Growing up, there was always, always music playing in our home. My mom was a classically trained vocalist, who performed on the stage at Radio City Music Hall and with The Ray Conniff Singers. She loved everything from torch song classics and Broadway show tunes to rock and roll and dance tracks. If it had a catchy beat and she could sing along, she was a fan.
The house was also filled with the music my sisters played on their own record players. They were teens in the 60's and 70's, so rock music reigned. Singer songwriters like James Taylor and Carly Simon were names most other five year olds were not well acquainted with, but I knew well. When my sisters went out, I ran into their rooms to play their Led Zeppelin forty-fives and vandalize their Monkees albums with big red hearts.
As a teen in the early 80's, I belted out "What's New" with Linda Rondstat and The Nelson Riddle Orchestra in my room, listened to Dean Martin croon "Tangerine" while setting the table and then turned on MTV to watch The Police and Van Halen. I was brought up in a house full of eclectic music lovers and I had become one myself.
I love it all. Even today.
My kids' friends laugh when they come over. My playlists range from popular songs of today, including rap and pop, but then just like my momma, there are all other genres peppered throughout. Frank Sinatra, Natalie Cole, Tesla, Doobie Brothers, Dolly Parton, Maren Morris, DNCE. If it speaks to me in some way, I'll give it a chance. No decade or style is off limits.
I like it loud.
And I usually sing.
I may dance, too.
My kids love that.
I don't believe I have ever spoken about my love of music, which is odd, because it's such a huge part of my life. So in honor of Valentine's Day, I thought I would share a few of my favorite love songs. I would like to say they're my all time favorite top 5, but they're really just my top 5 today. They may be among my tops next week or next year, but there are so many fabulous songs out there, that maybe not.
In any case, I keep coming back to these. Here they are in no specific order.
That's All by Mel Torme
This one is a classic. All the greats sang it, but in my opinion Mel Torme does is best. I'm listening to right now. The smooth jazz, the piano and oh, those lyrics. No diamond rings, no riches or gold, only love.
"I can only give you love that lasts forever and the promise to be near each time you call...that's all"
But isn't that everything? Swoon. This one gets me every single time.
Through The Fire by Chaka Kahn
This was my choice for a wedding song, but a compromise took us in another direction. I love this woman. Her voice is amazing, she is a powerhouse and this song just drips with soul, delicious, R&B perfection.
"Through the fire, to the limit, to the wall, for the chance to be with you, I'd glad risk it all..."
The lyrics talk of taking a chance on love, one worth fighting for...and it's impossible to stand still while listening to it. Try it. I dare you.
Bargain by The Who
Ok, so most people are totally shocked when I tell them that I think this is one of the most romantic love songs of all time. They hear the driving beat and the screaming guitars ~ which are awesome ~ but again, this one is all about the lyrics.
With words like "I'd gladly lose me to find you, I'd gladly give up all I've got" and "one and one don't make two, one and one make one..." do you blame me?
What girl wouldn't want to hear those words? That puts this one right up there with Mel.
Now, the backstory is that this was indeed written as a love song, but not about a woman. It was written about the bands' faith and so it's a love song to God. The Who, a Christian rock band. Huh. Who knew?
For Good from Wicked
Have you seen Wicked? It's an amazing show, the music is glorious, yes, yes, but it's the story that's the true gem. It's a celebration of friendship between women. How many special girlfriends have come in and out of your life over the years? They are women you won't spend a lifetime with, but they have touched your life forever and you have been left a better person because you knew them. No matter how briefly. That's what this show is about and what this particular song expresses so well.
"You'll be with me like a handprint on my heart" and "Because I knew you, I have been changed for good..."
True love between friends.
Until The Night by Billy Joel
I grew up on Billy Joel tunes, he's a local favorite, too. I know all the words to every one of his songs, but this one holds a special place. It reminds me of a time when I lived far away from my now husband, then boyfriend, while attending college. Sometimes the distance was manageable, but sometimes the anticipation of seeing each other again was overwhelming.
Ah, breathless young love.
"Until the night, I just might make it, when I see you again.."
And storytelling at its best.
I think that's what sets good music apart from great music for me.
As a writer, I suppose it makes sense.
Music is so personal. Some people connect with the rhythm, the artist, the sound of their voice.
For me, it's clearly the words.
And I think mom would approve.
How about you? What your favorite love songs?
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