Music History

The Best Albums Written By Broken Hearts

September 1, 2015

It is often said that misery is creativity’s best muse. Many albums have been written about broken hearts, but when a brokenhearted songwriter begins to write about the pain they’re feeling, what comes is often some of the best music of their career. We’ve compiled a list of the best albums written by heartbroken songwriters who turned their suffering into some of the most successful and memorable music they ever wrote.

 

Rumours – Fleetwood Mac

Rumours - Fleetwood Mac

There is no question that Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 album Rumours is the most fitting album for the theme of this list. Rumours is not only the most famous breakup album of all time, but it also marks the pinnacle of the band’s success.

Rumours was written during the most tumultuous period of Fleetwood Mac’s history. As they began working on what would become Rumours, every romantic relationship within the band shattered simultaneously. Singer Stevie Nicks and guitarist/vocalist Lindsey Buckingham broke up after years of being together. Stevie began a complicated fling with drummer Mick Fleetwood whose marriage to Jenny Boyd (sister of George Harrison’s, and later Eric Clapton’s, ex-wife, Pattie Boyd) finally ended for good after marrying, divorcing, and remarrying again. At the same time, keyboardist/vocalist Christine McVie and bassist John McVie also filed for divorce. This all happened in 1976 while the band was spending countless hours in recording studios together.

It was this emotional chaos that inspired every single track on Rumours and produced some of the decade’s most iconic songs such as “Dreams“, “The Chain“, “Gold Dust Woman“, “Second Hand News“, “You Make Loving Fun“, and “Go Your Own Way“. Throughout the entire album – from the lyrics to the music to the vocal delivery – the underlying tension of the heartache infecting the band is palpable.

Originally released on February 4, 1977, Rumours has gone platinum 19 times in the U.S. and 11 times in the U.K. It has sold over 40 million copies and has spent 31 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Rumours received the Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards in 1978 and was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2003. It has been included on both VH1’s 100 Greatest Albums and Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time lists. Rumours is the 9th best selling album of all time with over 40 million copies sold.

Fleetwood Mac

Tragic Kingdom – No Doubt

Tragic Kingdom

Released on October 10, 1995, Tragic Kingdom propelled California third-wave ska revival and pop band No Doubt onto the mainstream music scene.

No Doubt underwent serious shifts in the early ’90s when Eric Stefani (the creative force and leader of the group) decided he was leaving the band at the same time that bassist Tony Kanal ended his seven year relationship with vocalist Gwen Stefani. Instead of falling apart, No Doubt spent the next two years morphing into the sound and identity that would solidify their musical career.

Devastated by the end of her relationship, and processing the loss of her brother from the band, Gwen began writing songs for the first time. Falling in love with the craft, she channeled her heartache into the collection of vulnerable and assertive songs that would sculpt the album. Most notably, the tracks “Don’t Speak“, “End It On This“, “Happy Now?“, “Sunday Morning“, and “Excuse Me Mr.” capture Gwen’s devastation, bitterness and process of acceptance of losing the relationship that she thought would grow into a lifelong marriage.

While Tragic Kingdom marked the end of No Doubt’s first chapter as a band (it would be the last record Eric Stefani was featured on), it was also the beginning of No Doubt’s new identity as a band, Gwen’s role as lead songwriter, and Gwen and Tony’s new platonic working relationship. Reaching #1 on the Billboard 200 chart in both 1996 and 2012 and achieving two #1 singles on the Top 40 Mainstream charts, Tragic Kingdom transformed No Doubt from an obscure indie ska band to one of the biggest bands of the ’90s. Tragic Kingdom remains their most successful album to date having sold over 16 million copies worldwide and has been certified Diamond (in the U.S. and Canada), triple Platinum (in Australia) and Platinum (in the UK) status by the RIAA.

Gwen Stefani and Tony Kanal

Blood On the Tracks – Bob Dylan

Blood On The Tracks

Blood On The Tracks has been called Bob Dylan’s most vulnerable and transparent record. Released on January 20, 1975, the album was the product of a creative resurgence that came from the disintegration of his 11 year marriage to his first wife, Sara Lowndes.

