When it comes to music, I can cry at the drop of a hat. I may be a little hard-hearted when it comes to certain things in life, but there is just something about a sad song that can turn me into a puddle of emotions -- and no song can make me blubber like a baby more than God Give Me Strength from Grace of My Heart. Alison Anders' 1996 film starred Ileana Douglas as the fictional songwriter, Denise Waverly, and follows her from the early days at the Brill Building (which was the place to be for girl groups in the 1960's) to the laid back days of the 70's singer-songwriters.
The film was not based on any particular music legend, but if you know your music history you'll probably notice some similarities between Denise and singer-songwriters Carole King, Carly Simon, and Judy Collins. In general, the film is chock-full of music history, all under the guise of fiction, of course. Anders offers up approximations of the closeted singer Lesley Gore, Brian Wilson, The Everly Brothers, Phil Spector and more -- and if you haven't seen the flick you're in luck because it's available for free over at SlashControl.
Strength was written by Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello, with Kristen Vigard standing in for Douglas on the vocals, and even though it was commissioned for the film, it went on to become a hit in its own right and was included in Costello's and Bacharach's album Painted from Memory in 1998. But I stand by the version in the film, and maybe it's the combination of Vigard's voice with Costello and Bacharach's pretty piano tune with Douglas bringing it all together, but I know that I can always count on this song when I need a good cry.
After the jump; "Wow...what a sad song"...