Half the attraction of a good love song is that we can borrow a singable tune and make the sentiments our own. Many couples identify a particular song as their own. Sometimes a hit single has more poetry in the tune than the words. How about these: “Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for. I can't help it there's nothin' I want more. I would fight for you - I'd lie for you; walk the wire for you - Ya I'd die for you.” Not exactly Keats or Shelley, but it gets the idea across. The English say: “what you loose on the roundabout you can make up on the swings.”
This song comes from the album “Waking up the Neighbors.” I’m sure you know it well. After all it was in the number one place in England’s charts for a record-breaking (pardon the pun) 16 weeks. For those who are still wondering about the profound words the next lines say: “Ya know it's true. Everything I do - I do it for you.” Of course! We’re talking about the hit by Robert “mutt” Lange and Bryan Adams. It was the best-selling song of 1991, even though it was written for a movie and ended up as the song for the credits. At first Bryan’s native Canada would have little to do with the song because of Lange’s involvement, so now Adams “punishes” them by refusing to attend Juno, the Canadian music awards. We easily confuse success with character.
At 46, Adams who sang: “Look into my eyes - you will see what you mean to me. Search your heart - search your soul and when you find me there you'll search no more,” has yet to marry. We suppose that his search is still ongoing. Making it in the music industry can at times be defined by sales. Ask people like Elvis, Sinatra, the Beatles, Abba and Queen what it’s like to sell a quarter million recordings. You can be in that club like Madonna, sing about “Poppa don’t preach, I’m keeping my baby,” and then end up keeping someone else’s baby.
You might be as well sold as Led Zeppelin was and croon: “If the sun refused to shine I would still be loving you, when the mountains crumble to the sea there will still be you and me.” This was while manager Peter Grant was going through a painful divorce. His temper nearly wrecked one of their tours. Robert Plant remarked: “After (the death of) my son, I found that the excesses that surrounded Led Zeppelin were such that nobody knew where the actual axis of all this stuff (the evil) was. The beauty and lightness of 1970 had turned into a neurosis.”
Probably the safest songs are those based in eternal principles. Recently I spent time with some “soppy” songs. I noticed a trend. Take Jason Reeves and Nelly Joy singing: More in Love with You. A line says “And we might not know how it ends / But as long as we have us / That’ll be enough.” Yes, there is an uncertainty about the narrative of life and yet love has a lasting quality. The Bible says love (true love) never fails.
I found an echo of the way God loves us in Ingrid Michaelson’s The Way I Am. She sings: “Cause I love you more than I could ever promise. And you take me the way I am.” Perhaps the most known of all the songs in the Billy Graham crusades was: Just as I am. There is a verse that says: “Just as I am, thou wilt receive, wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve; because thy promise I believe, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.” One of the best ways to learn how to “do” human love is the study of all that the bible says about Diving Love.
So what’s the best known love song of all? I have no idea. Even Google can’t choose – they list 100 in each category. To close this article I was thinking about Anne Murray’s "You Needed Me" (1978) There is so much of the Christian Gospel in the first verse: “I cried a tear, you wiped it dry I was confused, you cleared my mind I sold my soul, you bought it back for me And held me up and gave me dignity Somehow you needed me.” How is it that the God Who has been eternally self-sufficient, reveals Himself as the Ultimate Lover.” Somehow He needed me! Somehow He needed you. The only explanation is that the moment you were conceived He created within His heart a place only you could fill. So fill it. Love back! Love extravagantly.
Andrew Paton of Clinton Church of the Nazarene, born in Africa, has pastored in Hunterdon County since 1997. Before that he ministered in Durban and Bedfordview, South Africa and prior to that was an officer in The Salvation Army. He has been in full time Christian leadership since 1975. He and his wife Carol have two married sons and five grandchildren.
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