After getting married in November of 1965, Dylan began to search out a quieter, more rural life in Woodstock with his quickly growing family away from the invasive expectations of fame. After his motorcycle crash in 1966, Dylan evolved from a substance-using cultural icon into a dedicated father whose “deepest dream” was to live a structured family life. Soon, that lifestyle proved to fall short for Dylan and by the end of the decade he was beginning to yearn once again for his rock and roll lifestyle.

By early 1974 he was having multiple affairs and once again began touring stadiums with The Band and without Sara. The old Dylan was back. He returned to his habits of smoking and drinking and by summer he and Sara had separated.

It was during their separation that Dylan wrote his most personally revealing album, Blood On The Tracks. The 33-year-old Dylan wrote all of his self-proclaimed “private songs” over the course of 2 months on a farm in Minnesota. While his girlfriend Ellen Bernstein visited often, the absent Sara was the focus of the album.

At least half of the songs on the album are considered to be directly about Sara – a rare vulnerability for someone who claims he doesn’t “write confessional songs.” “Tangled Up In Blue” describes how Sara had been married when they first met and was “soon to be divorced” while “Shelter From The Storm” reflects on the nurturing protection Sara provided him away from the chaos of his public life. “Idiot Wind” was a severe lashing against Sara and is viewed as the stark opposite of his earlier love song to her, 1966’s “Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands“. “If You See Her Say Hello” and “You’re A Big Girl Now” are melancholy parting songs about her. While he would later deny that the album was about his marriage, this wasn’t the case initially. In a radio interview with Mary Travers in April of 1975, he said, “A lot of people tell me they enjoyed that album. It’s hard for me to relate to that – I mean, people enjoying that kind of pain.”

But people did enjoy the heartache-inspired album. Blood On The Tracks sold more than 1 million copies within two months of its release, reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Chart and is one of Dylan’s best-selling albums earning the certification of Double-Platinum by the RIAA.

Bob and Sara Dylan

Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs – Derek and the Dominos

Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs - Album Art

The love affair of Eric Clapton and Pattie Boyd is a well documented one in music history. The two met through Clapton’s best friend and Pattie’s husband, former Beatle, George Harrison. Boyd has proven to be quite the rock ‘n’ roll muse inspiring Harrison’s “Something“, “I Need You“, and “For You Blue” in addition to the 1970 Derek and The Dominos album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.

Eric Clapton and George Harrison first met in December of 1964 at The Beatles’ Christmas Show at the Hammersmith Odeon. Over the course of the next few years, Clapton and Harrison became best friends and played on each others’ recordings. By the time 1969 came around, Clapton had developed strong feelings for Boyd and although he dated and lived with her younger sister Paula during this period, he became more and more direct about his feelings for Pattie. Her loyalty to Harrison left Clapton suffering from unrequited love that would eventually fuel the first and only Derek and The Dominos album. Adding to the complexity of this love triangle, Clapton played on Harrison’s solo album, the aptly titled All Things Must Pass in the same year as the creation of Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs – the two albums were both released in November of 1970.

By 1969, Clapton had already been in several bands (The Yardbirds, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith), had done a touring stint with Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, and had a successful solo album. Yearning for the camaraderie of a band, Clapton co-founded Derek and The Dominos with Carl Radle, Jim Gordon and Bobby Whitlock. Clapton poured his longing for Boyd into Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs with originals like “Bell Bottom Blues“,”Anyday“, “Keep On Growing“, “I Looked Away“, “I Am Yours“, “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad“, and of course, the song that ultimately won Pattie’s love,”Layla“. Clapton recounted the creation of “Layla” to Uncut in 2006:

“Someone had given me a book called The Story Of Layla And Majnun, which was a Persian story about being driven mad by falling in love with a beautiful, unavailable woman. I loved the name and I had the main body of a song that was obviously about Pattie. But I knew it needed something else. A motif.”

After recording in Miami, Clapton returned to England, secretly met up with Pattie and played her “Layla” on a tape recorder. Later that evening Clapton proclaimed his feelings for Boyd to Harrison at a party to which a furious Harrison replied, “Well, are you going with him or coming with me?”

Eventually Pattie would go with Eric, but not until after three more years of trying to make her marriage to Harrison work despite his many affairs including those with Ringo’s wife Maureen Starkey and Ronnie Wood’s wife Krissy Wood (who also dated Clapton at one point).

Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs wasn’t an instant commercial success. Clapton’s venture away from long, loose blues jams didn’t thrill his fans who had declared him a guitar “God” during his John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers days. The album peaked at No. 16 in America and failed to chart in Britain until 1972. However, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs has since been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, has been certified gold by the RIAA, and has been named one of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Pattie continued to be Eric’s muse; she inspired his 1977 hit “Wonderful Tonight” as well as 1985’s “She’s Waiting“. They were married in 1979 but divorced in 1989 after a decade-long marriage filled with drugs and alcohol abuse. Eric Clapton and Pattie Boyd

Turn Blue – The Black Keys

Turn Blue

Dan Auerbach wasn’t concerned with writing radio-friendly singles when he began writing The Black Keys’ 2014 album Turn Blue. Auerbach was battling a painful divorce from Stephanie Gonis during their 2013 El Camino tour with ugly allegations being hurled back and forth between the couple including claims that he abused her and that she attempted suicide in front of their daughter and then set their house on fire. Gonis admitted to the attempted suicide and committed herself to a treatment centre while Auerbach was granted custody of their daughter.

This was the chaos that surrounded Auerbach during the writing of Turn Blue. Patrick Carney, the other half of The Black Keys duo, remembers Auerbach being distressed during the first scheduled session date in Nashville with Danger Mouse (aka Brian Burton). “Dan was getting frustrated,” says Carney. “I had never seen him like that. He’s usually almost too prolific. I had never seen everything just stop.” The sessions lasted only one day. Burton flew home and Auerbach took off on a 1937 Harley Davidson to North Carolina to go camping with friends. When they reunited at Sunset Sound studios in L.A. four months later, their jamming led to their longest song to date, the seven-minute-long “Weight of Love“, which would become the opening track of the album.

For the first time, Auerbach was writing music as a form of therapy. The self-described “moody” vibe and dark, autobiographical lyrics on the album made Turn Blue an intensely personal breakup album. While their previous album El Camino was peppered with hit pop-driven singles like “Lonely Boy” and “Gold On The Ceiling“, Auerbach and Carney let the muse of misery guide them towards making what Auerbach calls a “headphone record”. On “In Our Prime” Auerbach sings “Pour me down the drain, I disappear/ Like every honest thing I used to hear…. The house it burned, but nothing there was mine/ We had it all when we were in our prime”.

Carney and Auerbach said they hoped people would embrace this record the way they did their faster, more upbeat albums. NME called Turn Blue “a darker, more difficult beast than its predecessors.” Despite the absence of deliberate singles, Turn Blue was the first of all of The Black Keys albums to debut at #1 in the U.S., Canada and Australia. Rolling Stone called it “the best, most consistently gripping album the Keys have ever made.” Turn Blue scored the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 Chart in both 2014 and 2015 and earned Grammy nominations for Best Rock Album, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance.

Dan Auerbach and Stephanie Gonis

Blue – Joni Mitchell

Blue

Released on June 22, 1971, Joni Mitchell’s album Blue redefined what a singer-songwriter album sounded like. The stark honesty of her lyrics made her a trailblazer in confessional songwriting. The deeply personal lyrics on Blue narrate Mitchell’s sorrow from giving her child up for adoption when she 21, the mourning of her failed relationships with Graham Nash and James Taylor, and her longing for the past deep connection she had with her ex-lover Leonard Cohen. Mitchell was fearless and transparent in her sadness. During the recording of the album, she kept all of the studio doors locked because she was weeping so often. After hearing Blue, Kris Kristofferson reacted to her exposed lyrics by proclaiming, “Please! Leave something of yourself.”

Mitchell first met fellow Canadian Leonard Cohen in Judy Collins’ songwriters’ workshop at the 1967 Newport Folk Festival. They had a deep connection immediately and began dating within a month. Cohen heavily influenced her songwriting on her debut album Song To a Seagull and she has named him as one of her two influences (the other being Bob Dylan). Their relationship ended within a year, after which she wrote about him in her songs “The Gallery” and “That Song About The Midway” (from 1969’s Clouds) and “Rainy Night House” (from 1970’s Ladies of the Canyon). Two years later, she released her tribute to Cohen with one of Blue‘s standout tracks, “A Case Of You” in which she honours his influence on her (“Love is touching souls/ Surely you touched mine/ ’Cause part of you pours out of me/ In these lines from time to time”) and openly shares her existing passionate feelings for him (“I could drink a case of you/ And still be on my feet”).

