Rock & Roll Love Letter: 15 alternative love songs
Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to play those old records that melted our hearts over the years. We have selected 15 rock songs which we think you should definitely listen to on this February 14th.
From The Ronettes to Queens of the Stone Age, we have covered some tracks that you might have forgotten even existed. Be prepared to be overwhelmed by cheesy lyrics and powerful love declarations
The Cure – ‘Lovesong’
“However far away / I will always love you / However long I stay / I will always love you / Whatever words I say / I will always love you.”
An effortlessly yet effectively delivered ‘Lovesong’. With the synthesizers trifling with the regular beat of the track and Robert Smith’s distinctive vocals, the singer declares his love with simple words and an uncomplicated melody. Released in 1989, the track featured on The Cure’s eighth album—Disintegration—and has since then been covered by multiple artists, including Adele, whose version was calmer with only an acoustic guitar accompanying her.
Wolf Alice – ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’
“You’ve turned me upside down / And that’s okay, I’ll let it happen / ‘Cause I like having you around / I’m electric, a romantic cliché / And they really are all true.”
Wolf Alice have definitely made a name for themselves over the past few years. ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’ is one of their most well-known songs, taken from their latest album Visions of Life.
This heavily-synthetized ballad makes us feel like we are on cloud nine, surrounded by a dreamy haze while Ellie Rowland softly talks us through her lyrics, adding to the heavenly atmosphere of the track.
The Ronettes – ‘Paradise’
“We will cross a rainbow to a place where we’ll be free / Where he’ll give his love to me.”
This walk to ‘Paradise’ is one of the many paragons The Ronettes have recorded with Phil Spector. The track opens with birds singing, the sound of waves before Ronnie Spector’s husky voice takes us on a heavenly journey where her lover will meet her.
Released in 1965, this song was praised for the sound effects used, as was ‘Walking in the Rain’, another gem by the fabulous Ronettes. Even though this single was never officially released at the time, it sure is one of rock’s finest love songs.
Heart – ‘Magic Man’
“You know I could not run away, it seemed / We’d seen each other in a dream / Seemed like he knew me / He looked right through me, yeah.”
This song undoubtedly reached out to a lot of teenage girls when it came out in 1975. Being very personal for singer Ann Wilson, whose ‘Magic Man’ was later Heart’s manager—Mike Fisher, she takes us through that time when she had fallen so hard for him, she lost all reason.
Lead by the heavy staccato guitar and high-pitched vocals, the chorus is actually her own lover’s and mother’s words, referring to many phone calls she had with her, asking her to come back home. The bridge of this track has been recognised by many music references as one of the greatest of hard rock’s history – and we couldn’t agree more.
David Bowie – ‘Moonage Daydream’
“Keep your ‘lectric eye on me babe / Put your ray gun to my head / Press your space face close to mine, love / Freak out in a moonage daydream oh yeah.”
‘Moonage Daydream’ is an unusual love song about an alien messiah. Full of space references, Bowie yet again takes us through a unique musical experience with this track. Originally written for the fashion designer Fred Burrett, this out-of-this-world song starts off with a remarkable heavy guitar riff, which was later on used in Green Day’s hit ‘Jesus of Suburbia’ in 2005.
This song definitely makes us daydream about an alien lover that might be waiting for us somewhere.
The Byrds – ‘She Don’t Care About Time’
“And with her arms around me tight I see her all in my mind / And she’ll always be there my love don’t care about time.”
One of singer-songwriter Gene Clark’s tour de force, this sweet song stays true to The Byrds’ brilliant harmonies and cleverly-written, poetic lyrics. Featuring on most of the band’s compilations, it was originally part of their Turn! Turn! Turn! album, released in 1965. Those of us with a more classical ear will have noticed the Bach-inspired guitar lines in ‘She Don’t Care About Time’, highly-inspired by the composer’s ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring’.
Queens of the Stone Age – ‘Make It Wit Chu’
“I wanna make it wit chu.”
Queen of the Stone Age’s own Josh Homme has previously talked about this song as a classic about making love. As their music video illustrates this perfectly, the track was recorded as part of his Desert Sessions Volumes 9 & 10, in which PJ Harvey took part in the backing vocals. After featuring on Era Vulgaris, ‘Make it Wit Chu’ has made its way to nearly every setlist performed by Queens of the Stone Age and has become a worldwide favourite. The laid-back feel of this song with Homme’s steady voice is a must for a romantic night in “anytime and anywhere”.
Patti Smith – ‘Frederick’
“But tonight on the wings of a dove / Up above to the land of love”
In 1979, Patti Smith Group released their fourth album—Wave. ‘Frederick’ was the lead single, introducing us to a new side of the passionate and flamboyant Patti Smith after her previous groundbreaking Easter. This track was dedicated to her one and only Fred “Sonic” Smith who later on became her husband. Unlike many of her other releases, which carried some rather out-there messages, this pop-like track received varied feedback, regarding the simplistic yet flowery lyrics, and the uplifting feel to it. In fact, the melody was written as a tribute to Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Prove It All Night’.
