Ten romantic songs your future beaus should know.
I’m enough of a realist to know that boys are going to come a-knockin’ in the coming years. All I ask is that they treat you well, and, preferably, that they are across music.
And when I say music, I mean real music; lasting, lingering tunes of feeling.
I’ll do my best to expose you to great music; to pass on the sounds and messages of eras long passed in the hope you’ll continue to carry the torch.
Given love and relationships feature so strongly in the history of popular music – around 60 per cent of all songs – I thought I’d start there.
There’s been a lot of great love songs but I’ve narrowed down a list of 10 that embody power and subtlety (and aren’t too saccharine).
All these tracks will be at least 50 years old by the time prospective beaus land on the doorstep, but I’ll keep it simple: if they don’t have at least one of these songs in their knowledge belt (or better still, on whatever cigarette-paper-thin iPod they’re using in the 2020s and 2030s), then give them the heave-ho.
“At Last” – Etta James (1960)
This is a very popular wedding song, which almost led me to exclude it, but, even six decades on, James’ vocals and message still exude warmth.
“Stand By Me” – Ben E King (1962)
This oft-covered classic is about solidarity, which I hope is a key trait in whom you might choose in a life partner. Get him to sing it on karaoke to help you decide.
“My Girl” – The Temptations (1965)
Almost the perfect song: upbeat melody, bang-on harmonies and sweet lyrics. At one time or another I’ve sung this to each of you at bed time.
“Unchained Melody” – Righteous Brothers (1965)
Putting aside the movie Ghost (you can watch that scene when you’re 18), this is, quite simply, an unalloyed love song that every man of good heart should appreciate.
“God Only Knows” – The Beach Boys (1966)
Comfortably in my top 10 songs of all time, this is The Beach Boys at their most exalted. The opening horn-piano refrain still sits me on my bum.
“Something” – The Beatles (1969)
You’ll be familiar with The Fab Four’s catalogue, but perhaps not so much with George Harrison’s genius. Sinatra dubbed “Something” the greatest love song ever written.
“The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” – Roberta Flack (1969)
This hauntingly beautiful number, first penned in 1957, has been covered many times, but Roberta Flack’s soulful voice best encapsulates the hopeless adulation of new love.
“Your Song” – Elton John (1970)
While veering close to over-sentimentality, its strong melody carries across four sweet and effective minutes. And if any man could love my girls as much as I, they’d best have a song of similar ilk picked out.
“Tupelo Honey” – Van Morrison (1971)
Van’s “Sweet Thing” – your birth song, Avie – is worthy but I can’t go past this track’s pretty melody and lyrical prowess. “She’s as sweet as tupelo honey / She’s an angel of the first degree.”
“You Are So Beautiful” – Joe Cocker (1974)
Emphatic almost isn’t a strong enough word for how gravel-toned Joe delivered this simple love song. His delayed delivery of “… to me” is especially poignant.