10 Songs To Celebrate Or Condemn Valentine’s Day With – Your Choice

With Valentine’s Day approaching, I thought I would share a few of my favorite love songs.  No surprise there.  But this year, to change things up a bit, I thought I would also share some songs for those who are not fans of this holiday.  Let’s call those the anti-love songs, if you will.  After all, everyone deserves to be happy and to listen to great music, right???

Valentine

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).  

Let’s start with the songs that celebrate the grand emotion.  Here are five of my favorites:

1. The Beatles:  “Something” (1969, written by George Harrison in 1969).

The Beatles changed the world and Lennon-McCartney songs were the nucleus of that success.  But this song written by George Harrison is the best love song the group ever made.  Period.

***Bonus:  Bruce Springsteen performed a gorgeous acoustic version of this song in 2001 days after George Harrison’s death.  A kind wonderful soul who was lucky enough to attend that show posted the audio portion of it on YouTube.  It is too beautiful not to share.

2. Elvis Presley:  “Can’t Help Falling In Love” (1961, written by Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore & George David Weiss circa 1961).

It’s Elvis, singing a beautiful love song.  What more could I possibly add???

3. Bruce Springsteen:  “Drive All Night” (1980, written by Bruce Springsteen circa 1977).

I swear I’ll drive all night again just to buy you some shoes
And to taste your tender charms
And I just want to sleep tonight again in your arms
Oh yeah, oh yeah.”

This song may be number 82 on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Bruce Springsteen Songs of All Time”, but it is in my top five.  I sa-woon every single time I hear this unbelievably beautiful soul filled song full of pure unadulterated love and passion.  A classic and one of the highlights of his 2016 “The River” revisited tour.

4. Blood Sweat & Tears:  “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” (1969, written by Brenda Holloway, Patrice Holloway, Frank Wilson & Berry Gordy in 1967).

David Clayton Thomas has one of the best voices to come out of any era, and one of the most underrated ones as well.  I have no clue why that is.  But between his powerhouse vocals to the booming brass accompaniment, this song is one for the ages.

5. Loggins & Messins:  “A Love Song” (1973, written by Kenny Loggins & Dona Lyn George in 1973).

A sweet pure simple song about love and sharing what;s really important (“I want to rock you in my arms all night long…….I want to show you the peaceful feeling of my home“).

Now, here are five of my favorite anti-love songs:

Anti val

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).  

1. The J. Geils Band:  “Love Stinks

The title and the use of gas masks in the video say it all.  And so does Adam Sandler’s anger ridden performance of this song in “The Wedding Singer“.  

2. Elton John:  “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” (1975, written by Elton John & Bernie Taupin in 1974).

A man attempts suicide to avoid marriage.  What else is there to add???

3. Fleetwood Mac:  “Go Your Own Way” (1976, written by Lindsey Buckingham in 1976).  The first single off the now classic “Rumors” album and the one that details Buckingham’s anger toward his ex-girlfriend Stevie Nicks by announcing to the whole world on a record and in every concert performance what she wanted instead of him (“‘Packing up, Shacking up is all you want to do“).   Ouch.

4. Amy Winehouse:  “Back To Black” (2007, written by Amy Winehouse & Mark Ronson in 2006).

Break ups are hard enough, but when your ex leaves you for his ex, it cuts especially deep.

5. Nazareth:  “Love Hurts” (1974, written by Boudleaux Bryant circa 1960).

The Everly Brothers may have recorded this song first, but Nazareth turned it into a top ten hit, with Dan McCafferty’s vocal making you ache with every note.

Love hurts
Love scars
Love wounds and mars
Any heart not tough or strong enough
To take a lot of pain.”

What are some of your favorite love or anti-love songs?

I do not own the rights to anything in this post.  I am just sharing what I love with you.

Until next time, happy listening!!!

Valentine’s Day Music Countdown: Song #10

The next song on my list is dedicated to my mother who was a big fan of the singer in the #10 spot on my countdown.  His dance moves on stage earned him the nickname “Mr. Excitement” by some and “the black Elvis” by others. But make no mistake:  This man had a voice like no one else before or after him.  The singer?  Jackie Wilson.  The song?  “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher”.

Reaching #6 on the charts in 1967 & written by Gary Jackson and Carl Smith, rumor has it that Wilson recorded the vocal track for this song in one take.  If that is true, it is an incredible testament to his magnificent voice and talent.  He had an astonishing 47 R&B hit songs from 1958 to 1973.  They ran the gamut from ballads to dance tunes to true soul numbers. He was so popular overseas in 1963 that the Beatles opened for one of Wilson’s shows.

“Higher & Higher” is as close to perfect as a song gets, from its perfectly delivered lyrics, to its great impossible-to-sit-still-to-so-get-up-and-move beat, to the incredibly pristine horn arrangements, to the fantastic bass line, to the polish of the entire production. There are not too many love songs like this one, probably because there are not too many performers like Wilson.

His exuberant stage performances were copied by the likes of James Brown, Michael Jackson and Bruno Mars, to name a few.  But no matter how great his dance moves were, nothing compared with the range, power, intensity and considerable passion of Wilson’s voice.

Sadly, that voice was silenced in 1984 when Wilson was just 49 years old.  He became incapacitated after suffering a heart attack on stage in 1975 and spent his remaining years in a nursing home.  As was unfortunately common practice in the early days of Rock & Roll, Wilson died virtually penniless due to the machinations of his record company and manager.  The end of Wilson’s story is one of the saddest in music history.

He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 by Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band.

Notable covers of “Higher & Higher” have been done by Dolly Parton, Rita Coolidge, and Rod Stewart.  But my favorite cover is by one of my heroes (and future husband, if God is listening), Bruce Springsteen.  He started playing this song live with more and more frequency in the last decade, usually as one of his encores.  He and the E Street Band gave it everything they had in this clip from one of their shows in 2009.

Enjoy!!!