The Breakup Song

New MM Music Badge

In 1981, the Greg Kihn Band which was started by frontman Greg Kihn and bassist Steve Wright had a huge pop hit with ‘The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write Em)’ which reached #15 on the charts and was released on their album Rockihnroll.  The song was written by Greg Kihn and Steve Wright and the Greg Kihn Band, consisted of Kihn, Wright, Robbie Dunbar playing guitar and Larry Lynch on drums.  Dunbar was replaced by Dave Carpender and the group became a quintet in 1981 when they added keyboardist Gary Phillips.  At one time this band was huge, they were on the edge of breaking into the big time, having had a #1 Dance record with their song ‘Jeopardy’ which also went to #2 on the pop charts and they opened for the Rolling Stones, toured with Journey, and played a lot of Grateful Dead gigs, but after 1985, there were no more Top 10 entries from them.

Greg wrote this song on the same day that he broke up with his girl, so he understood very well what it feels like to break up with somebody.  He came home from a gig with the guys and while they were still in the van, they saw all of his stuff piled up on the lawn, and it was raining.  They went out to a Japanese restaurant and started drinking hot sake because it was a cold, rainy night, and they wanted to get toasted.  An old Japanese dude was in there, and he kept saying, “They don’t write ‘em like that anymore”, which inspired Greg to write this song.  This song became an anthem for people suffering from broken hearts even though the song makes fun of all the crappy break up songs that were (and still are) coming out.  His girlfriend breaks up with him and he laments that great break songs aren’t written anymore.

Greg Kihn began his musical career in Baltimore writing songs and playing in the local coffee houses while he was in high school.  At the age of 17, Kihn’s mom entered one of his original songs in a talent contest sponsored by the local top-40 radio station and he won a typewriter, a stack of records, and a Vox electric guitar.  The Greg Kihn Band’s musical style and genres comprise rock, pop rock, Indie rock and power pop.  Like many things that came out of the 1980s, it was a short ride, and by the end of the decade, Kihn’s brand of rock and roll was sidelined by grunge and rap.  Greg Kihn was far from done and he became a disc jockey in San Francisco and started writing novels and short stories.  He’s toured the world, had hit records, and has won several awards for his hit songs ‘Jeopardy’, ‘Break Up Song’ and ‘Lucky’ and he has appeared on TV shows, including Solid Gold, American Bandstand, and Saturday Night Live.  In Kihn’s career, he put out 18 albums for three record companies spread out over 23 years and the rocker who will turn 71 on July 10 this year wrote six novels and spent 16 years as a radio disc jockey.

We had broken up for good just an hour before
Ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah ah
And now I’m staring at the bodies as they’re dancing ‘cross the floor
Ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah ah
And then the band slowed the tempo and the music took me down
Ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah ah
It was the same old song, with a melancholy sound
Ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah ah

They don’t write ’em like that anymore
They just don’t write ’em like that anymore

We’d been living together for a million years
Ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah ah
But now it feels so strange out in the atmospheres
Ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah ah
And then the jukebox plays a song I used to know
Ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah ah
And now I’m staring at the bodies as they’re dancing so slow
Ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah ah

They don’t write ’em like that anymore
They don’t write ’em like that anymore
Oh

Hey
Now I wind up staring at an empty glass
Ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah ah
‘Cause it’s so easy to say that you’ll forget your past
Ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah ah

They don’t write ’em like that anymore, no
They just don’t write ’em like that anymore
They don’t write ’em like that anymore
They just don’t write ’em like that anymore
They just don’t, no, they don’t
No, no, uh-uh

The challenge today is to focus on this song and use it for a short story, a piece of flash fiction, or a poem that you can share with the WordPress writing community.  There is no need to stick with this song, as if you like to write about another Greg Kihn song, or a song that is about a relationship breakup, that would be great.  You might also go with a song that is about writing a song, or about music and dancing.  If you would like to write about a song that has a melancholy sound, then go with that.

The whole point of this MM Music challenge is to get you to think, to trigger something so that you can show how creative you are and everyone is welcome to participate.  This challenge is very loose, so pretty much whatever you come up with will be acceptable.  I try to throw some ideas out there for you and if they seem right, then go with it.  You could write about a jukebox playing a song that brings back memories for you, or if you think it is better to just move on or end up drinking your troubles away,  struggling to make a better life, good things coming to those who wait, or the beauty of it all.  If you want to write about how much things change when you end a relationship, that would also work.

Dylan Hughes will be here on next Friday July 3 with her First Line Friday and she always seems to have something in her bag of tricks.  I will be back on Friday, July 10 with another MM Music Challenge where we will discuss the song ‘I Know You`re Out There Somewhere’.  When you are finished writing your post, create a ping back to this post, but you can also place your link in the comments section below if you desire.  This Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music challenge has a special feature called Mr. Linky, which will allow you to instantly link your post after you click the Mr. Linky Button, and permit everyone to read your post sooner that way, and then follow the directions that are given.

12 comments

  1. Reblogged this on A Unique Title For Me and commented:

    They broke the mold when they made those old love songs and they don’t write them like that anymore. They were absolutely unique and nothing written today is comparable. What happened to all of those talented song writers in the Brill Building? In the early days of the record industry, when music was released on black vinyl records, songwriting was very much a job in the more traditional 9-to-5 sense, where they all punched a clock. These legendary songwriters created iconic songs that made pop and rhythm and blues, which had the power to get stuck in your head and they were written by the artists who were able to perform them.

    Like

  2. One of my favorites from the eighties. This was made right before overproduction hit that decade and sent it careening into the synth-heavy music.

    Liked by 1 person

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