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Aiming Cupid’s Arrow


By Cheryl Alexander

Songs, movies and poems to put you in the mood for love

Valentine’s Day is approaching, romance is in the air and we’re all in the mood for love — whether we actually have found it or not. No matter what your current relationship status may be — hot and heavy, been there/done that, or simply browsing, a good romantic evening is a wonderful way to revel in the season of love. To assist you in your search to set the right mood we’ve compiled some lists to help you. Though narrowing the selections was a huge challenge, we think you’ll LOVE these:  Without further ado, here’s what we’ll be quoting, watching and listening to for Cupid’s favorite day, presented in no particular order.

Top Love Songs  THROUGH THE AGES

Cupid’s arrow won’t miss when you download a disc of these lovers’ faves to sing along with your sweetie or to play as you dine on a homemade-with-love Valentine’s Day Dinner:

 1. Righteous Brothers, “Unchained Melody” (1965) This song has a long and fascinating history beginning with its use as a theme from a prison movie Unchained in 1955. However, the Righteous Brothers delivered the deservedly best-known version.

2. Eric Clapton, “Wonderful Tonight” (1978) A tired evening brings out some of the ultimate acclaim for a treasured lover.

3. The Beatles, “And I Love Her” (1964) Classic love songs don’t come much simpler than this.

4. Frank Sinatra, “I’ve Got a Crush On You” “The Voice” works his magic in this Gershwin tune, recorded by Sinatra in 1947 and re-recorded time and again by a variety of artists.

5. Roberta Flack, “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” (1972) Originally a folk song from the 1950’s, Roberta Flack made this classic truly her own in a soaring, sensual performance.

6. Paul McCartney,  “Maybe I’m Amazed” (1977) One of the most eloquent depictions of the inability to adequately express love in words.

7. Sonny & Cher, “I Got You Babe” (1965) It’s simple, straightforward and confident in the power of love.

8. Ashford & Simspon, “Solid” (1984) Married singer-songwriters Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson created this celebration of enduring relationships.

9. Whitney Houston, “I Will Always Love You” (1992) Originally written and performed by Dolly Parton, this song became one of the biggest hit singles of all time in this version from the soundtrack of the movie The Bodyguard.

10. Percy Sledge, “When a Man Loves a Woman” (1966) This ’60s love song became an instant standard and has been re-recorded countless times.

11. Al Green, “Let’s Stay Together” (1971) This No. 1 pop classic by Al Green became Tina Turner’s comeback hit when she hit the charts with it in 1983.

12. Olivia Newton-John, “I Honestly Love You” (1974) If only the time and place had been different, this would be a song about committed lovers.

13. Rod Stewart, “Have I Told You Lately” (1993) Originally written and recorded by Van Morrison, this song became an instant wedding dance classic when recorded by Rod Stewart.

14. Madonna, “Crazy For You” (1985) Madonna’s greatest romantic classic was recorded in a single take.

15. Beyonce featuring Jay-Z, “Crazy In Love” (2003) Animated by a horn sample from the Chi-Lites’ 1970 song “Are You My Woman (Tell Me So),” this song established Beyonce as a powerful solo star outside of Destiny’s Child.

16. Jackson 5, “I’ll Be There” (1970) This Berry Gordy soul song resulted in two U.S. No. 1 hit singles: the original 1970 recording by The Jackson 5 and a 1992 live version by American R&B singers Mariah Carey and Trey Lorenz.

17. Heatwave, “Always and Forever” (1978) This pledge of eternal love is a wedding favorite.

18. Diana Ross & Lionel Richie, “Endless Love”(1981) This No. 1 hit that topped the charts for nine weeks failed to generate the same excitement for its movie, Endless Love.

19. Barry White, “You’re the First, My Last, My Everything” (1974) Originally written many years before as a country song, Barry White’s inimitable soulful growl made this a signature classic.

20. Marvin Gaye, “Let’s Get It On” (1973) This hit became Gaye’s most successful single for Motown and one of his most well-known songs.

21. John Mayer, “Your Body Is a Wonderland” (2002)  John Mayer brings physical intimacy into the world of romantic classics.

