The Ultimate List of Love Songs...by Rush


May 24, 2002


The Bottom Line Love, exciting and new. Come aboard. We're expecting you...

Rush, the Canadian Power Trio has long been known for their extensive list of love songs. Besides, such classics like Limelight, YYZ, 2112 and more are at the top of most people's list of the most influential love songs of all time.

If I had a dime for every bride that walked down the aisle to the likings of Tom Sawyer, well, I wouldn't have to write Epinions for a living, now would I?

So let's get to the Rush Love List, shall we?

.............schreeeeeeeeeeeeech..................

Whoa. Just had a parallel universe experience. Man, what a rush that was.

ahem.

Ok, topic of the day? Let's see. Ah yes, love songs. Right up my alley (well, sort of). Now right off the bat you might be asking why I would be putting together a list of romance/love mixes when I primarily focus my music-review writing on Rush and other rock music.

That's a good question. When I come up with an answer, you'll be the first to know.

But in my own eclectic fashion, I've put together what I feel is a superb 'mix' of 10 songs that inspire that warm and fuzzy feeling of love and romance. Are all of these songs true "Love Songs"? By most definitions, some are not. But to me, lyrics alone do not constitute a song about love. The entire experience, between the lyrics, the message, the music, the vocals and the musical arrangement - all of it - form my definition as you'll soon read.

I've placed these 10 songs in a particular order, one that I felt flows nicely from song to song. This is not a Top 10 list of any kind, so don't infer that I'm listing these in any type of 'favorite' order.

I hope you enjoy the list. I'm sure some people will balk at a submission or two (can you guess who made the list?) but if you keep an open mind (and ear) you might see the method, and beauty, behind my madness.

On to the list.

Track 1: Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman? - Bryan Adams
From the motion picture soundtrack of Duan Juan DeMarco (see my Top 10 Love Movies of All Time review - http://www.epinions.com/content_2096603268), Bryan Adams, with his trademark raspy vocals accompanied by a subtle and beautiful Spanish guitar created one of the finest songs of his career. The question posed by the title of the song is elegantly and movingly answered within the touching lyrics. The music, the mood, the feelings invoked by the song all work perfectly together to create a perfect introduction to a love music mix.

♫ "To really love a woman
To understand her - you gotta know her deep inside
Hear every thought - see every dream
N' give her wings when she wants to fly..."


Track 2: Open Arms - Journey
Journey's quintessential power-ballad from their 1980's hey-day, Open Arms is universally accepted as one of their finest, if not somewhat sappiest, love songs. Steve Perry's moving vocals behind slightly haunting and emotional lyrics paint the perfect picture of love, and the affects it has on those caught in it. The music, primarily Neil Schon's expertly produced guitars, adds to the entire experience. This is one that will last through the ages, and beyond.

♫ "Lyin' besides you,
here in the dark.
Feeling your heart beat with mine..."


Track 3: More Than Words - Extreme
This track is a personal favorite of mine, and one that I feel has not received as much credit as it is due. Coming from the 90's harder-rocking group Extreme, who had little success save for this and a few other songs, More Than Words is the epitome of love songs. Beautifully crafted lyrics and dual-vocals supported by touching acoustic guitars really makes this song shine. If the first two songs in this mix didn't get you 'in the mood', this one is sure to do so. An absolute gem.

♫ "Sayin I love you
Is not the words I want to hear from you
Its not that I want you not to say
But if you only knew
How easy it would be to show me how you feel
More than words is all you have to do to make it real
Then you wouldn't have to say
That you love me
Cause I'd already know..."


Track 4: Madrigal - Rush
You knew I was going to sneak one Rush tune in this list, right? This couldn't have come as a surprise to you, right???. Good. That being said, I find Madrigal, from Rush's Farewell to Kings album a hauntingly touching song. The lyrics alone, through analysis, point out that this is indeed a love song, unconventional as it may appear. One written about the love the 3 band members of Rush had for their respective wives, and how their touring and time away from them was hard on all involved. A simple mandolin, effortlessly played by Alex Lifeson, coupled with soft synth work behind Geddy Lee's low-key vocals really brings the emotions through on this tune. Sure to generate chills and sure to please.


♫ "When the dragons grow too mighty
To slay with pen or sword
I grow weary of the battle
And the storm I walk toward
When all around is madness
And there's no safe port in view
I long to turn my path homeward
To stop awhile with you..."


