Ah, the power of love! Your heart beats faster, your eyes open wider, and you are much more likely to hear a love song. Every February 14, and during the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, the nation’s music options get more romantic.
Over the years, some wonderfully powerful love songs have been recorded. In fact, the hardest part of writing this article was cutting the list down to just ten tunes.
So if you can’t find your favorite love song here, please email me at [email protected] and let me know your wishes on the subject. In the meantime, you may want to visit http://www.romantic-lyrics.com or http://www.theromantic.com for a large selection of songs, often with the full lyrics.
But now, sit back, relax, put a chocolate bonbon in your mouth and read some surprising facts about the ten best love songs for Valentine’s Day (in chronological order):
“Someone to watch over me”, George and Ira Gershwin, 1926.
The birthplace of this charming and moody theme was an otherwise light and sparkling Broadway musical called “Oh, Kay.” The song was originally fast-paced, but soon went into ballad form, according to the lyrics. There have been evocative versions of the song every year since it was first composed, with a wide variety of artists contributing notable covers, including Rosemary Clooney, Doris Day, Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Elton John, the rapper Queen Latifah (though his is not a rap version), trumpeter Chris Botti, pianist Keith Jarrett, blues legend Etta James, Barbra Streisand and Sting, who sang it over the opening credits of Ridley Scott’s film 1987 of the same name.
“Night and Day”, by Cole Porter, 1932.
Written for the play “Gay Divorce” and also featured in the movie “The Gay Divorcee,” this may be the most famous of Porter’s over 800 songs, and illustrates his seemingly effortless flow of words, culminating with the bold declaration that all the torments of life will not end “Until you let me spend my life making love to you, day and night, night and day.” Such is the economics of Porter’s writing that this single phrase combines the singer’s desire with a promise of undying love as he manages to reverse and rephrase the title, all in 17 words. This is why many songwriters would want to tell Porter, “You’re the Top,” which is another of his famous songs, and they would have made this list if it weren’t so full of humor.
“Unchained Melody”, Alex North and Hy Zaret, 1936.
William Stirrat was 16 years old and too shy to approach the girl of his dreams, so he wrote one of the most beautiful tales of love and nostalgia in the world (using Zaret as a pseudonym). The impressive melody was by Alex North (who went on to compose sheet music for “Spartacus”, “Cleopatra” and many other films). It was 19 years before her song appeared in the prison movie, “Unchained,” where it was nominated for an Oscar for Best Song. Al Hibbler sang it in the film, but that same year saw the song hit the charts in covers by Hibbler, Les Baxter, Roy Hamilton and June Valli. Among the nearly 700 artists who have recorded this song are Harry Belafonte, Liberace, Jimmy Young, U2, Leann Rimes, Neil Diamond, Willie Nelson, Heart, Elvis Presley and, of course, the Righteous Brothers. Their 1965 recording was a great success and reached the top twenty again a quarter of a century later when it appeared on the soundtrack of “Ghost” in 1990. The duo rerecorded the song the same year and THAT version also made the top. twenty.
“First time I saw your face”, by Ewan MacColl, 1957.
Some people describe the version sung by Roberta Flack as a long, slowly growing flame that caused a sensation when it appeared in Clint Eastwood’s 1971 directorial debut “Play Misty for Me.” The experimental playwright and folk singer MacColl wrote it 14 years earlier for his partner, Peggy Seeger, who needed a romantic song for a play. Written in less than an hour, the song virtually defines the term “love song.” Flack’s is the definitive version, but the song has been recorded by dozens of artists from many genres, including Johnny Cash, Celine Dion, Elvis Presley, Mel Torme, Isaac Hayes, Gordon Lightfoot, and George Michael.
“Cherish” by Terry Kirkman, 1966.
Kirkman reportedly wrote this beautiful song in half an hour while he was keyboardist for the Los Angeles-based band The Association. With wonderfully expressive vocal harmonies, the song is actually about unrequited love, but its feeling of desire is so strong that this melody is still played at weddings and anniversary parties. Some Internet sites explain that the recording lasted almost three and a half minutes, which was too much for the radio in those days, so the song was sped up to 3:13 but on the label it appears as 3:00. It later became the first hit for David Cassidy, star of the television series “The Partridge Family,” but that shouldn’t deter you from watching the original.
“Only God Knows” by Brian Wilson, 1966.
Although it begins with the line, “I may not always love you,” the rest of the song is as adamant about eternal love as anything else that has been written. On the Beach Boys recording, Carl Wilson’s lead vocal achieves a rarefied combination of strength and tenderness and the entire track is ethereal in its beauty. The versions of the song appear in the films “Boogie Nights” and “Saved”, while the original is at the end of the charming Richard Curtis film, “Love, Actually”.
“Your Song”, by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, 1967.
The original lyrics sheet is said to have coffee stains because Taupin wrote the song at breakfast one morning at John’s parents’ home, where he and the soon-to-be superstar artist lived. While some mistakenly think that this was the first collaboration between John and Taupin, it was one of their earliest jobs. John reportedly wrote the tune in 20 minutes. The song perfectly captures the sense of wonder experienced by anyone who has fallen in love.
“I will always love you”, by Dolly Parton, 1974.
When Dolly Parton ended her professional songwriting relationship with Porter Wagoner, she wrote this heartfelt breakup song even though they were not romantically involved. The result was a number one country for Parton. He recorded another version for the 1978 film, “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” and it again reached number one on the country charts. Whitney Houston’s version of the song appeared in the 1992 film, “The Bodyguard,” and dominated the contemporary adult, soul, and pop charts for weeks. Not a day goes by without someone touching it to show the depth of their love, which is ironic since it is a song about parting.
“Heaven”, by Jim Vallance and Bryan Adams, 1983.
Written for the fortunately forgotten 1983 film “A Night in Heaven,” the song also appeared on Adams’ album “Reckless” the following year and reached number one. Today, a whole new generation knows the song from DJ Sammy’s 2002 dance version, which was recorded with Yanou and features the voice of Do (Dominique van Hulst). This modern, rhythmic version, which is influential on the dance floor but still conveys the all-encompassing passion of love, now appears in more than a dozen different remixes and has appeared in nearly two dozen countries.
“In Your Eyes”, by Peter Gabriel, 1986.
This track from Gabriel’s album “So” has been called the most beautiful love song ever recorded. There is no denying his passion and power, with unusual chords and lyrics that touch on spiritual and metaphysical themes. Film director Cameron Crowe worked hard (and reportedly paid $ 200,000) to include the song in his movie, “Say Anything” (in the scene where John Cusack is holding a stereo over his head). Another popular story about the song is that it was written for Gabriel’s then-girlfriend, Rosanna Arquette. If true, it would mean that she had two hit songs written for her that decade, as it is the theme for Toto’s “Rosanna” from 1982.