Song for the Lonely
|"Song for the Lonely"|
|Single by Cher|
|from the album Living Proof|
|Released||March 19, 2002|
|Writer(s)||Mark Taylor, Paul Barry, Steve Torch|
|Cher singles chronology|
"Song for the Lonely" is a song recorded by American singer-actress Cher for her 24th studio album, Living Proof. It was released on March 19, 2002, as the second single from the album in Europe while in North America it was released as the lead single, by Warner Bros. and WEA. The song was performed in some American television programs and in her 2002–2005 Farewell Tour.
Background and release
Cher recorded "Song for the Lonely" in Summer 2001 in London and was going to include it on her twenty-fourth studio album Living Proof, and it immediately became her favorite song. However, after the September 11 attacks, she began thinking of it in a different way. In an interview with Larry King Live, at the time, she thought of it as a love song, but after the attacks, she felt the song was right for the occasion. "After 9/11, I was listening to the album one day, and I started listening to that song, and all of a sudden it took on a completely different meaning because, when I listened to the words, oh, you know, when heroes fall in love and war, they live forever", she completed. Cher commented that "Song for the Lonely" was one of the best songs she has ever had the opportunity to sing, because before the attacks, "we still lived in a world of innocence [...] [and] since the world has changed so dramatically, the lyrics have a different weight. They're heavier, yet they're comforting at the same time. Over the past month or so, I've had a number of people tell me that the song has helped them cope. What a humbling compliment". According to Cher's official web site and album liner notes, "Song for the Lonely" is 'dedicated to the courageous people of New York especially the fire fighters, the police, Mayor Giuliani, Governor Pataki and my friend Liz'.
Since its release, public's reaction to "Song for the Lonely" had been positive. James Lonten, manager of a Borders Books & Music in New York, which has been stocking Living Proof since its European release, commented, "That goes without saying. We play the track in-store, and it literally stops people dead in their tracks. It's an instantly affecting, highly emotional song". John Boulos, senior vice-president of promotion at Warner Bros. Records, said: "Obviously, we're not exploiting [the September 11 events] as a selling point to the single, but it has undeniably drawn the interest of people. We simply feel that we have an incredible song by a truly legendary artist. That's a pretty potent combination to take it to the street". "Song for the Lonely" served as the first American single and second Canadian single from Living Proof, and was originally intended to follow "Alive Again" as the third European single, but it was dropped due to complications with Cher's record company. However, the song was released as a promo CD and sent to European radio stations.
"Song for the Lonely" received generally positive reviews from music critics. AllMusic highlighted the song and praised, "Cher takes a brief break from her inquisitiveness about love to dedicate the bold, heartfelt opening track, in honor of the September 11th tragedy, 'Song for the Lonely' to 'the courageous people of New York, especially the firefighters, police, Mayor Guiliani, Governor Pataki.' " Rolling Stone also agreed by writing that it "clearly intends to evoke September 11th." Slant Magazine noted that it "wisely abandons such (otherwise welcomed) electronic shenanigans for a pure and impassioned performance."
The song was a hit, despite only peaking at #85 on the Hot 100, it managed top 40 on some U.S airplay charts.
The music video for "Song for the Lonely" was directed by Stu Maschwitz. The video features Cher walking around the streets of New York City. While the setting for the start of the video is in the 1800s (decade), Cher is dressed in modern-day clothes. The video is also in Sepia. The video progresses to black and white, and then to color, as the times for the setting of the video change to the 1900s (decade) through various eras to the present day. As the timeline changes, buildings around New York are shown being constructed. The video is intercept with shots of Cher dressed in white as an angel or God-like figure, which is overlaid in some shots, as well as shots of New York from the air. People from each stage of the development of New York join Cher as she walks the streets until at the end, there is a large crowd of people from all eras.
The popularity of "Song for the Lonely" in the clubs proved to be very successful and because of this, two remix videos were created by Dan-O-Rama, one for the almighty remix and one for the Thunderpuss remix. The remix videos only use footage of the 'white' angel/goddess Cher, overlaid with visual effects, clouds and photos and graphics from the Living Proof artwork, as well as silhouettes of 2 dancers.
The video projection screen during the performance of "Song for the Lonely" on Cher's Farewell Tour included elements from both the original and remix videos. Elements were also incorporated into the projection for the "Love Medley" which replaced "Song for the Lonely" on the European leg of the tour.
The video for "Song For The Lonely" was included on the DVD The Very Best of Cher: The Video Hits Collection. The ending of this video is slightly different from the one previously released. The video ends with a shot of New York from above. In the video on the DVD collection, Cher is superimposed on top of this shot, this was not the case in the original version.
In order to promote the song and its accompanying album, Cher made a number of performances for "Song for the Lonely". She opened the 2002 American Music Awards on January 9, 2002 with a performance of the song, accompanied by dancers and wearing a blonde wig. She also appeared on The Rosie O'Donnell Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Late Show with David Letterman and VH1 Divas promoting the song. It was added to Cher's 2002–05 Living Proof: The Farewell Tour setlist. During the first four legs of the tour, as the second song on the setlist; the performance for the song began when the singer's back-up dancers removed her headdress and robe to unveil a revealing midriff-baring vest and beaded harem pants. After dropping it for five legs, the song was re-added only on the last show, where it was used as tour finale.
Cher performed the song on Cher at the Colosseum for the first week of shows only.
Usage in media
In 2005, "Song for the Lonely" was used internationally in television advertisements for Weight Watchers showing overweight women. However, the choice of song, suggesting that the overweight women were desperate, lonely and unloved, raised complaints, and the advert was soon edited to include only an instrumental of the song.
Formats and track listings
These are the formats and track listings of all single releases of "Song for the Lonely".
When the American version of Living Proof was released in 2002, the track name, which was originally "(This Is) A Song for the Lonely" on European pressings of Living Proof, had been changed to simply "Song for the Lonely". Later US pressings of the album also substituted the radio edit of the song for the longer album version.
Same track listing as the US 2×12 vinyl but without the "Thunderpuss Radio" and "Thunderpuss Sunrise Radio" remixes.
US promo CD 
UK promo CD 
Colombian promo CD (SID43)
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