Seven Year Ache

Album: Seven Year Ache (1981)
Charted: 22


  • 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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England
  • 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.
  • This is by far the biggest hit for Rosanne Cash, whose only other Hot 100 chart appearance is "Blue Moon With Heartache," which bubbled under at #104 in 1982. 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.

Comments: 7

  • Country Till I Die from TennesseeWhat does splitting your dice to be someone you're not mean
  • from Grew Up In Portland, OregonWow! So cool to come across this page and find the comments and little tidbits that I did not know about. The story from Lee from Birmingham, Alabama is so awesome. Thanks, Lee, for sharing that. I used to sing this song all the time when I was in 8th grade because I had this crush on a boy named Andy who did not reciprocate my affinity. It was my favorite song back then. I loved singing it when I owned my karaoke business back in the 90's, Star Entertainment, to start the show and get people up and singing. It was while I was singing country music at Zanzibar on 82nd & Sandy Blvd in Portland, Oregon that somebody came up to me right after I had started the show with a country song and they said to me, "You should sing country." I took that as if it was a message from God. I wasn't listening to country music at that time. I only started to listen to country music after that person said that to me. I figured that if I'm going to start singing country music, I better start listening to it. It quickly became my favorite form of music as new artists were changing the sound of country music at the time. It was the 90's when Faith Hill, Lari White, Lisa Brokop, Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, JoDee Messina, Carolyn Dawn Johnson and other great female country artists had music being played on the radio and on CMT (Country Music Television). I fell in love with the country music of the 90's. And in 1993 I decide to pursue country music as a career. My website is if you wanna check out any of my music.
  • Dave from Wheaton, IlA number of country stations refused to play it, because they thought it had too much of a pop drumbeat.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 19th 1981, "Seven Year Ache" by Rosanne Cash entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #89; and on June 12th it peaked at #22 (for 2 weeks) and spent 20 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on May 17th it reached #1 (for 1 week) on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart...
    Was track two of side two on her third studio album, 'Seven Year Ache', and on May 31st the album reached #1 (for 2 weeks) on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart...
    Two other tracks from the album also made the country singles chart and both also peaked at #1; "My Baby Thinks He's a Train" (for 1 week) and "Blue Moon with Heartache" (also for 1 week)...
    Ms. Cash will celebrate her 59th birthday in one month on May 24th.
  • Lee from Birmingham, AlThis is a very long story, that I will try to condense. In 1979, while working, as the Music Director and Asst. Program Director, for the #1 CHR (top 40) radio station, in Nashville, I met Johnny Cash in a grocery store check out line. We had a brief conversation, about the owner, of the station, I worked for, who was the former VP of the country division of Columbia Records, and a good friend of Johnny's. A few months later I had to pick up the owner, at home, and give him a ride to the station. When he got in the station van, he told me he had something, for me to listen to, and a friend wanted me to pick the first single, from the tape. I asked him who it was and all he would tell me was, it was the daughter of a friend. I listened to about 90 seconds, of the very 1st song, and ejected the tape. I said to him, "This is awesome! It's got to be the first single!...WHO IS THIS?"...He finally grinned and said, "Her name is Roseanne Cash."...Almost a year later, I had moved to Birmingham, Alabama, and held the same position, at another radio station, when a record company rep called on me to pitch a single to add to our playlist. I, once again, listened to about 90 seconds, stopped the song, looked at him, and started laughing!...When he asked, what was so funny, I told him, that I had chosen it, to be the 1st single, a year earlier, before the album ever went to press!...The song was, of course, Seven Year Ache!
    -Lee, Birmingham, Al
  • Briar from Hazard, KyThis is a good song. It was used in Texasville, a sequel to The Last Picture Show. Both stared Jeff Bridges and Cybil Shephard
  • Camille from Toronto, OhAt a time when I listened to rock, and top 40 on the Billboard, this song's sublime musical intro and ensuing velvety voice singing a melancholy lyric captured my attention like nothing else at the time. One of the first "country" songs I ever counted as one of my all-time favorite songs. Roseanne sings it to PERFECTION.
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