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Love Songs For Audrey: Cheers To New Beginnings!

Written by Nick Leitzke

When discussing love songs you have to categorize every love song ever written. What is a particular love song about? Is the love that inspired the song an innocent love or a passionate love? Is the song about a feeling of love experienced for someone, or is the song about the act of loving/making love? When is a love song no longer just a love song but a work of art that transcends simple answers? When do the simple answers of a love song speak the greatest truth of all?

The most famous love songs tend to be about someone particular, either written for a real person or inspired by a real person. Near the top of most lists would be “Donna,” by Ritchie Valens, written for his real-life girlfriend Donna Ludwig. “Layla” also ranks near the top, a song that Eric Clapton wrote for Pattie Boyd in 1970. Boyd was married at the time to Clapton’s good friend George Harrison, but a love triangle was alive and well and blatant. Harrison and Boyd divorced a few years after the release of “Layla,” and when Clapton finally married Boyd in 1977 George Harrison attended the wedding reception with Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney. Try to wrap your mind around that bit of Dickensian romanticism. Makes for one hell of a song, though.

One of my favorite love songs written about a real-life significant other has to be “Tiny Dancer,” by Elton John, although he only gets a music and performance credit. Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics, and he wrote them about his wife, Maxine Feibelman, who was indeed a dancer. The bus scene in ‘Almost Famous’ might have something to do with why I love “Tiny Dancer,” but I sang this song long before I saw that movie. I think about touring musicians, girlfriends and spouses traveling along wherever they go, and I think of the line, “Looking on she sings the songs/The words she knows, the tune she hums.” I’ve always imagined Bernie Taupin standing in the wings watching Maxine as she watches the show, madly in love with his wife and telling her how amazing she is the only way he knows how.

Perhaps love songs that are written for actual people wind up being the most famous because they’re grounded in reality. We tune to the real emotions of a moment, a year, a lifetime, whatever it takes for someone to boil over and create a remarkable piece of music. Whether or not we admit it and whether or not the notion truly is sentimental drivel, love is what keeps the human race going. Couples loving each other, love as the safety net of friendship, the act of forgiveness as the boldest statement of love someone can make – love is how humanity never ceases to surprise me year after year. We attach to love and listen to love songs because each and every one of us relates to love, the search for love, the need for love like our bodies need water. Love shows us the way whether we like it or not. The world would collapse without love.

An underrated and overlooked category of love song is the song written by a parent for his or her children. While storming over this piece I wracked my brains to come up with examples, and the best I could do are Will Smith’s “Just the Two of Us” and Loudon Wainwright’s “Rufus Is a Tit Man.”

Overlooked and highly underrated, because I think we fail to fully realize and appreciate the love of our parents until we are parents ourselves, or until something tragic happens. This type of love song is the best love song. This type of love is where we begin. With our first breath we know this love, and with each successive breath this love grows stronger. This type of love is the most important.

I talk about Sleater-Kinney a lot, and hopefully this will be the last time for a while, but when I think of every category of love, every instance of a real person inspiring a truly great song, I think of Sleater-Kinney. I think of Corin Tucker and all the hardships her family faced with the nine-week premature arrival of her son Marshall. I think of his strength, his survival, and I think of her love boiling over into a hell of a moving song called “Lions and Tigers” that didn’t make the final cut to the album ‘One Beat.’

I think of every love song ever written, every song about passion and every song about innocence, every song about real people and every song about fictional people, and I think about how much I adore “Lions and Tigers,” not just as a favorite love song but possibly as my favorite song, period. This song is the exclamation point on life. Love conquers all, and it starts at the beginning. Tonight I am thinking about “Lions and Tigers” because tonight is the beginning of a new life, a new statement ready for an exclamation point. I will let “Lions and Tigers” say everything there is to say, except that I love you Audrey Victoria Leitzke, born April 28, 2010.

Thank you Tim and Emily for making love possible.

Posted by admin   @   29 April 2010

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