This is the 107th post in a weekly series. Read about it here and see the list of previous songs here. A new post about a different song is posted each Monday. You can listen to the songs in a Spotify playlist.

Biographers seem unable to agree what specifically inspired Ray Davies to write “Stop Your Sobbing,” which appeared on The Kinks’ 1964 self-titled debut album. But there seems to be some agreement that it was an “old girlfriend,” at least according to Thomas Kitts, who wrote “Ray Davies: Not Like Everybody Else,” and Rob Jovanovic, who wrote “God Save The Kinks: A Biography.”

The song’s message is pretty well laid out in the title:

It is time for you to stop all of your sobbing
Yes it’s time for you to stop all of your sobbing
There’s one thing you gotta do
To make me still want you
Gotta stop sobbing now
Yeah, stop it, stop it
Gotta stop sobbing now
It is time for you to laugh instead of crying
Yes it’s time for you to laugh so keep on trying
There’s one thing you gotta do
To make me still want you

Of the original songs on “Kinks,” “Stop Your Sobbing” and “You Really Got Me” are the songs most likely to be known by casual fans. But “Stop Your Sobbing” was eclipsed by “You Really Got Me,” both on the album and in general. This is in large part because “Stop Your Sobbing” wasn’t released as a single, whereas “You Really Got Me” became a hit.

That said, “Stop Your Sobbing” wasn’t completely forgotten and ignored. It inspired a pair of covers in 1965, one by The Steel Chords…

…and the other by John E. Sharpe & The Squires.

But the “Stop Your Sobbing” cover that gave the song new life came from The Pretenders in 1979, later appearing on the band’s 1980 debut album. Nick Lowe produced The Pretenders’ version of the song, but cut ties with the band afterward, declaring “This group’s not going anywhere. I’m not gonna work with them again.”

Turns out that Lowe was wrong. (I still love him, though, particularly for “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding.”) The single for “Stop Your Sobbing” reached Number 34 in the UK and Number 65 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album peaked at Number 9 on the Billboard 200 and Number 1 in the UK. And the momentum continued for the band.

The Pretenders’ version of “Stop Your Sobbing” was noteworthy for other reasons beyond how the single and its parent album performed on the charts. The song was, in part, responsible for Chrissie Hynde meeting Ray Davies, which ultimately led to the two of them having a kid together.

The two reportedly met on May 3, 1980, at a Pretenders show at the Palladium in New York. According to Johnny Rogan, who wrote “Ray Davies: A Complicated Life,” this was a meeting that had been in the works for a while. Rogan wrote that Hynde had wanted to meet Davies ever since she had first been turned onto The Kinks as a teenager. “She couldn’t take the sudden fame that had come to her,” Davies told Rogan, “and I think she saw me as someone who had done all that rock ’n’ roll stuff and understood it… It was a good friendship for a few weeks, but that should have been it.”

It wasn’t. Their romance became public knowledge after Davies’s second marriage ended. He and Hynde had planned to get married, but it never happened. Instead, she ended up marrying Jim Kerr of Simple Minds.

None of the other covers of “Stop Your Sobbing” provide anything nearly as rich as that, though that’s not to say that none of the other covers have been interesting.

“This Is Where I Belong: The Songs of Ray Davies & the Kinks” was a 2002 tribute album that had a roster of contributors as varied as Davies’s catalog. The charge of covering “Stop Your Sobbing” went to Jonathan Richman. It was a quirky acoustic cover that sounded delightfully strange, particularly as Richman sounded as if he wasn’t talking a partner but rather a dog he was scolding.

Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson performed together in 2009 while being interviewed at KCRW. The pair was there to talk about “Break Up,” a duets album they released together. The concept album followed the beginning, middle, and eventual end of a relationship between two people. And while “Stop Your Sobbing” didn’t appear on the album, it certainly fit the theme.

Hailing from Valencia, Spain, the band Euro Trash Girl had a sound reminiscent of the alternative rock scene of the ’90s. This makes sense, given that the band shares a name with a Cracker song from that same era. In 2011, Euro Trash Girl released “Afterhours,” an EP that included one original song, and two covers: “Stop Your Sobbing” and Eurythmics “When Tomorrow Comes.” In Euro Trash Girl’s hands, “Stop Your Sobbing” sounded like it could be been a B-side to a Belly single in the mid-’90s. And delightfully so.

Pittsburgh band Action Camp’s website describes the band as an “art rock” band “heavily into doom, post-punk, and surf influences channeled through fierce female vocals, thick low-tuned instrumentation, and touches of samples and synthesis.” The group’s 2015 album “MA” was a covers album and companion piece to the band’s 2014 album, “PA.” Action Camp’s cover of “Stop Your Sobbing” had the spirit of Hynde’s vocals with a sound heavier than both The Pretenders’ version and Euro Trash Girl’s cover.

It’s worth noting that the majority of the versions that have been recorded featured female vocalists. These versions can play off of societal views of gender and how gender factors into relationships. If we read the song as being about a relationship between a man and a woman, the song can challenge or confirm our biases about gender roles depending on whether it’s a man singing to a woman or a woman singing to a man. Then again, it could be a man singing to another man, a woman singing to a woman, and so on.

But it’s also worth noting the song has appeared on at least two Pretenders tributes over the years, including one in 2000…

…and one in 2011.

This follows a trend we saw in previous posts, when songs were so associated with the cover artist that other bands covered it for tribute albums. Many Blondie tributes included versions of “Hanging On The Telephone” and “The Tide Is High,” even though both of those were covers.

In the grand scheme of things, “Stop Your Sobbing” holds a humble spot among the songs in cover songs uncovered. It’s not the highest-charting song by the Pretenders, or the most-covered song by The Kinks. And yet, “Stop Your Sobbing” has a distinct place in the series. In the 100-plus posts thus far, we’ve looked at covers that birthed careers, and at least one cover that could be argued as birthing a genre. But “Stop Your Sobbing” might be the first song in the series where a cover was partially responsible for the birth of a child. Or, at least, where a person who covered a song had a child with the person who wrote and first recorded it.

You can listen to these songs and previously discussed cover songs in a Spotify playlist.
Sign up for the weekly newsletter here.