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BBHQ Boomer Essays:

Love Songs of the Chicowitz

Our Boomer-In-Charge at BBHQ, Hershel Chicowitz, writes about boomer memories and current events... from a boomer’s perspective. He is sometimes funny, sometimes provocative, some-
times a little of each. We hope you get a kick out of our Boomer Essays.

I have several objectives here. One is to remind my fellow boomers of the very special love songs that reached into and became a part of our souls. For you younger readers, I want to let you know what a true love song is, how music can calm the soul and help make love grow.

This essay is available in its entirety to all visitors. Enjoy!

You’d think that people would have had enough of silly love songs
I look around me and I see it isn’t so
Some people wanna’ fill the world with silly love songs
And what’s wrong with that?
I’d like to know
’Cause here I go
Again.

I love you,
I love you,
I love you,
I love you.

     

– “Silly Love Songs” – Paul McCartney & Wings, 1976

February 14...

Love songs......

This essay is another celebration of the great boomer songs that were a part of our youth. (See our list below for other essays.) It is almost sappy sweet. So be it. I make no apologies. I am a real sentimentalist at heart. I love this stuff! I really do.

I offer these memories to you, on Valentine’s Day, to remind you of the sweet and gentle romance of our youth, a sentiment that seems to be lost in the hustle and chaos of the 21st century.

Sit back, relax; take your time. Enjoy the ride.

(Many of my selections include a short audio sample of the song. Click the reddish play button, listen, and sing along.)

  Long Before Our Time

Nope; the great love songs did not begin with Ricky Nelson. Or even Nat Cole. Remember reading and analyzing Shakespeare’s love sonnets in high school? Well, all I remember is that they were long, boring and flat. But, his audience was obviously different; he was not writing for a hormone-crazed teen of the 1960s. So I forgive him.

Though I do remember a poem that captured my spirit as a 16 year-old. Appropriately titled, “Advice to Virgins,” it was a poem by Robert Herrick. We alanyzed it in 10th grade. Why, I have no idea. But I still have warm thoughts of it, all these years later.

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
Tomorrow will be dying.

Go ahead... do an Internet search for “advice to virgins.” You’ll get about 5,000,000 hits. You’ll be up all night!

Advice to Virgins

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today,
To-morrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the Sun,
The higher he’s a-getting;
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.

That age is best, which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
You may for ever tarry.

(Note that the advice is not somply to go out and make wonton whoopie... it is to do so under the auspices of marriage.)

Recently some egghead organization... a derivative of the “Dead Poet’s Society” no doubt, put Herrick’s words to music:     Advice to Virgins
(It’ll perhaps bring a tear to your eye... though it may sour you to the more worthy audio clips I offer below.)

But if you’d be satisfied by simply reading Mr. Herrick’s poem, you may do so by clicking here.

  Just Before Our Time

Actually, the great love songs that I remember most fondly are ones that my mother played on the piano and listened to on her radio station. They were popular when.... well, when our parents were busy producing us. Nat Cole had an abundance of them:

Though it was a hit for Ricky Nelson in 1964, this one goes back to the 30s, and was a terrific love ballad by Nat Cole.

The Very Thought of You     The Very Thought of You

The very thought of you
and I forget to do
The little ordinary things
that everyone ought to do

I’m living in a kind of daydream
I’m happy as a king
And foolish though it may seem
To me that’s everything

The mere idea of you,
the longing here for you
You’ll never know how slow the moments go till I’m near to you

I see your face in every flower
Your eyes in stars above
It’s just the thought of you
The very thought of you,
My love

– Nat Cole, 1958.

Gees, this is when they knew how to turn a phrase! Could anyone write lyrics like that in today’s world? “It’s just the thought of you, the very thought of you, my love.”

   

For Sentimental Reasons     For Sentimental Reasons

I love you
for sentimental reasons
I hope you do believe me
I’ll give you my heart

– Nat Cole, 1946.

Listen to the piano intro to this song. One measure and you know that something beautiful is coming. So simple; and yet, so elegant.

   

Unforgettable

Unforgettable, that’s what you are
Unforgettable, though near or far
Like a song of love that clings to me
How the thought of you does things to me
Never before has someone been more
Unforgettable in every way
And forever more, that’s how you’ll stay
That’s why, darling, it’s incredible
That someone so unforgettable
Thinks that I am unforgettable, too

– Nat Cole, 1951.

Like soft, melting butter, his voice is magic.... pure magic.

   

And my absolute favorite love song:

When I Fall in Love     When I Fall in Love

When I fall in love
it will be forever
Or I’ll never fall in love
In a restless world like this is
Love is ended before it’s begun
And too many moonlight kisses
Seem to cool in the warmth of the sun.

– Nat Cole, 1956.

Often it is not just the words and the music.... it is the great orchestration behind the music. The violins.... just beautiful!

