Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Love Songs for Valentines Day

It's nearly Valentine's Day so I'm reposting my own list of twenty-nine favourite love songs. Songs that make you weep. Songs that say it all. (Songs that might even some sort of 'guilt by association.') And yes, I've added a few, and I've kept all the original comments -- feel free to add your own choice for the thirtieth.
  • Are You the One That I've Been Waiting For - Nick Cave
  • You (Bring Out the Worst in Me) - Legionnaires
  • Hallelujah - John Cale (after Leonard Cohen)
  • Je T'Aime (Moi Non Plus) - Serge Gainsbourg
  • Into You Like a Train - Psychedelic Furs
  • Dance Me to the End of Love - Leonard Cohen
  • Wintersturme/Du bist der Lenz - Wagner (Die Walkure)
  • Coney Island Baby - Lou Reed
  • Pale Blue Eyes - VU
  • Summer Song - Louis Armstrong/Dave Brubeck
  • Black - Pearl Jam
  • Dein ist mein Ganzes Herze - Frank Lehar (Land of Smiles)
  • Che gelida manina - Puccini (Boheme)
  • You Can Put Your Shoes Under My Bed - Paul Kelly
  • Constant Craving- KD Lang
  • Flower Song - Bizet (Carmen)
  • European Female - Stranglers
  • Un Bel Di (One Fine Day)- Puccini (Butterfly)
  • Transfiguration - Wagner (Tristan & Isolde)
  • Bailero - Canteloube (Songs of the Auvergne)
  • Hooky Wooky - Lou Reed
  • Surabaya Jonny - Dagmar Krause (Kurt Weill)
  • Business Time - Flight of the Conchords
  • Creole Love Call - Duke Ellington
  • Stardust - Louis Armstrong (Hoagy Carmichael)
  • A Love Supreme - John Coltrane
  • I'm Sticking With You - Velvet Underground
  • Another Girl, Another Planet - Only Ones
    and, finally,
  • Love Song - The Damned
(Painting at head of the page, by the way, is Denouement, by Michael Newberry, depicting, as Newberry says "a story about what I think is the most sublime moment that one can experience in life: love" -- in other words, saying in paint what love songs should say in music.

Pictures above, by the way, show two composers who feature twice in the list of songs: Puccini (in a painting also by Newberry); and Leonard Cohen, photographed out and about in LA recently.)


  1. Stone Temple Pilots - Still Remains

    The man wants to drink her bathwater and die with her. If that's not love then what is?


    Jeff Buckley - Last Goodbye

    "Must I dream and always see your face?"

  2. Okay I am going to cop it for this one, but Icehouse's Electric Blue is freaking awesome:

    "Are you hiding somewhere behind those eyes?"

    Love is so much more fun (and painful) when it's unrequited :oP

  3. You can't beat Cohen's Dance me to the end of love. Cohen is a genius at distilling complex emotions down to the bare bones.

    Also Springsteens's If I Should Fall Behind,and Sinead O'connors (actually Prince wrote it), Nothing Compares 2U.

  4. Blair: drink bathwater & die? Gross!

    Drink the best champagne there is, and live, baby! :)

  5. Dire Straits' "Romeo and Juliet" does it for me.

    Cohen's "Hallelujah" would if it wasn't so overused in pop culture, and if it wasn't usually sung in such a wussy way -- Jeff Buckley, I'm looking at you.

    Here, Aussie musical comedian Tim Minchin sings it as a duet -- he appears to be having a minor aneurism, but he gives it the guts it really needs.

  6. And So It Goes by Billy Joel.

    Makes me blub.

  7. Cohen's "Hallelujah" would if it wasn't so overused in pop culture, and if it wasn't usually sung in such a wussy way -- Jeff Buckley, I'm looking at you.

    Absolutely...Shrek was a particularly low point...

  8. Astaire/Rogers, "A Fine Romance"
    Otis Redding, "That's How Strong My Love Is"
    Magnetic Fields, "It's Only Time"
    Louis Armstrong, "Let's Do It"
    Clifford Brown with Strings, "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes"
    Billie Holliday, "Comes Love" or "All or Nothing at All"
    The Flamingos, "I Only Have Eyes For You"
    Sarah Vaughan, "The Sweetest Sounds"
    Etta James, "At Last"
    Billie Eckstine, "In the Still fo the Night"
    The Three Degrees, "When WIll I See You Again"
    Cocteau Twins, "I Wear Your Ring"
    Billy Bragg, "Strange Things Happen"
    Freda Payne, "Band of Gold"
    My Bloody Valentine, "Feed Me With Your Kiss"

  9. Springsteen's Thunder Road has the great line relevant to most of us mortals

    "you ain't a beauty but hey you're alright, and that's alright with me."

    has a lot of other good lines too.

    " Mary climb in,
    It's a town full of losers
    And I'm pulling out of here to win"

    Endorse the Prince choice. Other ones I really like.

    First cut is the deepest, Cat Stevens

    Waterloo Sunset, the kinks

    Maggie May, Rod Stewart

    I;ll be your Mirror, Velvet underground and Nico.

    Jolene, Dolly Parton

    First Time Ever I saw Her Face, Roberta Flack

    Suzanne, Leonard Cohen

    Songbird, Fleetwood Mac


  10. Hi Insider: love Songbird, too. But have you ever heard Eva Cassidy's version? Sublime. Her album of the same name is full of glorious songs - and when you think that most of them were recorded in one take (and with a sore throat!), it's just astonishing.

    Her version of 'Over the Rainbow' blows me away every time I hear it. What a range.

  11. Joe Jackson-Drowning

    For my money, the ultimate song of unrequited love.

    Bee Gees-How Deep Is Your Love

    Ultimate guilty pleasure love song.

    Lou Reed-Tell It To Your Heart

    When Reed is good he's f@#$ing awesome.

  12. Bird on a Wire - Jennifer Warnes with Leonard Cohen.

    It lifts the soul with Cohen's sombre presence - that's its genius I guess.

  13. Or, for a New Zealand flavour:

    Not given lightly - Chris What's-his-name

    Now, which Bic runga song ... Sway?

    And which is your favour Hone Rowles song, PC?

  14. No Cole Porter? Where are...

    Night and Day
    You Do Something to Me
    I Concentrate on You
    At Long Last Love
    I've Got You Under My Skin

  15. I'm very surpised that no one has yet mentioned "I'm Not In Love" by 10cc.

    Probably the only straight (non-parody) number they ever performed.

  16. Walk this world with me – Heather Nova
    Something in the air – Thunderclap Newman
    Joe Jackson – stepping out
    On the beach – Chris Rea (original version)
    Acker Bilk – Stranger on the shore
    Girl from Ipanema - Stan Getz & Astrud Gilberto
    Don’t fear the reaper – Blue Oyster Cult
    Our Shangrila – Mark Knopfler
    Man in the long black cloak – Bob Dylan


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