March 9

Townes Van Zandt’s “For The Sake Of The Song” Tells The Complexity Of An Unrequited Relationship

The appealingly delightful Townes Van Zandt’s “For the Sake of The Song” originally appeared on the music legend’s debut album of the same name released in 1968. It was later re-recorded in a more stripped-down version off his self-titled third album.

Written by Townes Van Zandt himself, the song finds him pleading to a muse for peace of mind that he seems regrettably couldn’t afford. He apparently learned to live as both receptacle for and manufacturer of boundless sorrow and sadness. As the song painstakingly goes on, Van Zandt sings of disgrace and oppression, grief and pride, and most of all, a mess of being undesirable and undeserved. All that he can ever do to console himself is that it is all for the sake of the song.

RELATED: Here Some Random Facts About Townes Van Zandt Within His Brief But Colorful Career

It garnered so much praise that even a New York singer-songwriter noted that the melancholic ballad has a “sophisticated internal rhyme scheme that sings like a country song while reading like poetry on the page.” 

It Is Where Townes Van Zandt’s Poetic Background Comes In

Townes Van Zandt, on the other hand, explained that, unlike most Nashville songwriters who write by phrase or line, he loves to write by word. In fact, most of the best Townes Van Zandt songs are “where every single word is where it’s supposed to be.”

He also revealed that “For the Sake of the Song” was written out by word and on rhyme scheme. While this may sound pretty complicated to some, it didn’t seem so for Townes Van Zandt.

Make sure to listen to Townes Van Zandt’s “For the Sake of The Song” in the video below.


Townes Van Zandt

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