The same year that Mitchell’s relationship with Cohen ended, she met then-married Graham Nash after his concert with the Hollies in Ottawa. After a passionate night in her hotel room during which she shared 15 of her songs with him, Nash was in awe of her. Five months later, with Graham’s marriage and band falling apart, he decided to fly to L.A. to visit Joni and his friend David Crosby (whom Joni also briefly dated) who were both living in Laurel Canyon. That night, in Joni Mitchell’s house, Graham Nash, David Crosby and Stephen Stills harmonized for the first time and the first phase of CSNY’s history began. Nash decided to move to Laurel Canyon permanently with the intention of crashing at Crosby’s house and beginning a new chapter in his career. The night he arrived, Joni came up to him and said, “Come to my house and I’ll take care of you.”

Graham moved into Joni’s house and they spent their days writing songs, some of which were about each other including Mitchell’s “Blue Boy” and “Willy” (a nickname she had for him) which appeared on her 1970 album Ladies of the Canyon and Nash’s “Our House” about their domestic life which he recorded with CSNY. Eventually they began talking about marriage but both had hesitations; Nash was uneasy about getting married again after the collapse of his recent marriage with Rosie Eccles while Joni, who had also experienced a failed marriage with Chuck Mitchell, feared the creative restrictions placed on a stereotypical wife. In 1970, after being together for just under two years, Nash received a telegram from Joni while he was laying down a new floor down in her kitchen. The telegram read, “If you hold sand too tightly in your hand, it will run through your fingers. Love Joan”. That same night Nash wrote “Simple Man” (and later, “I Used To Be a King“) about their relationship. Two months after their breakup, Nash performed “A Simple Man” at the Fillmore East on the piano with Joni in the audience as he sang, “Never been so much in love/ And never hurt so bad”.

The songs on Blue that were inspired by her relationship with Nash include “My Old Man” which captures their happy days as a couple (“We don’t need no piece of paper/ From the city hall/ Keeping us tied and true”) and the iconic “River” in which Joni mourns the loss of their love (“I’m so hard to handle/ I’m selfish and I’m sad/ Now I’ve gone and lost the best baby/ That I’ve ever had”). Graham has said that listening to Blue is difficult for him. “It brings back many memories and saddens me greatly. It is, by far, my most favorite solo album, and the thought that I spent much time with this fine woman and genius of a writer is incredible to me.”

A month after her breakup with Nash, Joni began a relationship with James Taylor who was riding high on the success of his triple-platinum album Sweet Baby James but was struggling with his heroin addiction. Both artists were writing their 1971 albums (Mitchell’s Blue and Taylor’s Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon) and they contributed to each other’s work – Joni singing on James’s album and James playing guitar on hers. He expressed his love for her in his song “You Can Close Your Eyes“.

Joni was deeply heartbroken when Taylor ended their intense relationship in early 1971. Suffering from her heartbreak, she poured her emotions into the songs “All I Want” (When I think of your kisses my mind see-saws/ Do you see – do you see – do you see how you hurt me baby/ So I hurt you too/ Then we both get so blue“), “This Flight Tonight” (Oh blackness blackness dragging me down/ Come on light the candle in this poor heart of mine”) and the title track “Blue” in which she references Taylor’s heroin addiction and her love for him. 

Blue was immediately regarded with the highest of esteem among her peers and gave her legendary singer-songwriter status – even though the album peaked at #20 on the charts. It has been named one the most significant albums of the last century by the NY Times and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. Rolling Stone ranked Blue #2 on their Women Who Rock: The 50 Greatest Albums of All Time list and #30 on their 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list. It was also voted #14 (the highest rank by a female artist) on VH1’s 100 Greatest Albums of All Time. As Graham Nash said himself, “Blue will be, and really deserves to be, her best work. So stark, so deep, so Blue.” 

