Love is likely one of the greatest inspirations for musical artists, so when I was asked to write this month’s column on love, I too felt inspired. Here are a few of my favourite love songs categorized into love of the divine, innocent love, love for life, friendship love, relationship love and, to honour St. Valentine, romantic love.
Love Of The Divine
George Harrison was a Krishna devotee who wrote many love songs in his career; one of my all-time favourites is the commercial pop song that celebrates a longing for God and merging with the Divine. Of course I am talking about “My Sweet Lord”.
Another one of my favourite songs that celebrates the divine is Jackie Wilson’s “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher and Higher”. At the time the song was written, gospel music would never have made Billboard charts, so it is no wonder that the song hides some of the declaration for love of Jesus and the Divine with lyrics that refer to romantic love for a girl. Still, to me this song feels more gospel. As Jackie confirms, we are never alone, and that connection is well worth celebrating.
Sam Cooke had his first number one hit in 1957 with “You Send Me”. This love song crossed the racial tides and sold well over one million copies in a very short period of time. I reckon it was one of the reasons for the baby boom. Oh, if only life were still this simple.
Love for Life
Everything in life is a miracle worth celebrating, if we are open to seeing it. In that state we can find love everywhere and experience wonder. That is why Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World” is such a beautiful love-for-life anthem. Apparently he wrote the song to help ease tension in a politically and racially charged USA. This song reminds me to stop to smell the roses and appreciate life just as it is. In its pure state, it is love. Thanks, Louis.
I love Van Morrison’s “Virgo Clowns”. That song is what friendship is all about. Being there through thick and thin and remembering that laughter is the secret ingredient to a life worth living and sharing. The song was released in Oct 1970 on the great record called His Band And The Street Choir. I wish there was a YouTube video up to show you, but you can try listening to it at Rdio – or just go buy it on iTunes. Trust me, it’s worth it.
“The Power Of The Heart” was written by one of my favourite artists, Lou Reed, for his partner, one of Parvati’s favourite artists, Laurie Anderson. To me, this declaration of love to one’s partner is a masterpiece. It is the marriage of Yin and Yang, two pairs of eyes coming together as one. I wish every couple this kind of understanding in love. Check out this masterpiece arranged, produced and sung by Peter Gabriel.
What would a Valentine’s music column be without one of the greatest lovemaking songs? Quincy Jones pulls no stops with “The Secret Garden”, affectionately known as the “Sweet Seduction Suite”. The song features Al B. Sure, James Ingram, El DeBarge, & Barry White. If that combination can’t get you in the mood, nothing will. Please do not mistake this version with the new version that Quincy re-recorded and released in 2011. It’s the 1989 version from Back on The Block that is silky smooth love.
The Ultimate Love Message
Truly the greatest message of love in pop music is The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love”. Listen at the 3:18 mark and you will hear John say, “I still believe all you need is love, but I don’t believe just saying it is going to do it. I believe in the fact that love is what we all need.”
On that note, see you next month.
Rishi Gerald is the CEO of Kupid’s Play Records. He describes Kupid’s Play like this: “Kupid’s Play is the Sound of the I Am Revolution. As an international record label devoted to raising global consciousness we bring awakened artists to the commercial mainstream. Our vision extends beyond a traditional record label. We know impossibilities are not real and build non-traditional revenue models by embracing new technologies in the current economic landscape. We know music is everywhere. Kupid’s Play actively seeks out creative opportunities to get its artists’ music to their fans in new ways ensuring that the Sound of the I Am Revolution is heard.” With two decades of experience in the music industry, Rishi has been nominated for numerous marketing awards and earned a Gold Record in the music industry for management.