Rosanne Cash – Seven Year Ache

I knew who she was and I knew this song well because it was played endlessly at the time on a pop/rock station I listened to. I really thought she would have gone on to have many pop hits but that didn’t happen…She was very successful in the country charts though.  It peaked at #21 in the Billboard 100 and #1 in the Country Charts in 1981.

Rosanne had 23 songs in the Country Charts and 11 number 1’s, and 15 top ten songs. This wasn’t my favorite of hers but it was a solid pop hit. This is by far the biggest hit for Rosanne Cash, whose only other Hot 100 chart appearance is Blue Moon With Heartache, which peaked at #104 in 1982.


From Songfacts

The Seven Year Itch was the name of a particularly irritating skin complaint; by the mid-19th Century the phrase had become a metaphor for an annoying form of behavior. In 1952, it was transformed into a play in which the lead character, played by Tom Ewell, who worked for a publishing company, was reading a book called The Seven Year Itch which claimed that after seven years of marriage, many men started extra-marital affairs. In 1955, it reached the big screen, with Ewell again in the title role, and Marilyn Monroe as his leading lady.

Unlike the play and the film, this song by Rosanne Cash is no romantic comedy. The daughter of Johnny Cash met Rodney Crowell at a party on October 16, 1976, and they married on April 7, 1979. Like most relationships, this one was less than perfect, and after a fight with Crowell at a French restaurant on Ventura Boulevard, she penned this semi-auto-biographical number as a poem; she said it took her about six months to write, but clearly it was worth the labor, because it topped the Country chart in May 1981, as well as reaching #22 on the Hot 100.

It is unclear if Crowell was “playing away.” Probably not, because he produced the song, the title of which indicates that its subject matter is a world away from the whimsical Ewell/Monroe dalliance. 

Cash wrote this song in 1979. When she was looking for ideas for the album, she decided to construct a theme around this song. Based on the concept of lovers who fight, break up, then reconcile, the Seven Year Ache album included songs that dealt in some way with the feelings of falling apart and coming back together as a couple. Most of the songs were written by other artists: “What Kinda Girl?,” where she asserts her independence, was written by Steve Forbert; “I Can’t Resist,” where the couple comes back together, is the only Rodney Crowell composition on the set.

Cash never went for mass appeal in her songwriting, which makes her stay on the Top 40 an anomaly. “Seven Year Ache,” however, proved that she could generate a hit song, which led to more creative opportunities and a step outside of her father’s shadow.

Seven Year Ache was Cash’s second album (at least in America – a self-titled set from 1978 that she has since disowned was issued in Europe), but the first one she toured for. Her first album, Right or Wrong, was released in 1979 when she was pregnant, so she stayed off the road. She had been on stage as a backup singer for her father and for Rodney Crowell, but it wasn’t until the release of this second album that she began performing live as a solo artist.

Seven Year Ache

You act like you were just born tonight
Face down in a memory but feeling all right
So who does your past belong to today?
Baby, you don’t say nothing when you’re feeling this way

The girls in the bars thinking, “who is this guy?”
But they don’t think nothing when they’re telling you lies
You look so careless when they’re shooting that bull
Don’t you know heartaches are heroes when their pockets are full

Tell me you’re trying to cure a seven-year ache
See what else your old heart can take
The boys say, “when is he gonna give us some room”
The girls say, “God I hope he comes back soon”

Everybody’s talking but you don’t hear a thing
You’re still uptown on your downhill swing
Boulevard’s empty, why don’t you come around?
Baby, what is so great about sleeping downtown?

Splitting your dice to be someone you’re not
You say you’re looking for something you might’ve forgot
Don’t bother calling to say you’re leaving alone
‘Cause there’s a fool on every corner when you’re trying to get home

Just tell ’em you’re trying to cure a seven-year ache
See what else your old heart can take
The boys say, “when is he gonna give us some room”
The girls say, “God I hope he comes back soon”

Tell me you’re trying to cure a seven-year ache
See what else your old heart can take
The boys say, “when is he gonna give us some room”
The girls say, “God I hope he comes back soon”

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

16 thoughts on “Rosanne Cash – Seven Year Ache”

  1. Rosanne gets my vote as the best- child of a great musician-who also was in the same business… it seems like we see a lot of that in sports- a great athlete who has successful children in sports- sometimes the son/daughter even outshine the parent but not so in music. Many have tried- I guess because it’s not a physical talent. Have always been a big fan of Rosanne’s. The only one I can think of who would challenge her is Hank Jr. Am I missing anyone?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The only ones I can think of…but they don’t even compare to Rosanne’s and Hank Jr runs are Jacob Dylan and Julian Lennon…
      I think part of a musican’s fame is based on timing more than athletes. Athletes can do it in any era.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. good point. Off topic but what do you think of this whole Houston Astro sign stealing fiasco? When is the last time the sports news in mid January was dominated by baseball- in the week of NFL championship games approaching… crazy.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The cynical me ask is it worth losing your manager and general manager and for draft picks for World Series title?

        Hans I was going to ask you. I have seen replays of the wild game in Houston where Kershaw blew a four run lead and the whistling started and George Springer was waiting for a curveball and drove it over the fence…. Of course I am biased.
        I think they got more punishment than I thought they would. Taking away four draft picks will hurt the Astros that lives off of draft picks.

        Did you hear what Scott Brosius’s son said about Mike Trout? Baseball does not need that also right now.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. first the Brosius issue- i see he had back away from his claims and apologized. It is a shame we live in a world now where anyone without any inside knowledge can make a claim and there are people who will always believe it. I don’t think David Brosius knows any more than you or I……… the other issue- no doubt they shouldn’t have been doing that- and I think the punishment will stop this from happening again. I know some want players banned for life- the title vacated- but i think their title is tainted as is- forever when its talked about people are going to believe they won because the cheated…. i also have a hard time believing they are the only ones. They won that year-that’s a story. If someone from last years Pirates came out and said the Pirates were doing it it would probably draw laughter. … where is the line drawn? in 1951 there was someone with binoculars in the stands tipping off giant hitters…some hitters wanted to know some didn’t… bobby thompson went to the grave denying he knew what was coming- ralph branca went to the grave believing he did know…. whitey ford would cut balls on a ring- on his belt buckle and could make the ball do tricks. He sure was great in the World Series and the Yanks won a lot of titles when he played.. Gaylord Perry-… books could be written about cheating in baseball. With the technology we have today and the importance now of technology in the game- I guess this shouldn’t be shocking. I think in the long run it will be good for the game because it will stop it in the future. I hate this story.


      4. By the time I got home Brosius retracted it. Anyone with a twitter account can say anything with any amount of followers…and tarnish reputations. What is bad Hans…is in the back of our minds did we believe Canseco when he said things at first? I thought this story was false but there is always that doubt because of the past.

        Yea players banned for life is going too far…way to far. As far as vacating the title…that would open up too many cans of worms from the PED years and other times. Personally, I’ve never seen anything wrong with stealing signs…from the field. as long as there are sports you are going to have it.

        They took it way too far and yes the punishment is about as much as you can get. They will be tarnished forever you are right there. I do think future managers will hopefully learn and stop it and GM’s will know more of what is going on…or stop it in the future.

        People talk…that is human nature but now it’s a given…there are no secrets now in this world we live in…The world is so much smaller now giving the access we have to each other. The Giant’s secret from the 50s stayed that way for the longest…it’s a wonder this one didn’t come out even earlier.

        If it would have been the Astros and Brewers…It wouldn’t have hit me as hard I’ll admit that…

        Liked by 1 person

      5. and I have no doubt that Mike Fiers has already been getting phone calls about doing a book etc- he’ll cash in… I can’t imagine this going on again- simply because a manager would be crazy to let it knowing what the penalty would be–and I can’t see it going on without the manager knowing… as far as vacating titles like you said- where is the line? Steroids? You also can’t have every years results in doubt the NCAA does this stuff and they are about as incompetent an organization as there is- you really don’t want to follow what they do. …. did you see the Black Jack McDowell story claiming La Russa was doing this in the 80s?

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I’m just surprised it stayed quiet for as long as it did. Everyone wants to be noticed now. Yes he will get something out of it. He didn’t do this for the right reasons…there was either profit or he was pissed at the Astros for some reason.

        Yea you can’t vacate the title because it would open up too many cans of worms…PED worms to be exact.

        If it was vacated… Teams from every era would be coming back and claiming things.

        Yea I read that about LaRussa. That doesn’t surprise me one bit about him. He was always very progressive and it sounds like something he would try…

        The sport doesn’t need these headlines. You will also now have amateur sleuths pouring over every game now looking for something.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. no doubt- as we write there are probably dozens of people watching games from the past few years looking for clues… Yes I agree baseball doesn’t need these headlines- but it is amazing that you have a sport that has players quitting in their prime- the other day Luke Kueckley who has had the most tackles in the NFL since he entered the league in 2012- quits due to concussions etc- this seems to be happening routinely in the NFL- can you imagine say a baseball star walking away at 28 due to the hazards of the game? The NFL has some serious issues. A few years ago it seemed like the media was on this story now- not so much.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. The NFL can sweep things under the rug better than the goverment. They rule their kingdom like no other sports organization. Even the beat writers have to watch what they say.

        That doesn’t surprise me about him retiring. Players are more informed and are getting scared seeing other guys in their 30s have problems remembering.

        They also have foundation issues that are going to catch up with them. Moms are a big problem also…Moms are not letting their sons play… as the football youth leagues have dwindled.


      9. I think he looked at it like Gronk did- he made his money get out while you can…. yes i think the NFL problems are down the road- they have a mom problem for sure. There are a lot of options now for kids and sports- hopefully some of football’s loses will be baseball’s gains.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A good song… I’ve heard it a fair bit through the years but wouldn’t have been able to tell you who it was. I don’t mind 80s country at all, but by that decade radio was segregated enough that it didn’t cross over to rock or pop stations much… it happened a lot more in 70s with tom T Hall, Charlie Rich, John Denver I suppose, and quite a few others

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This one for some reason got played on our pop/rock stations here. It surprised me she didn’t go for more of a crossover effect…she had the voice.

      Liked by 1 person

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