Joni Mitchell And Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell and Graham Nash

Joni Mitchell and Graham Nash

James Taylor and Joni Mitchell

James Taylor and Joni Mitchell

The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan – Bob Dylan

The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan’s largely successful second album, 1963’s The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, was largely influenced by his New York girlfriend, Suze Rotolo. After meeting backstage at a concert in 1961 when Rotolo was only 17, 20-year-old Dylan was instantly captivated by her. Soon they were living in an apartment together on West 4th street where she awakened him both politically and creatively. Rotolo began taking Dylan to CORE meetings and engaged him in the civil rights movement which inspired him to begin writing what would later become labelled as his protest songs.

While his self-titled 1962 debut album consisted of old folk songs and only two originals, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan included only two non-original songs (“Corrina Corrina” and “Honey Just Allow Me One More Chance”). Freewheelin’ tracks such as “Blowin’ in the Wind“, “Masters of War“, “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall“, “Oxford Town” and “Talkin’ World War III Blues” document the effect that the political and social awareness Rotolo was exposing him to had on Dylan’s mind.

In the summer of 1962, Rotolo left Dylan for six months to study art in Italy leaving him alone and heartbroken. Suddenly, the young woman who was inspiring him so greatly, was gone. Channelling his heartache, he wrote many songs about her, one of which he allegedly wrote during his trip to England during the same time Rotolo was in Italy. Although it has never been confirmed, Freewheelin’s second track “Girl From the North Country” has been long speculated to be about her. Dylan calls the girl in the song his “true love” – the same term he uses in “Boots of Spanish Leather” which was written about Rotolo and published in 1964. This term also matches the kind of love he describes he felt when he first met Rotolo in 1961. He wrote in his 2004 memoir, “Cupid’s arrow had whistled past my ears before, but this time it hit me in the heart and the weight of it dragged me overboard.” “Down the Highway” exhibits Dylan pining for Rotolo (“Lord, I really miss my baby/ She’s in some far-off land… She packed it all up in a suitcase/ Lord, she took it away to Italy, Italy”).

Rotolo returned to New York in January of 1963. A month later, Columbia sent photographer Don Hunstein to photograph Dylan for his upcoming album. While Dylan and Rotolo walked arm-in-arm along Jones Street in the freezing February New York weather, the iconic cover photo was taken. With Dylan’s fame growing their relationship began to suffer. Feeling uncomfortable with his fame and her role in it, she moved into her sister’s apartment in August of 1963. During this time, she had discovered that she was pregnant and had an abortion. Dylan began touring with Joan Baez and rumours began circulating that they were together. Soon, the rumours were no longer just rumours and Dylan and Rotolo were over for good.

The last track about Rotolo on Freewheelin’ is “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” which reveals a slightly bitter Dylan at the end of their relationship (“But goodbye’s too good a word, gal/ So I’ll just say fare thee well/ I ain’t sayin’ you treated me unkind/ You could have done better but I don’t mind/ You just kinda wasted my precious time/ But don’t think twice, it’s all right”).

His next album, 1964’s The Times They Are A-Changin’, hosted two songs inspired by his relationship with Rotolo -“One Too Many Mornings” and “Boots of Spanish Leather” which reveals a heartbroken Dylan in the early days of Rotolo’s absence (“No, there’s nothin’ you can send me, my own true love/ There’s nothin’ I wish to be ownin’/ Just carry yourself back to me unspoiled/ From across that lonesome ocean”).

Dylan released his fourth album Another Side of Bob Dylan in the same year which included another Rotolo-inspired song “Ballad In Plain D” which recounts their painful breakup (“All is gone, all is gone, admit it, take flight/ I gagged twice, doubled, tears blinding my sight/ My mind it was mangled, I ran into the night/ Leaving all of love’s ashes behind me”).

1971’s Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Volume II included yet another song about Rotolo that Dylan had written in 1963. Tomorrow Is a Long Time” captures the depth of Dylan’s yearning for Rotolo’s love to return (“Yes, and only if my own true love was waitin’/ Yes, and if I could hear her heart a-softly poundin’/ Only if she was lyin’ by me/ Then I’d lie in my bed once again”).

