Part of the magic of music is its ability to evoke feelings - happiness, sadness, laughter, tears, fears, and, of course, love. Valentine's Day is our annual opportunity to puiblicly celebrate that most complex of emotions.
Classic rock may not have written the book on the subject, but virtually every style it encompasses (even heavy metal and punk) is rich in songs about love.
Please accept, in the spirit of the celebration, a bouquet of a dozen of classic rock's best love songs.
I want your love, let’s break the wall between us.
Don’t make it tough, I’ll put away my pride,
Enough’s enough, I’ve suffered and I’ve seen the light.
Even hard rockers like Aerosmith have their tender moments. Lead vocalist Steven Tyler collaborated with songwriter Desmond Child on this power ballad about a man who is still hung up on his ex.
From the 1987 album Permanent Vacation
Perhaps there's a thing or two I think of, lying in bed,
I shouldn't have said.
But, there it is.
You see, it's all clear,
You were meant to be here, from the beginning
Album oriented progressive rockers Emerson Lake and Palmer scored their highest charting single with Greg Lake's song reflecting on what might have been.
From the 1972 album Trilogy
You're my lady of the morning,
Love shines in your eyes,
Sparkling clear and lovely,
You're my lady.
Styx co-founder, keyboardist Dennis DeYoung wrote this song for his wife. The use of an acoustic piano was a last minute switch from synthesizer after DeYoung tried out the paino that was in the studio where the band recorded the song.
From the 1973 album Styx II
I tried to give you consolation
When your old man had let you down.
Like a fool, I fell in love with you,
Turned my whole world upside down.
Eric Clapton wrote one of the most famous classic rock love songs for Patti Boyd, who at the time was married to Clapton's pal, George Harrison. The song title was inspired by a 12th century poem about a woman (named Layla) and her unrequited love.
From the 1970 album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
Maybe I'm amazed at the way you help me sing my song,
You right me when I'm wrong.
Maybe I'm amazed at the way I really need you.
Paul McCartney's first solo album after the breakup of The Beatles was a tribute to his wife, Linda. At a 2009 news conference, McCartney named this the song he would most like to be remembered for.
From the 1970 album McCartney
Nights in white satin, never reaching the end.
Letters I've written, never meaning to send.
Beauty I'd always missed with these eyes before.
Just what the truth is, I can't say anymore.
Justin Hayward was just 19 when he wrote this sad but powerful love song. Not only has it been a hit with fans for nearly 45 years, it has been covered by at least 55 other artists since its original release.
From the 1967 album Days of Future Passed
Let 'em say we're crazy, I don't care about that.
Put your hand in my hand, baby, don't ever look back.
Let the world around us just fall apart.
Baby, we can make it if we're heart to heart.
The third incarnation of Jefferson Airplane / Jefferson Starship / Starship recorded the theme song for the movie, Mannequin and scored a #1 hit in the process. It appeared on the last Starship album that featured Grace Slick on lead vocals. Co-writers Albert Hammond and Diane Warren based the song on an experience from Hammond's life, marrying his longtime girlfriend after a lengthy divorce from his first wife.
From the 1987 album No Protection
Our house is a very, very fine house,
With two cats in the yard.
Life used to be so hard,
Now everything is easy,
Beause of you.
Graham Nash wrote this idyllic song at the time he and Joni Mitchell were living together in a cottage in Laurel Canyon, the storied Los Angeles enclave of late '60s musicians. It was also the house in which Nash, David Crosby and Stephen Stills first sang together.
From the 1970 album Deja Vu
I've been waiting for a girl like you to come into my life.
I've been waiting for a girl like you, your loving will survive.
I've been waiting for someone new to make me feel alive.
Yeah, waiting for a girl like you to come into my life.
Foreigner were well established as a hard rock outfit when they released this soft rock love song, which gave them new exposure to Top 40 and Adult Contemporary audiences. It has since become one of the band's best known songs.
From the 1981 album Foreigner 4
You're everything I hoped for,
You're everything I need,
You are so beautiful to me.
The raspy-voiced blues rocker, Joe Cocker took a song that Billy Preston co-wrote for his own 1974 album, cranked it down a notch, and scored a huge hit. Cocker gives the simple but powerful lyric an especially emotional treatment that has made it one of classic rock's most enduring love songs.
From the 1974 album I Can Stand a Little Rain
You're in my heart, you're in my soul,
You'll bbe my breath should I grow old.
You are my lover, you're my best friend.
You're in my soul.
Rod Stewart managed to write a memorable love song in which he also manages to pay homage to his two favorite soccer teams. Still a concert staple for Stewart, the song was in the top 10 in most every country that had record charts at the time.
From the 1977 album Foot Loose & Fancy Free
You're the meaning in my life, you're the inspiration.
You bring feeling to my life, you're the inspiration.
Wanna have you near me, I wanna have you hear me sayin'
No one needs you more than I need you.
Peter Cetera and David Foster originally wrote the song for Kenny Rogers, but it wound up instead on Chicago's 17th studio album, Cetera's last with the band. The music video featured a cameo appearance by actor Matt Dillon.
From the 1984 album Chicago 17