It’s Loudon Wainwright III’s birthday

Is it weird to start a celebratory post with Suicide Song? What the hell? What the hell? What the heck?

I know I’m unhappy
I know things aren’t right
For instance last week
I got drunk every night

I know that I’m angry
I know I’m afraid
I rarely make love
I mostly get laid

I know I’m unhealthy
No doctor could doubt
My dreams are all bad
And my hair’s falling out

When you get the blues
And you want shoot yourself in the head
It’s alright, it’s alright
Go ahead

Do the monkey, do the pony
Do the slop, do the boogaloo twist
Cut your throat, Cut your throat
Cut your wrist

When you tire of worldly toil
Shuffle off this mortal coil
Turn your body back to soil
It’s okay, it’s okay

When you get hung up
Hang yourself up by your neck
What the hell, what the hell
What the heck

Or maybe someone will throw him a line. “Come up to my motel room, save my life”.

It’s not all loneliness and depression with Loudon. Swimming Song was on constant rotation in my life a few years ago, when my old roomie adopted it as his summer anthem. Of course it wouldn’t be Loudon without a little painful reflection, “This summer I swam in the ocean, and I swam in a swimming pool. Salt my wounds, chlorine my eyes. I’m a self-destructive fool, a self-destructive fool.”

Alex Chilton’s cover of Motel Blues is both¬†supremely tender and road weary.


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