Poor poor pitiful me
Oh these boys won’t let me be
Lord have mercy on me
Woe woe is me…
If you read the lyrics of the song, you’d be surprised that this song is about failed suicide, domestic abuse, and sadomasochism! Yes, it is. Well, if you agree with me, we have our demons inside us and skeletons in our closet. Secrets that we like to keep just within ourselves…
Written and originally recorded by Warren Zevon, “Poor Pitiful Me” first appeared on his self-titled album in 1976.
Most noteworthy, it became a hit when Linda Ronstadt covered it the next year.
In the ’70s, Ronstadt had several hits originally recorded by other artists. Typical of Zevon’s songwriting, this is a pretty crude and risqué song.
His character is such a disaster that he can’t even kill himself: he puts his head on the railroad tracks, but the train doesn’t run anymore. He then meets a girl and engages in some sadomasochism.
Ronstadt’s cover was a cleaned-up version with the gender reversed. Still, her character fails at suicide, but the S&M (sadomasochism) references are gone.
Of failed suicide, domestic abuse, and others…
In keeping with Warren Zevon‘s sardonic lyrical style, the song’s verses deal with a failed suicide, domestic abuse, and a brush with sadomasochism.
Moreover, the song first appeared on Zevon’s 1976 self-titled solo album. It is reputed to be a friendly swipe at Jackson Browne, whose songs such as “Here Come Those Tears Again” and “Sleep’s Dark and Silent Gate” from The Pretender could be quite dark.
Furthermore, the song “Poor Poor Pitiful Me” was produced by Jackson Browne. Moreover, it was featured on Zevon’s eponymous 1976 album Warren Zevon with backing vocals by Lindsey Buckingham.
In addition, the track was later included on his greatest hits compilations. These include A Quiet Normal Life (1986), I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead (1996), and Genius: The Best of Warren Zevon (2002).
Furthermore, live versions appeared on 1980s Stand in the Fire and 1993’s Learning to Flinch. Alternate studio versions were included in the 2008 reissue of Warren Zevon, as well as the posthumous 2007 compilation Preludes: Rare and Unreleased Recordings.
This song talks about sensitive issues very prominent nowadays in the society. Suicide and abuse — these are just two of the main serious problems faced by people of different walks of life.
Surprising as it may seem, those people who we might think are happy-go-lucky and the life of the party are actually the most troubled ones. Moreover, we are just then surprised when we just hear these people committing suicide.
These issues are very alarming. Though we come from different backgrounds, we have our different reasons for living the way we are. And different ways of dealing these problems. But as much as possible, let us always look at the brighter and positive side no matter how hard life hits us.
Most importantly, cling to the Ultimate Being, God, whom life and all blessings flow.
Like me, I believe, life is still wonderful after all.
Watch Linda Ronstadt’s version of Poor Pitiful Me.
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Linda Ronstadt, Poor Pitiful Me
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