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Patty Loveless Shows What Letting Go Means with Somber “How Can I Help You Say Goodbye”

Patty Loveless + How Can I Help You Say Goodbye

The song “How Can I Help You Say Goodbye” was first recorded by country singer Patty Loveless for her 1993 album “Only What I Feel.” It sold over 650,000 copies and was certified as an RIAA Gold Album. The label Sony/Epic received countless requests from radio stations to have the song released as a single. In 1994, the song was released as such. 

“How Can I Help You Say Goodbye” charted for 20 weeks on the Billboard Hot Country Singles and Tracks chart and reached #3 in June 1994. The song was nominated for two Grammy awards in 1995: Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song. CMA and ACM nominated the accompanying music video as 1995 Video of the Year. Aside from this, the song was nominated for Song of the Year at the 12th Music City News Country Songwriters Awards in 1994. 

Other versions of this Patty Loveless hit song were recorded by other artists, such as American actress and singer/songwriter Laura Branigan, who released it through her studio album “Over My Heart.” The song was included in “The Best of Branigan,” the 1995 greatest hits album. Melanie Safka did other recordings. 

Meaning Behind The Song

“How Can I Help You Say Goodbye” in three verses is about different goodbyes that a person has to bear in a lifetime; the facets of pain hit hard on anyone needing a cathartic resolution.

The song begins with Loveless, young and innocent, saying goodbye to her best friend because her family has to move away. In the second verse, Loveless then watches her husband pack his bags, leaving their home and walking out on their marriage. The third “goodbye” is a daughter being there in her mother’s final hours. 

Each time Loveless has to say goodbye, her mother, who is a persona in the song, seeks to give comfort, asking, “How can I help you say goodbye?” The chorus of the song gives a reality of coping with difficult goodbyes.

The lyricists knew that even if words like these provide some comfort, they are not enough. Beyond the pain, shifting relationships in people’s entries and exits in life are also highlighted.

Check out this video of “How Can I Help You Say Goodbye” by Patty Loveless and find comfort in its lyrical sentiment. 

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