When The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan was released on May 27, 1963, it was an instant success earning Platinum status. The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan was one of the first 50 recordings to be added to the National Recording Registry in 2002 by the Library of Congress (still the only of his recordings in the registry) and is one of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Bob Dylan and Suze Rotolo

21 – Adele

21

This list would be incomplete without the inclusion of Adele’s 2011 breakup album, 21. The success of 21 is undeniable. Every song on the album is deeply personal yet entirely relatable. Her heartache is audible in her emotive voice that explores the depths heartache can suck you into.

The man who inspired the songs on 21 has remained a mystery since the album’s release in 2011, but there have been many common speculations that her ex is photographer Alex Sturrock who accompanied her to the 2008 Grammys and is ten years her elder.

In 2008, she met the man who would become the ex that inspired 21. He was ten years older than her and they were quickly inseparable. During that time in her life, Adele was completely focused on her work and she says he brought some normalcy and balance into her life. He moved into her place in London and they lived together for just under a year before the breakup. She wrote the track “Turning Tables” in the studio after leaving an argument with her ex whom she claimed always “turned the tables on her”.

The morning after they ended things for good, Adele recorded “Rolling in the Deep” while sobbing in the studio. Incredibly, the demo versions of “Rolling in the Deep” and “Set Fire to the Rain” ended up being the versions that were used on the album. When she was about halfway through recording 21, Adele found out her ex was engaged. The news of his engagement inspired the massively popular and vulnerable song “Someone Like You“.

The success of 21 led to Adele taking home six Grammys at the 2012 Grammy Awards including Record of the Year, Album of the Year and Song of the Year. The album reached Diamond status (more than 10 million units sold) in only 92 weeks and was the first ever digital album to sell over 3 million copies. 21 spent 24 weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart and reached #1 each year from 2011-2014. It was the first album to hold the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 chart in two consecutive years since the beginning of Nielsen SoundScan data collection began in 1991 and was #1 on the Digital Albums charts from 2011-2013. 21 topped the charts in 30 countries and had three singles reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts (“Set Fire to the Rain”, “Someone Like You” and Rolling in the Deep”).

Adele with Grammys

 

Honourable Mentions:

Jagged Little Pill – Alanis Morissette 

Although Alanis Morissette’s 1995 breakthrough album Jagged Little Pill contains a few songs pertaining to heartache (“You Oughta Know“, “Your House /Secret Song” and arguably, “Not The Doctor“) and is by far her most successful album, Morissette did not write the album with a broken heart. She wrote the tracks with Glen Ballard in L.A. who, in an interview with CBC said, “People think that she was in this heavy state of mind when making it, the opposite was true. I’ve never been funnier, she laughed at everything I had to say. She was just in a place of wanting fun and laughter, and she was making me laugh, so hard that I couldn’t even sit up. Honestly, it was that fun.” The two of them wrote and recorded a song a day, sometimes choosing a topic, having a philosophical conversation about it and then writing a song based on that conversation. Reason for Omission: Not written with a broken heart

In the Wee Small Hours – Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra’s 1955 album, In the Wee Small Hours was recorded during a time of heavy heartache from his divorce from his first wife Nancy and the failure of his second marriage with Eva Gardner. It is also the first full-length concept album in music history with themes of loneliness and lost love. Reason for Omission: Frank Sinatra did not write the songs on the album.

For Emma, Forever Ago – Bon Iver

Although the 2007 album For Emma, Forever Ago was written completely by Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver) and he was suffering from the heartache of a past relationship and the breakup of his former band, For Emma, Forever Ago is not the most successful album of his career. His second solo album, 2011’s Bon Iver, won him two Grammys at the 2011 Grammy Awards. Reason for OmissionFor Emma, Forever Ago does not fit the criteria of this list in that it does not mark Bon Iver’s highest levels of success.

Here, My Dear – Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye’s 1978 album Here, My Dear was written by Gaye directly after his messy divorce from Anna Gordy. Although Gaye was going through a breakup during the time he wrote the album, it failed to be a commercial success and is nowhere near his most successful work. Reason for Omission: Here, My Dear does not fit the criteria of this list in that it does not mark Marvin Gaye’s highest levels of success.

This article, written by SBTS Founder Stephanie Horak, was also published by Indie88 on August 28, 2015.

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