With Halloween coming up tomorrow, I’ve had this one on repeat.
And while it’s not an exact science, it’s my personal opinion that there’s a Willie Nelsonsong for any and every occasion, which is just part of his musical genius.
Written by Willie, “The Ghost” was included on his 1967 sixth studio The Party’s Over and Other Great Willie Nelson Songs.
And while it’s an incredibly deep cut from a good 56 years ago, and certainly never won any awards or anything like that, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a top-tier, good old fashioned sad country song.
The lyrics are actually very simple, as is the message, with Willie opening the song by noting how loud the silence is without his woman to keep him company, as he sits alone and heartbroken as “the ghost” of their love and happy memories haunts him:
“The silence is unusually loud tonight The strange sound of nothing fills my ears Then night rushes in like a crowd of nights And the ghost of our old love appears
This strange world of darkness that comes with the night Grows darker when it walks my way And it laughs while I listen for the breaking of day And the ghost of our old love goes away”
The metaphor of his heartbreak as a ghost is hauntingly beautiful, and I don’t think it gets much scarier than the feeling of sadness and despair a bad breakup brings to the deepest parts of your soul.
And you certainly don’t need me to sit here and tell you that Willie Nelson is the master of writing sad country songs, though I’ve always wished this song got more credit for its simple ability to break your heart with just a few verses.
For me, that’s the ultimate way to master the craft.
I mean, if you can say that much, and make someone feel that devastated, in a two-minute song, then you’ve tapped into a new level of human emotion and understanding few can simplify so artfully and purposefully.
So tomorrow, once you’ve had a few bourbons, passed out every last piece of candy and listened to “Monster Mash” one too many times, go ahead and throw this one on the aux and relish in the greatness, and sadness, that is this Willie Nelson deep cut.
Sad country songs just make me so damn happy, even on Halloween… going to go listen to this on repeat and cry a little bit now: