Bob Dylan once said “A song is anything that can walk by itself,” and he is so right…
Back in the sixties, folk music communities would invite musicians to perform songs from other artists while they discussed important issues about the world. Bob Dylan was among them. He would change certain songs to come up with a better version or a style that was as enjoyable as the original. This tradition is still common. Contemporary artists like him make covers with a style of their own to pay homage to those great artists who influenced their lives and art. Thus, they can renew the life of musical pieces. This kind of evolution may sound romantic to a certain degree, but I truly believe that adapting a fragment of the past to make it part of the present demonstrates the timeless quality of love songs.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably an old soul with a fine taste for classics, someone who appreciates quality in music and wants to share it. Below you’ll find a list of songs that will take you and that special someone to a romantic journey of different ages and places:
“Baby I’m Yours”
“I’m gonna stay right here by your side,
Do my best to keep you satisfied
Nothin’ in the world could drive me away
‘Cause every day, you’ll hear me say
Baby, I’m yours”.
This is one of the few cover songs by the Arctic Monkeys. Not to mention one of the most beautiful songs of the twenty-first century. This version didn’t make too many changes to Barbara Lewis’ 1965 version, but kept to the band’s distinctive style.
“You’ve Really Got A Hold on Me”
She & Him
“I don’t want you
But I need you
Don’t want to kiss you
But I need to
Oh, oh, oh
You do me wrong now
My love is strong now
You’ve really got a hold on me”.
The cover of this 1962 hit song by soul genius Smokey Robinson is imprinted with the affliction and passion that only the voice of Zooey Deschanel can convey.
“Sea of Love”
“Come with me my love
To the sea
The sea of love
I want to tell you
How much I love you”.
This sweet 1959 ballad by Phil Phillip is undoubtedly the most romantic song of the list. Tom Waits immortalized this piece and turned it into a classic when he released his darker cover of the song in 1989. In 1998, Cat Power recaptured the romantic essence of the song in her version, turning it into the perfect ballad for young, loving couples.
“Just Like A Woman”
“Nobody feels any pain
Tonight as I stand here in the rain.
Everybody knows that baby’s got new clothes,
But lately I see her ribbons and her bows
Have fallen from her curls”.
To come up with a good cover FOR one of Bob Dylan’s classics is not an easy task, since it’s impossible to predict what will be the result. Yet Charlotte Gainsbourg’s rendition of “Just Like A Woman” nails it perfectly. The song retains Dylan’s mysterious touch and soft nature, while Charlotte’s seductive voice adds more emotion to the lyrics.
And oh so far away
I fell in love with you
Before the second show
It sounds so sweet and clear
But you’re not really there
It’s just the radio”.
“Superstar” is a song by soul and R&B group Delaney & Bonnie and Friends. The group was formed by an ensemble of English and American artists, one of them being Eric Clapton. The song was released in 1969 but was ignored by the critics. In 1971 The Carpenters released an upbeat, yet melancholic version of the song that became the best known version. Sonic Youth’s version, in contrast, focuses on the element of nostalgia and the tragic undertones of the song.
“I’ve stopped my rambling
I don’t do too much gambling these days
These days I seem to think about
How all these changes came about my ways
And I wonder if I’d see another highway”.
Released in 1967, Jackson Browne had already written this tragic ballad when he was 16 years old. Nico released the cover and the song instantly became a classic. The ghostly voice of the singer, combined with the folky and whimsy guitar that evoke past days of youth, have turned the song into an ode to love and its power to brighten up the world around us.
“I Found a Reason”
“And you better come come
come come to me
Better come come come come come to me
Better run run run run run to me
Another track covered by Cat Power. She took this silent and experimental song by The Velvet Underground and turned it into a musical odyssey of fantasy that can only be created by love. The piano, together with her vocals, has the power to ignite precious memories with the most simple elements.
“It’s Oh So Quiet”
“The sky caves in
The devil cuts loose
You blow blow blow blow blow your fuse
When you’ve fallen in love”.
A cheerful German jazz song named “Und jetzt ist es still” was written in 1948. Later on, it was translated into English and performed by Betty Hutton in 1951, becoming a major success. In 1995, Icelandic singer Björk decided to bring the it back from oblivion and turn it into one of her most emblematic songs, as well as into an orchestral classic that celebrates love.
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Translated by Andrea Valle Gracia