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Thursday, September 18, 2014

The greatest love songs ever...

I pay homage to the greatest love songs ever (pardon me if you disagree): quirky, romantic, joyful, moving and even heart rending... Of course, this gives me the chance to create my own playlist and hopefully music companies won't pull the plug on me... (no copyright infringement intended as this is a strictly non- profit making blog and I'm sixpence none the richer...)

Starting with:
The newbies (after 1990)

No 11: If I lose myself by One Republic

After Queen, I didn't have a favourite rock band, until I discovered One Republic...

                                               No 10: Dreams by The Cranberries

Starting the countdown with The Cranberries, an Irish rock band, formed in Limerick, in 1990. Their lead singer, Dolores O' Riordan, has one of the most extraordinary voices. Dreams was released in 1992. Unfortunately, their music videos tend to be somewhat strange (sometimes bordering on bizarre ) and do little justice to their songs. This particular video is quite appealing apart from the band members falling in space...

                                                       No 9: Take On Me by a-ha

 Norwegian group, a-ha came up with this stunning video as a showcase for their even more stunning song. Take On Me was released in 1999 and became a worldwide hit for the group. It is also one of the most popular videos on Youtube, scoring a staggering 93 million hits (and counting)...

                                             No 8: Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer

Sixpence is an American Pop/Rock band which first formed in New Braunsfel, Texas. Kiss Me was released in 1997 and propelled the band to stardom. The lead vocalist is Leigh Nash.

                                                  No 7: Kiss from a Rose by Seal

Kiss From A Rose was first released in 1994, as a track on Seal's second album, Seal II. It was re-released in 1995 and incorporated into the soundtrack of the Batman Forever movie. The movie exposure propelled the song (and Seal) into international stardom. The song won the Song of the Year award at the Grammy's in 1996. Seal is originally from Nigeria.

I love the Old English feel of the music and the reference to fairy tales in the lyrics.

                                                      No 6: What Is Love by EXO


Can't ignore the huge inroads made by K-Pop in the last decade. What Is Love by EXO is next. Released in 2012, it showcases EXO's lead vocalists. The twelve-member group (yes twelve) comprises of  two groups - EXO-K sings in Korean while EXO-M sings in Mandarin. This video demonstrates the vocal pyrotechnics of D.O. and Baekhyun, lead vocalists of EXO-K. The traditional sound of the music, combined with the bluesy singing makes this a stunning debut song for EXO.


Unlike groups like The Cranberries and Sixpence, EXO did not form spontaneously out of a mutual love for music - members were selected through a massive talent hunt and careful screening process by Korea's music giant, S.M. Entertainment (S.M. stands for Star Museum). S.M.'s stable includes the super groups, Super Junior (gained international fame after releasing Sorry, Sorry) and Girls Generation. The young men (and women) who were lucky enough to be selected will undergo months of rigorous training until they are ready to debut as a group. Success, fame and fortune is almost guaranteed as companies such as S.M. Entertainment leave nothing to chance.

K-Pop fans tend to be extremely possessive of their idols; when news broke out that Baekhyun of EXO was dating Taeyeon, lead singer of Girls Generation, it caused an uproar. Female fans were outraged by Taeyeon's boldness and for a while she was almost an outcast.

More recently, Jessica, one of the most popular members of Girls Generation, has been dropped from the group. It was alleged that  she placed her personal interest ahead that of the group and tried to use the group's popularity as a platform to launch her fashion career. She has her own fashion line, called Blanc.

EXO itself is down to eleven members as one of its members, Kris of EXO-M, has filed a lawsuit against S.M. Entertainment to nullify his contract. Life as a K-Pop star can be harsh.

                                                       No 5: Starlight by Muse

                                            No 4: The Reason by Hoobastank

I love this song, but the video is ridiculous!

                                                  No 3: Linger by The Cranberries

Another song by The Cranberries - released after Dreams. Apparently, this was the one of the first songs written by Dolores O' Riordan when she auditioned for the band in 1990.

                                                    No 2: My Immortal by Evanescence

No 1: Foolish Games by Jewel

This sensitive, beautiful and heart wrenching song by Jewel could be the ultimate love song for this age...

The Oldies (before 1990)

                                         No 8: Early One Morning by Nana Mouskouri

                          No 5: Aku Sudah Jatuh Cinta (I have fallen in love) by Norshila Amin

The joy of falling in love is reflected in this wonderful song. The youthful and exuberant mood is beautifully captured by Norshila Amin. The tall and willowy singer reached her heyday in the late 80s and early 90s but disappeared from the public eye soon after.There may be better known Malaysian singers and more popular songs, but for me, this song is like a splash of cool water on a hot sweltering day. The upbeat but traditional sounding music is composed by A Ali and the lyrics are by Juwie.

                                      No 4: Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers

When you think of a love song without doubt, Unchained Melody, will come to mind. Not surprising really, as this great song by the Righteous Brothers, must be the quintessential love song. Released in 1965, the song enjoyed a revival when it was used in the soundtrack of the movie, Ghost, in 1990. Who can forget the love scene between Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore?

                                     No 3: Tsugaru Kaiko Fuyugeshiki by Sayuri Ishikawa

I've just discovered the diva of Japanese folksongs or enka, Sayuri Ishikawa, who originates from Kumamoto, Japan. The title of this moving song means, Tsugaru covered in snow/Snow falling over Tsugaru. It was released in 1977 and is Sayuri Ishikawa's signature song. The lyrics were written by Yu Aku while the music was composed by Takashi Miki. This video has French sub-titles...

                                                      Amagi Goe (the path over Amagi)

Sayuri Ishikawa shows her remarkable vocal prowess in the song, Amagi Goe. Written by Osamu Yoshioka and composed by Gen Tetsuya, the song is about forbidden love and secret trysts on Amagi.

                                       No 2: Both Sides Now by Judy Collins

                                                     Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell

All great love songs are poetry and so is this great song by folk singer, Joni Mitchell. The song was written by Mitchell in 1967, but the first recording of the song was by Judy Collins in the same year. It became an international hit and I remember listening to the Judy Collins version of the song as a young teenager in the 70s.. Both Sides Now won the Grammy Award in 1969 for Best Traditional Folk recording. Joni Mitchell released her own version of the song in 1969.

According to fan comments on Youtube, the Judy Collins version best exemplifies the spirit of the 60s - a time of radical change but also of idealism and free expression. The Joni Mitchell version is slower in tempo and less free spirited but perhaps more heartfelt.

                       No 1: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face by Roberta Flack

A 1957 song written by Ewan MacColl, a British folk singer, for Peggy Seeger, who later became his wife. Roberta Flack recorded it in 1972 and it became a worldwide hit for her. The song is most closely associated with her although almost every singer of note has covered it. The greatest love song ever written, surely...

I also love the version by Daniel Schuhmacher: