Top 10 Sad Café Songs

Sad Café Songs

Feature Photo: Catarina Belova

Our Top 10 Sad Café Songs list showcases the best of Sad Cafe, including songs like “Every Day Hurts,” “My Oh My,” “La-Di-Da,” and many more. Hailing out of Manchester, England, the rock group Sad Café officially started in 1976 when bandmates from Gyro and Mandella opted to unite as one. The group got its name from a suggestion made by a friend, referencing the book by Carsen McCullers, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe. While Paul Young officially served as the frontman, he was accompanied by Tony Cresswell, Vic Emerson, Ashley Mulford, John Stimpson, and Ian Wilson.

During the late 1970s, the peak of Sad Cafe first began in the UK, thanks to the band’s mix of hard rock and synth-pop. Going into the 1980s, the group’s popularity reached the North American audience thanks to a couple of hit singles that reached the US Billboard Hot 100. From 1976 until 1990, Sad Café experienced some lineup changes that saw only one of its founders, Paul Young, stick with the band clean through before it disbanded for the first time.

In 1998, the Sad Café saw the reunion of the band’s founders, Ian Wilson and Paul Young, as well as Des Tong, who had been with the lineup since 1980. The group toured together before disbanding again in 1998. During the summer of 2000, Paul Young died suddenly after enduring a heart attack at the age of fifty-three years old. This was also the same year Sad Café briefly reunited again, now featuring a team of vocalists as the band’s founder and frontman was no more. From 2012 onward, Sad Café has embarked on a series of tours, continuing to entertain the audience wherever they go.

In 1977, the first of eight studio albums released by Sad Café was released. Fanx Ta-Ra was only released in the UK at that time. It was the same story for their second album, Misplaced Ideals, released less than a year later. The third album, also labeled Misplaced Ideals, was strictly released in North America near the end of 1978 as a compilation album that combined the music of the first two albums. 1979’s Facades was the first album that Sad Café released in the UK and the North American nations of Canada and the USA.

It became the band’s most successful release, followed a year later by Sad Café, then 1981’s Ole. After these releases, the momentum of Sad Cafe began to slow down. At this point, Paul Young teamed up with Mike Rutherford of Genesis, and Paul Carrack of Squeeze in the band  Mike & The Mechanics to record their debut album, which was released the same year as 1985’s Sad Cafe release of Politics of Existing. 1989’s Whatever It Takes was Sad Cafe’s final studio recording. From these albums, a total of twenty-three singles were released. Two of them, “Run Home Girl” and “La-Di-Da,” became US Billboard 100 hits, while most of the rest enjoyed chart success on the UK Singles Chart. There are also two live albums to Sad Cafe’s credit and fourteen compilation albums. Some were UK-released only while others were US-released only.

Top 10 Sad Cafe Songs

#10 – Black Rose

“Black Rose” was the first single released by Sad Cafe, coming from their debut album, Fanx Ta-Ra. Beautiful from start to finish, the narrator sang about his love interest, Rose, who was noted for advising him to take the back roads to plow forward and deal with life and all the social stigmas that came with it. The genius behind Paul Young’s lyrical performance was highlighted by the remarkable guitar riffs and synth sounds, making this a great musical source of inspiration for people not to take no for an answer.

#9 – Hungry Eyes

From Sad Cafe’s debut album, Fanx Ta-Ra, “Hungry Eyes” was the third single the group released in the UK. Often, Paul Young was compared to Mick Jagger as his vocal talent had such a wide range. “Hungry Eyes” served as one of those songs where Young’s raw talent was at its best when he shifted back and forth from soft to harsh throughout the duration of this incredible number.

#8 – Keep Us Together

The final hit for Sad Cafe as a group was 1983’s “Keep Us Together.” Released from the album, Ole, this ballad was one of Paul Young’s best performances as a member of a rock group that seemed to be overlooked for the multi-talented roster it had. Although sung as a song with hopes to stay together with his love interest, “Keep Us Together” almost felt like a plea to keep the relationship between the band and its fans together as the height of Sad Cafe’s popularity at this point waned. As a song, this is a gem that deserves its place as a fan favorite.

#7 – Nothing Left Toulouse

In the UK, it’s “Nothing Left Toulouse” while in the US it’s “Nothing Left to Lose.” It would be the UK version that would become a certified hit, peaking as high as number sixty-two on the UK Singles Chart. From the UK version of the album, Facade, this was a lengthier song than the one released in the US as it ventured a bit deeper into the soft narrative of a narrator seeming to lose so much of himself in a world due to circumstances that seemed to be beyond his control. As far as Sad Cafe was concerned, in a world that’s insane, there’s nothing left to lose than to simply go with the flow and hope for the best.

#6 – Strange Little Girl

In 1979, “Strange Little Girl” peaked at number thirty-two on the UK Singles Chart, marking it the second time Sad Cafe earned a top forty hit in their home nation. Coming from the album, Facades, it served as one of four hits that played an instrumental role in why it was the most successful studio recording to the band’s credit. Lyrically, the narrative revolved around a young woman who made it obvious she followed her own path in a manner that set her apart from the rest of the crowd.

#5 – Run Home Girl

On the US Billboard Hot 100, “Run Home Girl” became a number seventy-one hit after it was released as a single in 1978. It would be the first time for Sad Cafe to earn a hit single as a group. The sultry start of the saxophone first gave the impression this would be a soulful love song before the tempo picks up, turning it into something else. Instead, it was a lyrical plea for the love interest to return home as fast as she can. Technically, it still is a love song, but with more synth and jazz to it, making this an easy fan favorite who already fell in love with the talented voice of Paul Young.

#4 – La-Di-Da

“La-Di-Da” was the second and final hit released from Sad Cafe that would become a hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. In 1981, it became a number seventy-eight hit, which was not long after it became a number forty-one hit on the UK Singles Chart in 1980. This single came from the group’s self-titled album as the lead track. This piece of synth-pop witnessed Paul Young addressing his love interest and how she’s treated like a superstar when he saw more to her than they did.

#3 – I’m in Love Again

In 1980, Sad Cafe released the single “I’m in Love Again,” which became a number forty hit on the UK Singles Chart. It was the final track from the group’s self-titled album, which was released in 1980. The start of the piano solo soon leads to a disco meets synth before Paul Young began to sing about this new love interest that just swept him off his feet as if without warning.

#2 – My Oh My

On the UK Singles Chart in 1980, “My Oh My” was a number fourteen hit and peaked as high as number forty-two in the Netherlands. This would be the second time the group earned a hit among the Dutch, as well as the second time to realize a top twenty hit in their homeland. From the album, Facades, “My Oh My” was the final track recorded as a great finisher to what became Sad Cafe’s most successful studio album to date. This easy-listening number with its beautiful play of the piano, paired up with Young’s vocals as a musical piece of art. This reflective number saw the narrator feels as if he has just come face to face with the devil and now had to figure out how to cope with it.

#1 – Every Day Hurts

On the UK Singles Chart, “Every Day Hurts” was a number three hit. In Australia, it charted as high as number seventy-eight and at number forty-eight in the Netherlands. Coming from Sad Cafe’s studio album, Facades, this became the group’s biggest hit in their career. Since the untimely death of Paul Young, “Every Day Hurts” has become the surviving members of the group’s signature song as they pay homage to one of its founding members who started it all. In the song, the narrator wondered why the love of his life went away, which is why for him, every single day hurts. As a ballad, “Every Day Hurts” has since served as a song of memorial shared among fans that personally felt the sting when Young died.

Updated February 22, 2024

Top 10 Sad Café Songs article published on Classic© 2024


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