Love is soft as an easy chair, a many splen­doured thing, what you want it to be. And love is a rose — but you’d bet­ter not pick it. For Valen­tine’s Day this week, Jim Reyno takes a look at some mem­o­rable love songs (sev­eral have been writ­ten over the year


Lone Jus­tice, I Found Love (1986) Joy­ous kick­off track to the ex­cel­lent Shel­ter al­bum. Maria McKee re­ally belts it out: She sounds like she’s re­ally found love! (As an aside, McKee’s half-brother, Bryan Ma­cLean, was a mem­ber of the in­flu­en­tial ’60s band Love.)

Bar­bra Streisand, Ever­green (1976)

Del­i­cate bal­lad opens with one of Streisand’s most fa­mous open­ing lines (writ­ten by Paul Wil­liams): “Love, soft as an easy chair … ” It gets real gooey af­ter that.

Andy Wil­liams, Love Is a Many Splen­dored Thing (1955)

From the movie of the same name, this Sammy Fain-Paul Fran­cis Web­ster com­po­si­tion won an Academy Award for best orig­i­nal song. And the whole thing started with Han Suyin’s 1952 novel A Many- Splen­dored Thing.

Prairie Oys­ter, Did You Fall in Love With Me (1991)

Charm­ing tune that sub­tly cap­tures the ap­pre­hen­sion and an­tic­i­pa­tion of a de­vel­op­ing re­la­tion­ship. “I thought I saw a ghost of a smile / When my hand brushed against your hair.” Oh my, I’m blush­ing al­ready! Great man­dolin solo, too.

Alan­nah Myles, Love Is (1989) This de­but sin­gle (writ­ten by David Tyson and Christo­pher Ward) and stylish ac­com­pa­ny­ing video launched Myles in Canada. The riff is still funky and the cho­rus still hooks: “Love is / What you wan­tit­tobe/Loveis/Heav­ento the lonely.”

Ce­line Dion, My Heart Will Go On (1997)

I tried to avoid breakup-longdis­tance songs on this list, since that’s an­other cat­e­gory en­tirely. But in the last verse of Will Jen­nings’ lyrics, Dion sings: “You’re here / There’s noth­ing I fear.” So I’m claim­ing My Heart Will Go On for this list. The most pow­er­ful of power bal­lads, and beloved world­wide. I think it was voted Most Lov­ingly Heart­felt Song for Cou­ples Whose Devo­tion Tran­scends Hu­man His­tory and Outer Space — and it was unan­i­mous! Ex­cept one vote for …

Force MDs, Ten­der Love (1985) My favourite love song, no apolo­gies. I love the un­hur­ried tempo, the per­cus­sive touches and the gor­geous vo­cal har­monies. And when I try to sing along with the high parts … I sound spec­tac­u­lar. Come on!

Linda Ron­stadt, Love Is a Rose (1975)

Writ­ten by Neil Young, this is as good a metaphor for love lost as I’ve heard: “Love is a rose / But you’d bet­ter not pick it / It only grows when it’s on the vine / A hand­ful of thorns / And you’ll know you’ve missed it / You lose your love when you say the word mine.” Frank Si­na­tra, Only the Lonely (1958)

The orig­i­nal Voice paired with fre­quent col­lab­o­ra­tor, leg­endary ar­ranger Nel­son Rid­dle. They’re my pick as great­est jazz-pop pair­ing of the 1950s. But if you said it’s Ella Fitzger­ald and Louis Arm­strong … Well, it’s not a re­la­tion­ship-changer.

Depeche Mode, But Not Tonight (1986)

Song­writer Martin Gore cel­e­brates a night all by his lone­some, sung con­vinc­ingly by Dave Ga­han: “Here on my own / All on my own / How good it feels to be alone tonight.”

Gil­bert O’Sul­li­van, Alone Again (Nat­u­rally) (1972)

Noth­ing cel­e­bra­tory about soli­tude in this mas­sive hit. It opens with the nar­ra­tor con­tem­plat­ing jump­ing off a nearby tower, then goes down­hill from there. If not the gold-medal win­ner for most de­press­ing pop song, it’s at least on the podium. Eric Car­men, All by My­self (1975) An­other tough look at be­ing sin­gle. Ev­ery­one can get be­hind the surg­ing, emo­tional cho­rus: “All by my­self / Don’t want to be / All by my­self any­more.”

Natasha Bed­ing­field, Sin­gle (2004) Catchy pop an­them by an un­der­rated singer-song­writer. It’s her dec­la­ra­tion of in­de­pen­dence: “I’m not waitin’ around for a man to save me / Don’t de­pend on a guy to val­i­date me.”

Bey­oncé, Sin­gle Ladies

(Put a Ring on It) (2008) An­other ridicu­lously catchy pop an­them. Like, an in­sanely catchy, dance-in­spir­ing three min­utes and 13 sec­onds of fun. Al­though the lyrics fall into the post­breakup-new romance cat­e­gory, it’s the cho­rus that gets it here.

The Great­est Love of All

Lyrics by Linda Creed: Orig­i­nally recorded by Ge­orge Ben­son in 1977, more fa­mously by Whit­ney Hous­ton in 1985, less fa­mously by ac­tress San­dra Hüller in the 2016 film Toni Erd­mann. It’s the ul­ti­mate chest-swelling, self­es­teem man­i­festo.


It seems singer Ce­line Dion’s heart will go on — and on, and on, and on, and ...


Many peo­ple are in­spired by Whit­ney Hous­ton’s ver­sion of Great­est Love of All. (She dropped the “the” from the orig­i­nal ti­tle.)


Alone at the mi­cro­phone: Frank Si­na­tra.

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