Song of the Year #4: The Big Hurt


I *Swear* I wasn’t depressed this year. But this one is a case of a song I heard 15 years or so on KFRC as a child, late at night and it stuck with me for years, although I probably heard it only one or two times after that until for some reason on an iTunes binge I thought of it…. it’s one of those late 50s numbers that was a massive hit (peaking at #3) but you almost never hear anymore.

“The Big Hurt” by Miss Toni Fisher (Signet #275, 1959)

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I think it has alot to do with the absolute other-worldliness of the recording phasing effects (if I’m correct the first US top 40 hit to use them) that makes Toni Fisher’s enormous 50s Chanteuse voice (she was more akin to a MOR R&B singer in presentation like Della Reese or Damita Jo, who appeared a year later) seem disembodied from the the rest of the song, which leaves a haunting, floating, emotionally detached quality to the song, as if Toni is looking and documenting her own pains and sorrows with each time she announces “Now It Begins”

The swirling strings and soaring background vocals make it seem more dreamlike… or nightmare-like, cause this isn’t the 3am dreams you want….

It’s feels like a full on academy award winning music set up that details those sleepless winter nights chain smoking, sipping brandy and wondering when shit will stop hurting. And at the end of it you just go to sleep at 4am, to be back up at 7am, to dress, shower, go to work and pretend that nothing is wrong during the daylight hours.

….and to hope that there aren’t rings around your eyes.

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