‘Frederick’ is most certainly an easy-going love declaration that will melt every Frederick’s heart out there.
Oasis – ‘Slide Away’
“Now that you’re mine / We’ll find a way of chasing the sun / Let me be the one that shines with you / In the morning we don’t know what to do / Two of a kind / We’ll find a way / To do what we’ve done / Let me be the one who shines with you / And we can slide away.”
Another supreme track written by Noel Gallagher. Whether it’s Liam’s vocals, which are particularly remarkable on it, or the fact it was composed by Noel playing the guitar Johnny Marr sent him—this song is an absolute must for the Mancunians’ Valentine’s Day—as well as the world’s. Even though the singer-songwriter claims ‘Slide Away’ wrote itself, the lyrics and instrumental material have proven to be some of the most sentimental and clever ones by Oasis.
George Harrison – ‘What Is Life’
“What I feel, I can’t say / But my love is there for you any time of day / But if it’s not love that you need / Then I’ll try my best to make everything succeed.”
The ex-Beatles singer is probably a classic when it comes to love songs and Valentine’s Day. So, we had to put one of his tracks in our Top 15. With a little help from his friends, namely the great producer Phil Spector, Eric Clapton as well as Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, Harrison put together a memorable love song. The fantastic fuzzing, descending guitar riff opening the track stays in your head all day, before Spector’s Wall of Sound takes over, engulfing us into the chorus: “Tell me, what is my life without your love / Tell me, who am I without you, by my side.”
‘What is Life’ is definitely a must if you were looking for some George Harrison’s go-to romantic songs.
Queen – ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’
“There goes my baby / She knows how to rock’n’roll / She drives me crazy / She gives me hot and cold fever / Then she leaves me in a cool, cool sweat.”
It only took between five and ten minutes for Freddie Mercury to come up with this Elvis Presley-like masterpiece, while having a soak in his bath. Featuring on Queen’s The Game, the late singer used his rather poor knowledge of guitar playing to compose this swinging track. If truth be told, the singer stated he didn’t really know his way around this instrument, but that is what made him come up with a straightforward yet dynamic melody.
‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ is an ingenious track composed by a virtuoso man—what’s not to love?
The Cars – ‘Just What I Needed’
“I don’t mind you comin’ here / And wastin’ all my time / ‘Cause when you’re standin’ oh so near / I kinda lose my mind.”
Released as the debut single of their first album, ‘Just What I Needed’ has become a rock classic over the years. With a pop side to it, The Cars borrowed their opening riff from a song by the Ohio Express – ‘Yummy Yummy Yummy’. There’s obviously some serious flirting—or fighting?—going on between the treble synthesiser and the scorching guitar while bassist Benjamin Orr’s vocals take the lead, instead of the usual frontman Ric Ocasek. Being one of the most well-known songs by The Cars, we had to bring it back out for Valentine’s Day.
Arctic Monkeys – ‘I Wanna Be Yours’
“Let me be your ‘leccy meter and I’ll never run out / And let me be the portable heater that you’ll get cold without / I wanna be your setting lotion / Hold your hair in deep devotion / At least as deep as the Pacific Ocean.”
What better way to declare your love for someone than with Alex Turner asking to be your vacuum cleaner and coffee pot? This sensual and slow-paced track from their album AM is one of the best Arctic Monkeys’ love songs out there. Inspired and taken from John Cooper Clarke’s poem, Alex Turner only added two verses to it—“Secrets I have held in my heart / Are harder to hide than I thought.”
Not only does the singer want to be every single electrical object in your house, but he asks it in a Turner way, showcasing his deep, smooth voice. Who said romance was dead?
The Stone Roses – ‘Ten Storey Love Song’
“Ten storey love song / I built this thing for you / Who can take you higher than twin deep mountain blue? / Oh well I’ve built this thing for you / And I love you true.”
Released in 1995, this love song is another gem written by guitarist John Squire. Adopting a more psychedelic-pop side on this track, the Mancunian band have managed to build an emotional skyscraper letting us into some of singer Ian Brown’s feelings.
The catchy chorus of this dreamy tune will undoubtedly take you up to The Stone Roses’ ten-storey building of love.
Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers – ‘I Love You’
“When I look in your eye / I see words I can’t describe / And these words I’m telling you / And I tell you, ‘I Love You’.”
If you’re looking for the perfect way to declare your love to someone, let Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers do it for you. This punk-rock track is probably one of the easiest ones to learn off by heart, as Johnny Thunders basically keeps saying over and over again “I love you”. So there’s no doubt the message will be fully received. Featuring on the band’s L.A.M.F released in 1977, the heavy guitars accompany Johnny Thunders’ punkish vocals while he sings about his love. Did you know Johnny Thunders was in love?
Our list of rock love songs could go on forever, and these are some of many which have warmed our hearts whether on Valentine’s Day or any other day. If you are spending Valentine’s Day alone or with your other half, then our Top 15 will most definitely overwhelm you with love and add the extra romance to your day.