They don’t make love songs like they used to anymore. Or is it the status and meaning of love that has changed over the years? Think of George Benson’s “Nothing's gonna change my love for you, you oughta know by now how much I love you!” or Stevie Wonder’s “I just called to say I love you,” or the hundreds of other love songs from that golden era. Thanks to Youtube, you can still get your hands and ears on them. Compared to songs of present times, the ones in the past had more substance and emotion. One of the most popular ‘love’ songs currently is ‘Mad Love’ by Sean Paul. The lyrics goes something like this, “Watch the tempo, Watch the tempo, Watch the tempo, Watch the tempo, Watch the tempo, Watch the tempo, Love me, give me some mad love.” Absolutely romantic, isn’t it? Keeping sarcasm aside, one can’t help but wonder what went wrong. While not all are bad, one out of hundred pop songs of current times does resonate, but most of them now are filled with filthy lyrics and pre-programmed sounds. That’s the reason we are looking back this Valentine’s day because past is where songs were truly eloquent and beautiful. Here are some of the greatest love tracks of all time:
‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ by Elvis Presley (1969)The heartthrob of many of yesteryears as well as of now, Elvis Presley sang one of the most powerful love songs ever. His version of the song topped the British charts in 1962, spending four weeks at no. 1. In the United States, the song peaked at No. 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100behind Joey Dee and the Starliters' "Peppermint Twist" and went to No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart for six weeks. This song is like a lucky charm and any who sang it found nearly equal success. It has been recorded by numerous other artists, including Bob Dylan on his 1973 album ‘Dylan’, Tom Smothers, Swedish pop group A-Teens, and the British reggae group UB40, whose 1993 version topped the U.S. and UK charts. One of the most recent covers is by Twenty One Pilots and it was just as beautiful and heartwarming like it had always been.
‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’ by Stevie Wonder (1989)
In 1984, the Oscar went to Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You”. Wonder said that he had the late John Lennon in mind for a song he claimed he had first thought of in 1976. “I had the melody and lyric for the chorus, and I imagined in my mind when hearing the chords that The Beatles were singing with me. And that idea and feeling is what inspired me to use the vocoder.” The song was written for the movie ‘The Woman’ in Red, a mediocre comedy starring Gene Wilder. It lives to be one of the sweetest love songs ever made to the point some even find it too saccharine. In 2018, John Prine made a watered down version of the song with the essential charm minus.
‘My Heart Will Go On’ by Celine Dion (1997)
Céline Dion’s power ballad “My Heart Will Go On”, the theme song of James Cameron’s hit film ‘Titanic’, has been bought more than 20 million times. “My Heart Will Go On” is the romantic ballad playing as Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet embrace at the front of the ill-fated liner that crashed into an iceberg. Dion showed great technical skill coping with the tricky modulations of a song written by James Horner and Will Jennings, while the poignant tin-whistle playing is courtesy of Andrea Corr.
‘Love Story’ by Taylor Swift (2008)This song is a bit more recent than the rest and so many from this generation can relate to. However, it still has aged more than a decade. Some of us miss that old Taylor Swift, the Taylor who used to wear a white gown and sing a sweet love ballad of Romeo who needed to come and marry her. Now, it’s more of “Look what you made her do” songs. The song had won multiple awards including best song, best music video, best female video, etc. Although Taylor had sung many other love and heartbreak songs since then, nothing can match the melody of ‘Love Story’. Kate Kiefer of ‘Paste’ magazine recognized the song to be Swift's best and added that once the lyrics are learned, it is impossible to not sing along.