Track 5: Eternal Flame - The Bangles
If the image of Bangles lead singer Susanna Hoffs isn't enough to invoke the feeling of love inside of you then just listen to her impressively ranged vocals on this huge hit from this all girl rocking band. Eternal Flame deals with love at such a level that the mere question of whether one is dreaming or not is asked. Without taking it to a deeper level, once again the vocals perfectly expressing the lyrics behind the aptly played music is sure to continue to the mood set up by this mix. With an ever-increasing falsetto inspired ending, this song is near-perfect from beginning to end.

♫ "I believe it's meant to be, darling
I watch when you are sleeping, you belong to me
Do you feel the same, am I only dreaming
Or is this burning an eternal flame..."


Track 6: Desperado - The Eagles
Not a conventional love song per se, Desperado nonetheless made my mix-list because the elegant, moving music along with Don Henley's low-key vocals perfectly fits in with the mood-setting the previous songs began. That's not to say that Desperado doesn't stand well on its own - it certainly does. But simply that, based on my definition of a "love" song, Desperado is a clear choice for me. And besides, the last lines of this song do touch upon more common love-song type themes. This is a beautiful, timeless song.

♫ "You better let somebody love you,
you better let somebody love you
before it's too late..."


Track 7: All the Love I Have Inside - Chris DeBurgh
Undoubtedly, this is one song that few of you have likely heard of. Chris DeBurgh, who is probably best known for his 'other' love song called "Lady in Red" created a very real and down to Earth song that touches on the simplicities and commonalities of love with this beautiful tune. Besides, this was the song I danced to at my wedding with my wife, so it had to make the list :) DeBurgh's British-dialect filled vocals are the highlight of this song with some very nicely portrayed acoustic guitars filling in the melodies. This one is sure to generate a smile.

♫ "When I wake up in the morning she is there,
With her sleepy smile and a long night of windy hair,
And when I hold her close beside me,
Well it feels so good,
That I'd like to stay here all day long,
If there's a way that I could..."


Track 8: You're the Inspiration - Chicago
A large percentage of Chicago's catalog of music is essentially love songs, with some outstanding entries to choose from. But when it came down to selecting one (you'll notice that no two songs are from the same artist on this list), I went with the one that brought all of my criteria together. You're the Inspiration is that song. The layered vocals and the nice horns and melodic guitar work bring this song to life. But in the end, the lyrics are the strength of the song; lyrics that really hold true to the power and desire that love generates.

♫ "You know our love was meant to be
The kind of love to last forever
And I want you here with me
From tonight until the end of time..."


Track 9: The Flame - Cheap Trick
Love poses risks - like losing the love of your life. That's the essential difficult, emotional message portrayed by this very moving, beautifully sung song by Cheap Trick, known more for their off the wall rocking tunes than ballads. The music builds with intensity, mirroring the intensity of the emotions reflected in the lyrics, and the vocals have a sense of tragedy about them. All of this together creates a tapestry of lost love, one that's sure to pull of your heart strings. One of the sadder songs on this mix list, but a nice way to lead into the final track.

♫ "Another night slowly closes in and I feel so lonely
Touching heat freezing on my skin I pretend you still hold me
I'm going crazy I'm losing sleep I'm in too far
I'm in way too deep over you
I can't believe you're gone You were the first You'll be the last..."


Track 10: Unchained Melody - The Righteous Brothers
Is there any other 'love' song that's more popular, more poignant, more loved by the masses than this superbly executed masterpiece? With various versions of the song out there, I prefer the eloquent Righteous Brothers offering for my mix. Impressive and moving string work helps to showcase the vocals and spirit of this classic, timeless love song.

♫ "Oh, my love
My darling
I've hungered for your touch
A long, lonely time
And time goes by so slowly
And time can do so much
Are you still mine?..."


And there you have it. A romance mix that's sure to raise a few eyebrows out there. But one that I hope you'll try to experience sometime. I'm rather confident that you won't be disappointed by the selection and the order in which I presented them here.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go throw in some Vapor Trails by Rush to help offset some of this sappy feelings I'm getting right now.

Thanks, as always, for reading. Comments, as always, are appreciated.

Enjoy the holiday weekend everyone!

-John

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