Here's a really cheesy video that Google recommends when listening to this song:
I never know when I might start singing this song. When I was a kid it was probably because some dumb thing had made me think my life was a cesspool of sentiment and no song could better describe my forlorn state.
These days I guess it's just because the song has implanted itself deep into my musical dna.
Listening to it now, deliberately, yes, the song does show a few signs of age. But it is in fact a pretty great song. The fascinating way it emphasizes 'I'---in contract to how it emphasizes the word 'you'---is part of it. Randy VanWarmer suggested two reasons: one that nasty breakups are universal (though I love this song and have never gone through one) and the sweet autoharp break. My personal opinion is that it's the heartbroken pathos of his voice. And the fact that it is pathos and not bathos. He feels sincerely damaged, but not trying to wallow therein.
It's a beautiful song. It's not complicated. It's simple and therefore direct and therefore finds its way past my ironic barriers.
If you're interested, here's a Dolly Parton cover I just found.
The parts with the backup singers are hilariously badly aged. The parts with the actors, however....
I'm sure there are terribly saccharine covers out there, but the song doesn't require adornment. The simpler, methinks, the better.
You're welcome to join me on a journey through 1979 on YouTube!