Seven Year Ache (song)

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"Seven Year Ache"
Rosanne Cash--Seven Year Ache single.jpg
Single by Rosanne Cash
from the album Seven Year Ache
B-side"Blue Moon with Heartache"
ReleasedFebruary 1981
Format45 rpm
GenreCountry pop
Songwriter(s)Rosanne Cash
Producer(s)Rodney Crowell
Rosanne Cash singles chronology
"Take Me, Take Me"
"Seven Year Ache"
"My Baby Thinks He's a Train"

"Seven Year Ache" is a song written and performed by American country music artist Rosanne Cash. It was released in February 1981 as the first single and title track from Cash's album of the same title. The song was Cash's first No. 1 hit on the U.S. country charts.


The song's ambiguous lyrics may tell the old story about a man who goes out to a bar to forget the problems his marriage is facing. He is a man of few words – "you don't say nothing when you're feeling this way" – and rather than talk it over with his wife, he runs to the comfort he can find in a seedy dive. An alternative interpretation, which is more plausible given that the song has been described as semi-autobiographical, is that the song is about the woman, not the man, in a failing relationship (although the subject is mentioned in the chorus twice as 'he'). The tone of the woman's imaginary conversation with her lover reflects her conflicting feelings, running from mocking ("heartaches are heroes when their pockets are full"), to cautionary ("everybody's talking but you don't hear a thing"), to indignant ("don't bother calling to say you're leaving alone"), to longing ("why don't you come around?").

The song's title is a play on the phrase the seven-year itch, describing the period in a marriage or relationship when one or both partners begin to feel unhappy and unfulfilled within the relationship.

The song is mid-tempo and features drum loops, synthesizers (common in many popular 1980s recordings) and a "canned" hand-clap effect at the start of the second verse. The canned hand-clapping was later re-used in Trisha Yearwood's 2001 cover, at Yearwood's insistence. The production gives the song an energetic feel that belies the bitterness and sorrow in the song's lyrics. The chorus is sung twice in the song, and goes as follows:

Tell them 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"

Cover versions[edit]

Since Cash's initial recording of the song, "Seven Year Ache" has been recorded by several artists working in the music industry. In 1989, Canadian singer Carole Laure recorded a version for her album released that year, Western Shadows. Twelve years later, American country artist Trisha Yearwood recorded a version for her 2001 album Inside Out that featured Cash herself singing background vocals.[1] In 2017 the band, The Whiskey Gentry covered the song on their album Dead Ringer.

Commercial performance[edit]

"Seven Year Ache" was Cash's fourth-issued single and her first single released in 1981. Considered her breakthrough recording, the song became Cash's first No. 1 on the Billboard Country Chart, while also crossing over onto the Billboard Pop Chart Top 30, peaking at No. 22. It was also a Top 10 Adult contemporary hit, peaking at No. 6. The single was issued on Cash's second studio album, Seven Year Ache that year, which also produced the No. 1 hits, "My Baby Thinks He's a Train" and "Blue Moon with Heartache."[2]


Chart (1981) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[3] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[4] 22
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[5] 6
Canadian RPM Country Singles 6
Year-end chart (1981) Rank
US Top Pop Singles (Billboard)[6] 97


  1. ^ Konicki Dinoia, Maria. "Inside Out > Overview". allmusic. Retrieved 2009-06-08.
  2. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Rosanne Cash > Biography". allmusic. Retrieved 2009-06-08.
  3. ^ "Rosanne Cash Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  4. ^ "Rosanne Cash Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  5. ^ "Rosanne Cash Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  6. ^ "Number One Awards – Billboard's 1981 Year-End Charts : Pop Singles". Billboard. Vol. 93 no. 51. December 26, 1981. p. YE-9. Retrieved 5 April 2020.