Many love songs are addressed directly to the person being admired. This means that a girl's name often appears in the title. Some well-known examples are "Maria" (from "West Side Story"), "Michelle" (The Beatles), "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair" (Stephen Foster). It seems that songs sung from the girls point of view, with a man's name in the title, are less frequent. In 1964 Cilla Black had a hit with "You're MY World". Unusually, the song does not specify the sex of the singer. In the same year it was a hit for Harry Secombe. He did not need to change any of the words to make it refer to a man's love of a woman. The Crystals had a hit with "Then He Kissed Me". It was a simple matter for the Beach Boys to change a few words, and this became "Then I Kissed Her", also a hit. Other examples of songs with girls names in the title are "Annie's Song" (John Denver), "Peggy Sue" (Buddy Holly) and "Sherry" (The Four Seasons).
Explicit love songs have never been commercially successful. However it is usually possibly to use ambiguities to make a song suggestive. "Tainted Love" (Soft Cell) is perhaps the best known example. Some historical or local names for a sweetheart often appear in the title. For example "My Old Dutch" (Albert Chevalier) contains the cockney rhyming slang word "Dutch" = "Duchess of Fife" = "Wife". Robert Burns' "John Anderson, My Jo" has the word "Jo" (18th century word for a sweetheart). Love songs in the first person are quite rare before the middle of the nineteenth century, but it is not known why this should be.
Changes in style mean that few songs survive more than fifty years, but there are exceptions. Al Jolson had a hit with "You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want to Do It)". It is better known in the film version by Judy Garland. "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" (Friedman, Whitson) dates from 1910, and is still quite familiar. "I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby" (McHugh, Fields) has become a jazz standard. Cole Porter (a bisexual) wrote many witty love songs. The best known one is possibly "I've Got You Under My Skin (song)". "You're Driving Me Crazy" (Walter Donaldson) has the jaunty feel of the 1920s, and is almost synonymous with Americans dancing the Charleston. Other songs that have survived from the 1920s included "The Very Thought of You" (Ray Noble), "All of Me (song)" (Marks, Simmons) and the country and western song "(I'm) Confessin' (That I Love You)" (Daugherty, Neiberg, Reynolds).
The 1950s were perhaps the era of sophisticated slow melodic songs. Ray Charles recorded "Unforgettable (song)", Anita Bryant recorded "Till There Was You", and Johnny Mathis recorded "The Twelfth of Never". One of the last Cole Porter songs to be a commercial success was "True Love (song)" (Bing Crosby). By the time we reach "All I Have to Do Is Dream" (The Everley Brothers) we are in the era of rock and roll. A pattern started to appear, that young rebellious singers would record punchy rock and roll songs at the start of their career, then move on to smoochy love songs later. Usually this meant they were no longer "Serious rockers". The Everley Brothers, Elvis Presley and the Beatles managed to retain their status as rockers, even after they became known for love songs. In the main, however, a ballad singer had a different career path from a rocker. "Unchained Melody" (Alex North/Hy Zaret) was a hit for eight different artists. The comedy version by "The Goons" was not a hit. "Dedicated to the One I Love" (Ralph Bass) was a hit twice. "Only You (And You Alone)" (Ram, Rand) was a hit seven times over.
Artists that we would now call "Divas" began to appear in the sixties. There was Dusty Springfield with "I Only Want to Be with You" and Aretha Franklin with "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman". Old-school balladeers still had hits: Ray Charles with "I Can't Stop Loving You" and Frank Sinatra with "Somethin' Stupid". Jim Reeves last big hit "I Love You Because" could almost have been written 40 years earlier, it was so timeless. Pet Clark's "This Is My Song (1967 song)" was almost operatic. Soul music/ R + B hits included "For Once in My Life" (Stevie Wonder). rocking love songs inclued "I'm a Believer" (The Monkees) and "All My Loving" (The Beatles). country music gave us "Crazy (Willie Nelson song)" (Patsy Cline). Two big hits of the sixties defy categorization: "River Deep - Mountain High" (Ika and Tina Turner) and "God Only Knows" (Beach Boys). Other hits include "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" (Crewe Gaudio), "Can't Help Falling in Love" (Weiss, Peretti, Creatore) and "Anyone Who Had a Heart (song)" (Burt Bacharach).
Barry White created his own orchestral soul style with "You're the First, the Last, My Everything". "Nobody Does It Better" (Carly Simon) was helped by being the title song of a Bond movie. It was another 25 years before Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" had its greatest fame, but it was written in the 70s. Charles Aznavour's "She" has the distinction of being the only number one hit for a living artist aged over 50. Other famous love songs of the seventies include "You're the One That I Want" (John Travolta) and "Without You" (Ham, Evans). Donna summer's "I Feel Love" sounded almost like an instrumental. Nazareth's 1975 recording of Love Hurts was a classic hit.
From the 1990s we have Brian Adams' "Everything I Do". The most famous love song of the nineties is "Iris" by The Goo Goo Dolls (however this song was more rock than a love song) or "Truly Madly Deeply" by Australian band Savage Garden. These two songs would be the more known and loved of the songs in the '90s. SWV made their signature song "Weak" in 1992.
Some of the best-known operatic arias are love songs: "E lucevan le stelle" and "Recondita armonia" are from Giacomo Puccini's "Tosca". Giuseppe Verdi favorite is "Celeste Aida" from "Aida". All of Puccini's operas have outstanding love songs, but "Che gelida manina" from "La Bohème" and "Un bel di vedremo" from "Madama Butterfly" should be mentioned. Even music lovers who don't go to operas will have heard The Flower Song (La Fleur que tu m'avais jetée) from Bizet's "Carmen". Finally there is "M'appari" from Flotow's "Martha" and "Porgi, amor" from Mozart's "Le Nozze di Figaro".
B Is for BLAKE; A Is for Alphabet, B Is for Boxer, C Is for Clown, D Is for Dwarfs & Midgets and E Is for Everley Brothers. in Other Words, Peter Blake, the Father of British Pop Art, Is in Wales. EMILY LAMBERT Takes a Look at the Show
Oct 24, 2003; Byline: EMILY LAMBERT PETER BLAKE creates collages that are undoubtedly odd but never jarring or disruptive. His taste for...