   

  In Our Time – the 50s and 60s

True Love Ways     True Love Ways

Sometimes we’ll sigh
Sometimes we’ll cry
And you know why
Just you and I
Know true love ways

– Buddy Holly, 1959.

   

Your Precious Love

Your precious love
means more to me
Than any love could ever be.

For when I wanted you,
I was so lonely and so blue,
For that’s what love will do.

– Jerry Butler & the Impressions, 1958.

   

Devoted to You     Devoted to You

Darlin’ you can count on me
Till the sun dries up the sea
Until then I’ll always be..... devoted, to you

I’ll be yours through endless time
I’ll adore your charms sublime
Guess by now you know that I’m..... devoted, to you

– Everly Brothers (’58)/Carly Simon, James Taylor (’78).

Remember slow-dancing to this at the sock hop? One of the traits of a great love song is that it does not have to be complicated. In fact, the simplicity of the words and the music is part of the magic.

   

Please Mr. Sun     Please Mr. Sun

Talk to her please, Mister Sun
Speak to her, Mister Rainbow
And take her under your branches, Mister Tree

Whisper to her, Mister Wind
Sing to her, Mister Robin
And Mrs. Moonlight, put in a word for me

– Tommy Edwards, 1959.

Yes, kinda’ sappy, but very romantic, nonetheless. Listen to the background singers, and the soft organ. What a great arrangement.

   

I Love How You Love Me

I love how your eyes close
whenever you kiss me
And when I’m away from you
I love how you miss me
I love the way you always treat me tenderly
But, darling, most of all
I love how you love me.

– Paris Sisters, Bobby Vinton

   

Song for the Asking     Song for the Asking

Here is my song for the asking
Ask me and I will play
So sweetly, I’ll make you smile

This is my tune for the taking
Take it, don’t turn away
I’ve been waiting all my life

Thinking it over, I’ve been sad
Thinking it over, I’d be more than glad
To change my ways for the asking
Ask and I will play
All the love that I hold inside

– Simon & Garfunkel.

OK, maybe this is my favorite love song. In this case, it is the guitar behind the words and the voice that makes this song sound so terrific. And if you listen closely, you’ll also hear a violin (I think) in the background at the beginning. The little things sometimes make such a wonderful difference.

   

Unchained Melody     Unchained Melody

Whoa... my love, my darling,
I hun-ger for your touch,
A long, lonely time.
And time... goes by, so slowly,
And time... can do so much,
Are you, still mine?
I need your love.
I need your love.
God speed your love... to me.

– Righteous Brothers, 1965 (and others).

Well, nothing to say here. It did not take “Ghost” to remind me of this unforgettable love song. Wow! Just plain wow!!

   

Will You Love Me Tomorrow

Is this a lasting treasure,
or just a moment’s pleasure?
Can I believe the magic of your sighs;
will you still love me tomorrow?

– Shirelles/Carole King, 1960/1971

   

  In Our Time – the 70s

It Was Almost Like a Song

Once in every life
Someone comes along
And you came to me
It was almost like a song

You were in my arms
Right where you belong
And we were so in love
It was almost like a song

– Ronnie Milsap, 1977

   

My Sweet Lady     My Sweet Lady

Lady, are you crying?
Do the tears belong to me?
Did you think our time together
was all gone?

Lady, you’ve been dreaming,
I’m as close as I can be.
And I swear to you
our time has just begun.

– John Denver/Cliff DeYoung, 1974/1977.

Once again, it is the sweet sound of the guitar, from the beginning, that lets you know this is going to be a tear-jerker. John Denver was truly a gifted songwriter and performer.

   

I’ll Have To Say I Love You in a Song

Well, I know it’s kinda late;
I hope I didn’t wake you;
But what I’ve gotta say can’t wait;
I know you’d understand;
’Cause every time I try to tell you,
the words just came out wrong;
So I’ll have to say I love you, in a song.

– Jim Croce, 1974

   

For All We Know     For All We Know

Love, look at the two of us
Strangers in many ways
We’ve got a lifetime to share
So much to say
From day to day
I’ll feel you close to me
But time alone will tell
Let’s take a lifetime to say,
“I knew you well”
For only time will tell us so
And love may grow
For all we know.

– Carpenters, 1971.

This time, it is an oboe and background vocals that make the ending of this song unforgettable.

So, let’s see them in a list:

The Very Thought of You
For Sentimental Reasons
Unforgettable
For Sentimental Reasons
When I Fall in Love
True Love Ways
For Your Precious Love
Devoted to You
Please Mr. Sun
I Love How You Love Me
Song for the Asking
Unchained Melody
Will You Love Me Tomorrow
It Was Almost Like a Song
My Sweet Lady
I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song
For All We Know

Just off the Top of My Head...

And I Love Her

And I Love You So

April Love

Baby Love

Bye Bye Love

Could it be I’m Falling in Love?

