Love songs. The world is full of them. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting one, although why you’d want to do such a thing, I don’t know.
I like cats and think they get a bum rap. Cats don’t need anyone. That way, they can’t get hurt.
But back to love songs. I was eating lunch the other day at a restaurant that had some saccharine love songs on the Musak. Think Barry Manilow. It was hideous. It was dripping with more sap than a March sugar maple.
Rock and Country are full of bad love songs, although country is at least more original. Roy Clark, one of the finest guitarists ever, sang one of my all-time favorites, Thank God and Greyhound You’re Gone. And who can forget Rusty Ford’s, I Can’t Get Over You (Until You Get Out From Under Him)? If you’re going to sing about a broken heart in country music, you might as well laugh about it. Everyone else is.
I enjoy both Rock and Country, although I lean to older versions thereof. Very few modern artists interest me that much. For Rock, I lean alternative for the current stuff. Switchfoot and Florence and the Machine. For today’s country, meh. I like Kenny Chesney (great voice and a very underrated songwriter) and Dierks Bentley. Dierks Bentley is hot. For a guy. He’s one of those guys that even mostly straight dudes like me go, “yeah. I would.”
I keep getting sidetracked. Back to love songs. Men and women approach such songs differently. Guys don’t seek to imbue their love songs with existential angst over a lost lover. We’re like, “new sex!”
So here in no particular order is my Guys’ Top Ten All-Time List of Love Songs.
10. Lola, The Kinks
Any band that calls themselves The Kinks is all right with me, but aside from that, Lola earns a spot on this list because it describes a guy’s first sexual experience. With a tranny. What could be more heartfelt that the line, “I’m not the world’s most masculine man, but I know what I am and In bed I’m a man, and so is Lola.”?
9. Tube Snake Boogie, ZZ Top
If only for the lyric, “I’ve got a gal who lives on the hill. She won’t do it but her sister will”, ZZ Top, just a little ol band from Texas, gets the nod at #9.
8. Fat Bottomed Girls, Queen
Apparently Freddy Mercury was “left alone with big fat Franny”, who was “such a naughty nanny”. If true, the fact that this song describes abuse, doesn’t make him wrong.
7. You Shook Me All Night Long, AC/DC
Because of this song, every teenage boy in America knew the importance of a “clean motor”.
6. American Woman, The Guess Who
This is actually a Vietnam War protest song. (Really). The “American woman” spoken of is the Statue of Liberty. Still, when they sing “American woman, stay away from me, American woman, mama let me be” it kinda hits you right in the gut, ya know?
5. All Along the Watchtower, Jimi Hendrix
This isn’t a love song. In fact, I really have no idea what the hell this song’s about. No one does. Hendrix is so stoned while he’s recording the track that at one point, he badly flubs a line and just lets it go. Bob Dylan actually wrote it, so who knows what it means? Still, it’s one of my favorite songs ever and this is my list, so it’s here. Don’t like it? Make your own fucking list.
4. Can’t You See? The Marshall Tucker Band
If you haven’t figured it out yet, you’re really quite stupid. This list is tongue-in-cheek. But this song is really quite good and a true story of heartbreak.
“Can’t you see?
Can’t you see?
What that women, Lord, been doing to me?”
“gonna find me
a hole in the wall.
Gonna crawl inside and die.”
Who hasn’t felt that? For me, this feeling is like voting in Chicago. Early and often.
3. Collide, Kid Rock w/ Sheryl Crow
This song is probably obscure to most of you, but Kid Rock actually writes some excellent lyrics and this song is no exception. In fact, I think it’s one of his best.
“I’m no angel, you’re no saint. If we were we wouldn’t be in this place tonight.
“Lost and lonely, scared and confused, we both have a past and nothing to lose.”
2. Have a Cigar, Pink Floyd
It’s not on my list but it is on Bill Clinton’s.
But I think the best love song of all-time is one written by Jimmy Buffet (why isn’t it, “Jimmy Buff-aaay”? As in, “tonight’s $8.99 night at the Old Country Buffet”).
1. Why Don’t We Get Drunk (and Screw)?
“I really do appreciate the fact you’re sittin’ here.
Your voice sounds so wonderful,
But your face don’t look too clear.
So bar maid bring a pitcher,
Another round of brew.
Why don’t we get drunk and screw?”
Look. We’ve all been there. We’ve made pour decisions. And if you haven’t been there, you either have no pulse or you will.
Or you’re lying.
And, ladies, you’ve been there, too. Trust me. I know. We all have skeletons rattling for life. We may feel like Achmed, the Dead Terrorist, empty and just hoping we went out with a bang.
So there you have it. My own list of the best “love” songs of all-time. As my father, Lee Bledsoe (A Fine American), once said “Love is a long and slender thing.”
Ok, seriously now. Jesus, whom I consider kind of a Big Deal, said “greater love has no man, than that he lays down his life for his friends.” He said this shortly before doing just that. You don’t hear much about that in love songs. Love is sacrifice. It’s caring enough to give your all.
Love is not merely searching for your next orgasm. I’m not against orgasms. I’m rather fond of them myself. But after the bliss wears off, all that’s left is the sometimes hard work of love. I’m not an expert. I’m shallow and because my ancestors came from Northern Europe, I am, quite literally, a Neanderthal (although I am not very hairy; Neanderthals would have considered me something of a twink). But I do know this much. Jesus was right. What a wonderful world this would be if we each loved others enough to lay down our lives for them.