There have been a lot of songs written about this most central of human emotions: LOVE. It is the something that we all look for and pretty much all get burned by at least once in our lives. The luckiest of us find that perfect partner that makes loving them so easy, and others never quite make the connection. It drives us to trust as well as to betray each other and the entire spectrum in between. It is also (if you´ll excuse my super nerdy analogy) the Higgs boson that gives mass to our network of interconnections with all other human beings and living creatures.
So yeah, it is probably safe to say that there have been a few songs written with LOVE as the inspirational culprit.
That´s not to say that they have all been GOOD rock love songs. And you could certainly apply that statement to songs in general without the adjective “love” added in. There is, without a doubt, a lot of crap out there…and then there is also a lot of gold…but then that´s getting into the realm of opinion.
But wait! We´re in luck! Since we live in a society, public opinion is in fact quite a decent indicator when we are talking about what is good. Of course you need a bit of filter there too. All massive promo campaigns aside (sorry Justin Bieber and Miley Syrus…you guys and others like you just don´t qualify. Getting popular more by excessive promo and gimmicks than actual quality content is pretty lame no matter how you look at it…unless you are a 13 year old girl), popular music is popular for a reason. A lot of cream rises to the top and we know it when we see it. So here are some good rock love songs about different aspects of love.
Some of the greatest rock songs about love are simply born from that uncontrollable bubbling fountain of love for another person. You just like them so much that a song bursts out of your head, flows through your music, into the recording studio, over the global media waves and into the ears and hearts of millions of fans. Not bad as loving gestures go.
Thank You – Led Zeppelin – A beautiful ballad written for Robert Plant´s wife.
Angie – The Rolling Stones – written about David Bowie´s wife (ahem…)
Maybe I´m Amazed – Paul McCartney – written for his wife Linda.
Your Song – Elton John – written together with Bernie Taupin (for each other)
When a Man Loves A Woman – Percy Sledge (Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright). Although he has no author credit, Percy says he wrote the song one night when a woman was making him so upset he couldn´t perform. He got up on stage and asked the band to play something slow and bluesy, and he ranted in song for 6 minutes. Calvin and Andrew helped him “polish it up” later on…or so the story goes. Not very “rock” but certainly very good.
Something – The Beatles (George Harrison) – lyrically and musically one of the greatest love songs ever written. At first glance it would seem to be about his wife Pattie, but Harrison claims he wrote it about the Lord Krishna and that it had the original first line “something in the way HE moves” but didn´t think that would go over very well, so he changed it.
Layla – Eric Clapton – written about George Harrison´s wife Pattie (ahem…ahem….).
Nothing Else Matters – Metallica – A “brutal” love ballad from our lords and masters of unholy metal!!! Even when singing about undying love they make you want to bang your head and break into air guitar solos.
But that is certainly not the only side of love. Some bands write about loving places like the Red Hot Chili Peppers loving the city of Los Angeles with Under the Bridge, or Lynyrd Skynyrd expressing regional pride with Sweet Home Alabama. There are also songs about losing something or someone you love, like Neil Young lamenting the loss of his dog and best friend with Old King. (I even have my own song about losing a dog called No Time.) There are also songs about the simple absence of love and the feeling of missing someone like So Far Away From Me by Dire Straits or even songs about being under another´s spell like Black Magic Woman by Santana or Wicked Game by Chris Issak.
But the top contender and probably the biggest reason people listen to love songs in the first place is getting burned by love. Songs like Oh Darling by the Beatles, Oh Lonesome Me by Neil Young , Black by Pearl Jam or Nothing Compares 2 U by Sinead O´Connor (by Prince actually) reveal some pretty raw emotions. There are also songs about being on the other side of the coin and burning others with love. Paul Simon has 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover, Robert Plant makes it very clear he´s not sticking around with Babe I´m Gonna Leave You, and there little doubt about the feelings involved (even though they say they are joking around) with Guns & Roses I Used To Love Her But I Had To Kill Her.
One of my personal favorites is You Oughta Know by Alanis Morissette. This song really shows that “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. Alanis doesn´t pull any punches when she very directly comes to the point about how her ex, Dave Coulier (actor from the TV series Full House) was basically a big dick to her and she wanted the whole world to know it. Well done Alanis. A number one hit like that has probably a billion radio plays over almost 20 years. Excellent job shouting it from the rooftops girl! In fact, I like YOU OUGHTA KNOW so much that we recorded a cover version of it on the latest Daze of Dawn album SOFA KING COOL.
Even though the lyrics are obviously meant for a female singer I didn´t change any of the pronouns. I never feel like I´m singing generic lyrics with this song, but rather that I´m specifically telling her personal and angry story. Our cover version is pretty weird and nothing at all like the original, but I try to transmit betrayal as much as possible when I sing it.
And then there are songs about love that I´ve written myself. In fact, the first two tracks from SOFA KING COOL are:
1. Falling In Love
2. Falling In Love Too
(Yes, I know how funny we are.)
They started out as just one song about being “under the spell of love” and then split into two different songs as the writing process advanced. Neither of them is as sweet and fluffy as their titles suggest and both carry their love-crazed lyrics over a raging bed of classic hard rock instruments. Of course these two songs can´t compare in terms of sheer fame to the songs I´ve talked about above, but they are songs about love nonetheless and I think they show that not only famous artists can make good rock love songs. FALLING IN LOVE is the first single as well as the first song from the album with an official music video.
The full video will become available in the following weeks.
Besides the famous rock love songs you know, there are quite possibly over 100,000 more rock love songs out there you´ve never heard before written by people from all over the world and from all walks of life and languages. I´m sure there will be another 100,000 and more to come. Certainly some of these songs are good and some not (that´s just the nature of statistics). But I think that besides the issue of quality, it is not such a stretch to propose that there would be no inspiration to write any songs at all (about love or anything else for that matter) if it weren’t for love and the way it pulls us together, tears us apart, and sometimes turns us into lunatics in our relationships and dealings with others. There will always be another new yet somehow “same old” story about love just around the corner – fueling the songwriters of the world for generations to come with all the inspiration they will ever need.