When you think of love songs you probably think mostly about the mushy, but love songs are about the many glorious and trying phases of love.
There’s the “It feels like love” phase that Marvin Gaye sings about in “Let’s Get It On”...”Don’t you know how sweet and wonderful life can be? I’m asking you baby, to get it on with me” ... but that usually proves to be just physical attraction.
There’s Phase 1 of real love, the pining, begging, praying stage. Eric Clapton’s “Please Be With Me “ is a good example of Phase 1 — “Won’t you please read my signs, be a gypsy? Tell me what I hope to find deep within me. Because you can find my mind, please be with me.” — or the Bee Gees singing, “You don’t know what it’s like to love somebody the way I love you.”
Phase 2 is the meat-and-potatoes of love. The part where we are deeply invested, and nothing feels better. Robert Plant sang and co-wrote the song “Thank You,” and when it starts with the words “If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you,” it was clearly evident that the feelings behind the song were as real as they come.
Buffalo Springfield’s “Kind Woman” was written with love, and “Almost Paradise” by Ann Wilson and Mike Reno is a song anyone who has found love again can relate to.
Lyrics like “Fried morels and fine hotels and all that in the middle, every bite and curtain drawn, I want to taste with you” in Tyler Childers’ song “All Your’n” is love put in simple terms ... no matter what I do, I want to do it with you.
Elton John sang about another level of this phase — when you are so in love, you want everyone to know: “And you can tell everybody that this is your song.”
If you’re lucky, you find lasting love early, and it’s the real deal and no matter what you weather, the love remains strong. But some people, like me, get lucky later in life, and we experienced the other phases of love on our journey to the final chapter of our love story.
Phase 3 is growing apart. Anyone who has been through this phase can see themselves when The Eagles sing, “But every mornin’ I wake up and worry what’s gonna happen today, you see it your way and I see it mine but we both see it slippin’ away.” Damn.
Phase 4 of love is loss. Just because you can’t work it out and people go their separate ways doesn’t always mean the love is completely gone. After all, you shared intimate times with this person, years of memories, maybe had children.
Bob Dylan wrote a beautiful song about his wife Sara after they split. The lyrics “Sara, oh Sara, Scorpio sphinx in a calico dress, Sara, Sara, you must forgive my unworthiness” show both Dylan’s regret and admiration for his lost love.
Jamey Johnson wrote a song that was recorded by George Strait called “Give It Away.” This couple is at their breaking point as the woman in his life says, “There ain’t nothin’ in this house worth fightin over. And we’re both tired of fightin’ anyway. Just give it away.”
There are many loves in our lives that aren’t romantic relationships ... children, parents, siblings, grandchildren, friends and pets. And love songs have been written about them all.
In my opinion, the most powerful love songs are probably the ones written after a loved one passes away.
Frank Turner said the grief he felt when his best friend died from breast cancer was “like the grief actually knocked the air from my lungs.” He wrote about their last hospital visit in “Long Live The Queen” ... “But she silenced all my rambling with the shake of her head, drew me close and, listen, this is what she said ... Now you’ll live to dance another day it’s just now you’ll have to dance for the two of us, so stop looking so damned depressed and sing with all your heart that the queen is dead.”
The songs “Jordan” by Rival Sons and “Follow You To Vergie” by Tyler Childers are two touching songs about loved ones lost. I hope you’ll listen to them both.
Henry David Thoreau said, “There is no remedy for love but to love more.
So, no matter what phase of love you’re in, show and tell the people you love how you feel, forgive past loves because they were stepping stones to new love and if a song reminds you of someone, share it with them.