Play These for Valentines Day

Fourteen Great Love Songs for Valentines Day

Here’s one for all you lovers and dreamers: a (highly subjective) list of 14 love songs for Valentine’s Day. I don’t do power pop, so many of these come from the folk world because, hey, folkies are the best at melodies and confessionals.

But let’s start with a few classics:

Cherish” by The Association: Is there a Baby Boomer anywhere for whom this wasn’t the go-to love song? It was everyone’s “our song,” even if “our” lasted less than a week!

“Kathy’s Song” by Simon and Garfunkel: Paul Simon’s gorgeous weepy of the heart yearning in absence. Yeah, that boy can write a little.

“Case of You” by Joni Mitchell: Lots of people would rank this #1 of all time and damned if I’d argue with ‘em. Written after her intense relationship with Graham Nash dissolved, but the feelings didn't. And, yes, she's a freakin' genius. I still weep when I hear this.

Here are a few you-know-the-name-but… songs:

Speaking of Dreams” by Joan Baez: She doesn’t write much, but when she does…. This one is simply gorgeous. Try it—especially if you think you don't like Baez.

“The Blizzard” by Judy Collins: Another voice for the ages. This is a lush, dramatic song about an entire life coming into focus in a single snowy evening. It's a love letter to Colorado, but also about knowing when to let go. Just a beautiful piece of music.

I’ll Take My Chances” by Mary Chapin-Carpenter: If you want to be in love and raise a little cowgirl hell on February 14, here you go. Here she is slaying on "Letterman" it back in 1993. Saw her recently and she still kills it!

A few different-kind-of-love songs:

“The Dutchman” by Steve Goodman: We say for better of for worse, but this is what it means. Written by Michael Smith, immortalized by Goodman, and one of my favorite songs of all time. Goodman was taken from us way too young.

“Hard Love” by Claudia Schmidt. One of the most honest looks at learning how to love that I know of.This is one of a gadzillion great Bob Franke compositions and Claudia's voice is one everyone should hear.

"Donegal Rain” by Andy M. Stewart: A song about Irish patriot—probably Patrick O'Donnell—singing to his love before he is executed.  Another weepy. I really miss Andy, a guy I knew.

“Arrow” by Cheryl Wheeler: Nobody makes us laugh and then stabs us in the heart like Wheeler. This song of longing is in the second category and it's a stunner.

And some just flat-out beautiful songs:

“Love is Our Cross to Bear” by John Gorka: All I can say is, “Damn! This is a great song.” From a man who has written a boatload of fabulous songs. And you won't forget his voice.
Lock Keeper by Stan Rogers: Speaking of unforgettable voices! This song is a debate between two men, a lock keeper and a world traveler. Listen to who gets the last word. This one is in my top five all-time favorites and never fails to unleash the waterworks.

Desert Rain” by Justina and Joyce: If you want to know how beautiful harmony singing can be, here’s your answer. From two amazing folks I'm lucky enough to know.

"Falling” by Kate Rusby: Let’s finish with something fragile and sweet from a mighty Yorkshire mite.

My brainstorm list had thrice as many possibilities. What are your favorites?

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