Love and Lyrics
Don’t they just go together? Not quite like a horse and carriage, but humans have been writing love songs to each other since…forever, right? Love songs are the glue that keeps us connected to the love in our souls.
“I look at you all…see the love there that’s sleeping….” (George Harrison) A good love song can bring that love to the surface, allow it to blossom and flow.
You see that one person and suddenly…”Zing! Went the strings of my heart!” (James F. Hanley)
Coming from a musical background, from piano lessons at five to playing in the high school band to singing lessons, I’ve heard a ton of varied music in my life. Some of it was by choice, other times, not so much. (Contrary to what my piano teacher wants me to believe, Bartok is just….ugh. But I digress.)
Because of this background, I’ve heard a ton of Broadway show tunes and pieces from the American Songbook. Some are good, some are….not so much. What stands out most for me, however, is the lyrics. It fascinates me how the lyricists were able to put together simple words to evoke such meaning and emotion in the listener. Certainly, some of that is also inspired by the music, the melody to which it is set, but many of these songs are poetry in and of themselves. I’m reaching back. Not as far back as Mozart, but mid 20th century back. Come on with me, would you?
And of course, I’m going to give examples!!!
Tonight from West Side Story
Music by Leonard Bernstein, Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
This song is the pronouncement of the true (but forbidden) love between Tony and Maria.
“Only you, you’re the only thing I’ll see forever
In my eyes, in my words and in everything I do…
Nothing else but you…..Ever….”
Further on in the song:
“Today, the world was just an address
A place for me to live in
No better than all right…
But here, you are
And what was just a world is a star….”
The word love is never, ever mentioned in this song until the very end. But how powerful is their love that it can turn a world into a star? Indescribable.
And if the nebulous meaning of love escapes us, how about the power of a kiss?
How Little We Know
Songwriters: Carolyn Lee, Phil Springer
How little we know! How much to discover…
What chemical forces flow from lover to lover!
How little we understand what touches off that tingle,
That sudden explosion when two tingles intermingle.
Who cares to define what chemistry this is?
Who cares, with your lips on mine, how ignorant bliss is?
So long as you kiss me, and the world around us shatters….
How little it matters, how little we know.
The last one, I promise, but this is a goodie:
All the Things You Are
Songwriters: Kenny Gorelick, Walter Afanasieff
You are the promised kiss of springtime
That makes the lonely winter seem long…
You are the breathless hush of evening
That trembles on the brink of a lovely song
You are the angel glow that lights a star
The dearest things that I know are what you are
Someday my happy arms will hold you
And someday I’ll know that moment divine
When all the things you are, are mine
Look up the Frank Sinatra/Tommy Dorsey version from 1939-40.
It humbles me, as a mere writer of romance, to try my hand at describing love to you, the reader, when so many of these shining examples are already out there for the taking. I’m not sure that I can do better than they have.
What are some of the songs you look to for inspiration, to evoke the gooey center feeling of love within you?