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”