22. Elvis Presley, “Love Me Tender” (1956) Elvis Presley’s signature love song is based on the Civil War era folk tune “Aura Lee.”

23. Bruno Mars, “Just the Way You Are” (2010) AKA “Amazing”, this is the lead single from Mars’ debut studio album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans.

24. The BeeGees, “How Deep IsYour Love” (1977) One of the group’s most successful hits and also part of the soundtrack for the equally successful film Saturday Night Fever.

25. Boyz 2 Men, “I’ll Make Love to You” (1994) A platinum-selling single written by Babyface for the group that won a 1995 Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

 

ALL TIMEFavorite Love Poem

Stand ready to catch your swooning sweetheart when you whisper this timeless verse into their ear.

“How Do I Love Thee”

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height; My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of Being and ideal Grace; I love thee to the level of everyday’s

Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light; I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;

I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise; I love thee with a passion put to use

In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith; I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath;

Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.

 

 

TOP 10Romantic Movies

Select one of these to view with your Valentine and you’re sure to score big points on the love meter:

Sleepless in Seattle. Starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in this 1993 bi-coastal romance, this deeply satisfying story of loss, unknown soul mates includes a happily ever after. A memorable soundtrack and just the right amount of wistful desire, doubt, challenge and humor make this an appealing movie to guys and girls.

When Harry Met Sally. Starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, this movie is likely best known for its restaurant scene. It’s a romantic comedy that is a lot of fun to watch, ending as it should with Harry and Sally finally making it work after 11 years of friendship.

Phenomenon. Starring Kyra Sedgwick and John Travolta, this 1997 movie isn’t billed as a romance, but romance does develop as Lace first suspects and then supports George as he pursues her when he inexplicably develops amazing mental capabilities. The shaving scene is so tender, bringing sensuality without blatant sex. Have your hankies ready at the end.

The Notebook. This is another tearjerker and a great story of passion, enduring love and memories as James Garner, who plays Duke, reads to Gena Rowlands’ Allie, allowing her to relive her youthful romance with her future husband Noah, played by Ryan Gosling. Allie is losing her memory and the diary offers her a look back in time.

Romancing the Stone. Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner co-star to deliver adventure, humor AND romance.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Starring Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey who have great chemistry in this romantic comedy that’s good for some laughs as well as a satisfying resolution.

The Princess Bride. One of the best romantic comedies of all time wherein dashing-but-poor Wesley (played by Cary Elwes) and the beautiful Buttercup love each other deeply but unfortunately life has placed them in different social classes. Wesley leaves to seek his fortune in order to win Buttercup’s hand. This story has hilarious characters, memorable lines and a great moral ending.

Somewhere in Time. Featuring a gorgeously lush romantic soundtrack, the gorgeous Jane Seymour and equally handsome Christopher Reeve, this 1980 movie tells the story of a romance spanning the ages. It is a beautiful testament to love overcoming every obstacle, including time.

Enchanted. Disney satirized itself in this movie, which includes elements of the classic fairy tales rolled into one sweet, funny and musical love story. Amy Adams as Giselle and Patrick Dempsey as Robert portray this “happily ever after” tale. Susan Sarandon, James Marsden and Timothy Spall provide side-splitting performances. Your  kids (or nieces and nephews) can even watch this one. And you’ll be singing the songs for days.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Starring Brad Pitt. Enough said. But honestly, this is an enthralling, intelligent person’s romance.  Adapted from an F. Scott Fitzgerald story that he wrote in the 1920s and set in New Orleans, Benjamin is born as an old man who, as he ages, grows younger. Cate Blanchett plays opposite Pitt as his love interest, Daisy. This movie is nearly three hours long, so plan accordingly.

 

THE CLASSICS: HONORABLE MENTIONS

Bogie in Casablanca  •  Beautiful Scarlett in Gone With the Wind  •  Breakfast at Tiffany’s with the sophisticated Holly Golightly  •  An Affair to Remember at the top of the Empire State Building  •  Sabrina in either version — with Bogie or Harrison Ford  •  Love Story with Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw  •  Dr. Zhivago with Omar Sharif as the doctor/poet and Julie Christie as his Lara.

 


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