My Favorite Record #9

Colin Blunstone: Caroline Goodbye (Epic, 1971)

I’d probably feel quite differently about this song if I was Caroline Munro–’60s model, Bond Girl, and one-time girlfriend of the Zombies’ Colin Blunstone. He wrote the not-so-subtle “Caroline Goodbye” following the couple’s break-up, and doesn’t appear at all self-conscious about exorcising his pain so publicly. For Caroline Munro, listening to her lovesick ex mourning her departure must’ve been a bit cringe-worthy. It’s nice to know you’re missed, but the image of your former lover pouring over your photos (“my you’re looking pretty good”), swept up in sorrow just ain’t so very appealing. For those with a less personal connection to Blunstone, the magic of “Caroline Goodbye” is precisely in its raw, dead-honest, heart-exposed emotion. You get the feeling that this is a man who can’t fake it. The center of his universe has moved on, and “Caroline Goodbye” serves as both therapy and as a cautionary tale for the future. “I should’ve known better, I should’ve seen it sooner,” he sings, as if he somehow could’ve escaped the inevitable. I can think of few singers able to tackle emotional ballads with such delicacy and restraint. There’s never the need for melodrama. His lyrics are devastating, his delivery strangely resigned and so soft.

My first exposure to Blunstone’s voice was Alan Parsons Project’s “Old & Wise” (which I wrote about here). It’s the only song that reduces me to tears, every single time I play it. I’m amazed I didn’t seek out all of his material sooner. I seem to be embarking on my Colin Blunstone education backwards, moving from “Old & Wise” in 1982 to 1971, when both “Caroline Goodbye” and Blunstone’s debut solo LP One Year were released. I’ll get to the Zombies eventually.

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