Dedicated to the One I Love

Dream Lover

Everybody Loves Somebody

For Your Precious Love

Goodnight My Love

Groovy Kind of Love

I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You

I Don’t Know Why I Love You, but I Do

I Honestly Love You

I Love How You Love Me

I Need to be in Love

I Only Wanna’ be with You

If You Really Love Me

I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song

I’ll Never Fall In Love Again

It Hurts to be in Love

(The) Look of Love

Looking through the Eyes of Love

Love Child

Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)

Love Her Madly

Love is All Around

Love is Blue

Love is Here

Love Me Do

Love Me Tender

Love Me with all Your Heart

Love’s Been Good to Me

Lover’s Concerto

Lovin’ You

Make Love Stay

Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter

My Love

Never My Love

Old Fashioned Love Song

Only Love Can Break a Heart

Perhaps Love

Puppy Love

She Loves You

Silly Love Songs

So Much in Love

Somebody to Love

Somewhere My Love (Lara’s Theme)

Standing in the Shadows of Love

Stoned Love

Stop! in the Name of Love

Teenager in Love

Tell Laura I Love Her

To Know Him is to Love Him

To Sir with Love

Torn Between Two Lovers

True Love Ways

Wear Your Love Like Heaven

When a Man Loves a Woman

When I Fall in Love

When Will I be Loved?

When You’re in Love with a Beautiful Woman

Where Did Our Love Go?

Why do Fools Fall in Love?

Will You Love Me Tomorrow

Words of Love

A World Without Love

You Can’t Hurry Love

You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me

Love is in the Air

Greatest Love of All


Of course, that only scratches the surface. There are nearly 100 listed on the right. They are all really terrific! The BBHQ Oldies Vault lists over 600 boomer-era songs with the word “love” in it.

But, love songs of the 80s, 90s, and the 21st century? Well, they are kinda’ scarce. That is not a good sign. I mean, much as I admire the talent of Rod Stewart, “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” is not my idea of a great love song, for cryin’ out loud! And, of course, I could go on, right up to Grammy-nominated albums, including Jay-Z’s “Dead President’s II”: “Factions from the other side would love to kill me....” But there is no reason to spoil the mood. You get the point, I am sure.

One extremely noteworthy exception is the music that Michael Buble sings. Though most of the songs on his albums are great songs of the boomer era, his signature song, “Haven’t Met You Yet,” is very good. You can hear a sample and read about him here.

All You Need Is Love - The Beatles
L.O.V.E. - Nat King Cole
Can't Help Falling In Love - Elvis Presley
My Girl - The Temptations
Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell
Stand By Me - Ben E. King
You Are So Beautiful - Joe Cocker
Your Song - Elton John
This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) - Natalie Cole
I Just Called To Say I Love You - Stevie Wonder
The Way You Make Me Feel - Michael Jackson
Time After Time - Cyndi Lauper
Take My Breath Away - Berlin
Wind Beneath My Wings - Bette Midler
Listen To Your Heart - Roxette
My Heart Will Go On - Celine Dion
Can You Feel The Love Tonight - Elton John
I Do (Cherish You) - 98 Degrees (originally by Mark Wills)
Believe - Cher
God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You - 'N Sync
Love Somebody - Maroon 5
Just The Way You Are - Bruno Mars
All of Me - John Legend
Love Song - Sara Bareilles
What Makes You Beautiful - One Direction
Love Story - Taylor Swift
Just A Kiss - Lady Antebellum
Thinking Out Loud - Ed Sheeran

What’s it All About?

I have several objectives here. One is to remind my fellow boomers of the very special love songs that reached into and became a part of our souls. For you younger readers, I want to let you know what a true love song is, how music can calm the soul and help make love grow.

Note that the best of the love songs, most of the love songs, come from the 40s and 50s. The decline began in the 60s and has continued to today. How sad!

Imagine if you were a young teenager and your mind was filled with, oh, say, songs about killing cops, beating up your classmates, shooting drugs into your veins, and dying in the street. What would that do to your soul? That explains a lot, huh?

The love songs of our youth spoke of innocence, hope, faith, loyalty, eternity, and devotion. As far as I can tell, the love songs of today... contain absolutely none of that. We are so very, very fortunate.

Social commentator and president of Media Research Center, Brent Bozell, wrote, “How many [young people] will fondly look back two or three decades from now and say, ’I really loved those rap songs about thugs, drugs and pimping’?"

Where are the great love songs of the 21st century?

Where is the love?

Flowers and candy are fleeting. Love songs are forever. They are, indeed, a lasting treasure.

And love may grow
For all we know.
!!!

   

A BBHQ Pop Quiz: From a 1967 hit song, finish the last line:
 Who’s peekin’ out from under a stairway
calling a name that’s lighter than air?
Who’s bending down to give me a rainbow?
Everyone knows it’s
__________


Your final answer is....




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