that we needed to talk
I guess that was the signal it was time for me to walk Look I’m not blaming but what else to do?
When the champagne’s lost its fizz
Oh darling
Don’t make this harder than it is


I didn’t come to argue, I just came to collect my stuff
No need to prolong it – don’t you think enough is enough? I see you’re still upset but let’s not forget
It was never exactly bliss
Oh darling,
Don’t make this any harder than
It needs to be
We’re in a prison but we’ve got the key
So let’s just slip out gracefully

Don’t make this harder than it is

Norman: vocal
Ged Brockie: guitars
John: keyboards
James: bass
Suzy: drums

Want to play it?

The verse is, in its most basic un-jazz chords form, C, Dm, Em, F, C, Bb9, C then F, Fm C;  the middle is F, Fm, C, D7, Ab, G.  That’ll get you started.

Here’s a solo acoustic version recorded at home on winter night as part of a series callled The Twilight Show.

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