Having been throwing together compilations for over 20 years, it’s safe to assume I’m the master of mix tapes. No, not even Rob Gordon (Hi Fidelity) could outperform my skills in cassette mixology. Therefore, I now bring you the 10 greatest love songs that should appear on any mix tape at least once.
Now, I know what you are thinking. Ten greatest love songs? How can one possibly choose just ten? It is not easy, and, honestly, it is a very fickle list at best. Moods and taste change from moment to moment with any compilation. To start though, I have to weed out all the break-up and want to sleep with you songs. Then the “please come back” are also out, because none of these are truly love songs. A true love song is one that helps define a relationship. Its not to try and woo a certain suitor, though it can be used that way. It is the dubious task of picking a song written by someone else that speaks from your own heart. It is a song that describes how you feel for someone, the good and the bad. Secondly, I am also only including one song per artist. Seems only fair, or one could actually do a decent list just from 80’s Chicago. These will be in no matter a one through ten list either, as I do not want to be the one to choose what order they belong.
Fist one the list is by Gavin Rossdale. Lead singer of the 90’s band Bush and husband of Gwen Stefanie. “Love Remains the Same” was released in 2008, on the WANDERlust album. On the technical front, it debuted at #76 in the billboards top 100 and peaked at #27, becoming Gavin’s first top 40 hit since 1995 and Bush’s Sixteen Stone releases. Personally, it is one of the best written songs I have ever heard. It seems to be about a couple who are hitting a rough spot and do not how much more they can take. In the end though, as the song title states, no matter what has gone on or changed in their lives, love still remains.
Bryan Adams has released many love songs over the years. Nobody can deny the allure of that one song from Robin Hood, but I refuse to go there on this list. Mainly because it was just so overplayed. Of course that does not mean Bryan does not belong here. In my eyes, there is a much better song that could hold a top place on any mix tape. Definitely a go-t0 dedication song. That is, of course, “Heaven“. It is a beautifully written song of a man pouring his heart out to his love. Lyrically, it is pure awesome. Just closing your eyes and listening to it will bring about feelings of the one you love.
Now, my next one may catch me a bit of backlash. But in a sea of break up and miss you songs from this group, this particular one stands alone. It was a close call between this and “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, but I would have to choose “Think About You” has to be my all time favorite love song by Guns N’ Roses. It has all the elements I look for in a love anthem. Its deep, full of emotion, and it ROCKS! The song is all about a man telling his girl that she is his best friend and he wants to spend the rest of his life with her. It really is a work of art, even above the November Rain’s and This I Love’s of Axl’s later career.
Next, we journey way back to when I was a lad. Technically before, but the reruns were running when I was growing up at least. They are one of those “fake” bands thrown together for a television show. A record produced had this bright idea to try and manufacture a second Beetles. It worked, somewhat. We all have had many years growing up with The Monkee’s. For this list’s purpose, I have only one song in mind, “I’m A Believer“. It is a wonderfully written song about having basically crappy luck at love before finding truly love at first sight. It may seem cliche, but I for one love the song and the notion in general is something I still believe in.
The Cure has been and always will be quite possibly one of my favorite bands of all time. Its not surprising to find them on any greatest list of mine. Of course what song to choose always remains a chore. In this case, I have to go with the obvious choice though. It is because I happen to agree that it is probably the best. A close second, “Just Like Heaven“, is really up there, but in the end, there is no contest. “Lovesong” is and will forever be one of the most iconic love songs of all time. Robert Smith has a way with lyrics that today’s artists have a long way to go to master. This is perhaps the only song in this list that I would feel would never loose its place. It is a beautiful and powerful song about a love that will never die. Honorable mention for The Cure goes to “Burn“, mainly because The Crow is one of my favorite movies as well.
Next up is a most excellent song redone on more than one occasion. Each version is great in its own right, and is an example of how one can take a song by someone else and make it mean something personally between you and another. “In My Life” has been done many times, but none are as personal as the version recorded by the Man in Black himself. Johnny Cash recorded this song when he knew that his time was short. It was dedicated to the one true love of his life. He has had affection for many different things in his life, but loves her the most. The song is really well written in the first place by the Beetles, but being sang by Johnny Cash just made it so much better. It is possibly a perfect end to the lifetime of music he has given us over the years. We will miss him dearly.
The next artist has been known for her excess and over-the-top persona. Cyndi Lauper may seem a strange choice when thinking of greatest anything, but I assure you she belongs here. “Time After Time” is such a emotional journey in itself. “If your lost, you can look and you will find me” speaks straight from the heart. No matter how far a person goes away from you, you will always be there for them to help them. Always there to catch and support the one you hold dear. It is, as I said before, a truly great song.
The Cranberries have been one of my favorite bands since I first heard “Zombie” back in 1994. When it comes to love songs, they have few to choose from, but only one speaks to me personally. The song in question came before this, in 1993. “Dreams” is my top Cranberries song. Dolores O’Riordan’s voice is unique and angelic as she belts out the chorus.
For my next selection, I am going to one of the masters. With a studio catalog of 1\over 150 songs, Billy Joel has written his share of love songs over the years. One song, though, brings out the full essence as to what is a love song, and as a result makes it to the mix tape. “Shameless” was first released in 1989 on the Storm Front album. It was subsequently covered a few years later by Garth Brooks. Both versions are touching and emotional heart felt giving yourself completely to your love. It really does not get any better than that.
And we are down to the last choice. I am going with a classic redone for this final track. Origionally written by the King, Elvis Presley, and re-recorded by UB40, “(I Can’t Help) Falling in Love WIth You” is a beautifully written song. The slight reggae sound of this version adds a bit of romance that I personally feel was lacking in Elvis’s classic. It is the kind of song that sticks with you, and once you hear it can’t get it out of your head for hours. It is pure and simple in its execution, and that is why I give it the final slot on my mix tape.
Now, some people may not agree with a few or even all my choices. Keep in mind, this is a ten song mix tape. How does one decide what artist to keep and what one to discard? What song gets in over the others? It is really a matter, once again, of current mood and feelings. Relationships change and grow. As they grow, so will the music that influences them. Music is an outward expression of inner feelings, whether it comes to a love ballad or a hate song. Emotion is what gives us these wonderful songs, and it is our emotions that they are intended to reach. In order for a song to be on your personal list, it has to move you in some way. This is why everyone’s list will probably be different. Do not get upset over my choices, but instead challenge yourself to create your own list. Something you can sit back and listen to with your significant other while you both lay back watching the stars. For it is music that creates the soundtrack of our lives.