Valentine’s Day is pretty black and white for many people; not red and pink. Either you love it or you hate it.
Society sways us into thinking Valentine’s Day is a celebration only of romantic love between two people, and we’re inundated with love songs that reinforce that image. It’s important to keep those you love close to you and that doesn’t just mean your romantic partner.
There are hundreds of songs that suggest we can celebrate Valentine’s Day with other kinds of love, not just romantic love. And if we take the time to examine a few of them, we’ll realize that love comes in quite the variety – love for your home and family, love for a son or daughter, love for your mother or your father, love for your pets, and even love for a food or beverage! (Um, Red, Red Wine, anybody?!)
Even if you are with someone special this Valentine’s Day, make sure to take the time to celebrate the other loves in your life, like…
Elvis Presley’s Old Shep is about a dog that the songwriter, Red Foley, owned. I remember the time at the old swimmin’ hole when I would have drowned beyond doubt, but Old Shep was right there to the rescue he came, he jumped in and then pulled me out. If you’ve ever had a pet, you’ll know that the bond between you and an animal can be quite significant. Paul McCartney (Martha My Dear) and Norah Jones (Man of the Hour) also wrote songs showing their affection for their dogs.
When I love a singer or a band, I go all out. Rascal Flatts is a perfect example. I own four of their albums and one of the songs from the album “Changed” got my attention, especially around this time of year. The guys sing about a girl who’s up on the fifth floor of her dorm, studying for midterms, and a photo comes up on her laptop. She can’t pick her cell up fast enough. Her boyfriend? Nope. It turns out to be a photo of her family back home. She calls up her parents just to check in and sometimes you just need a little home.
Other songs about love for family and home are Taylor Swift’s Never Grow Up and Carrie Underwood’s Don’t Forget to Remember Me.
If we head back to the ‘90s, we’ll find some songs about love for parents. Celine Dion thanks her father for guiding, encouraging and protecting her throughout her life in Because You Loved Me. The Backstreet Boys’ Perfect Fan and the Spice Girls’ Mama pay tribute to their mothers.
James Taylor’s You’ve Got A Friend reminds us that friends are there when we need them: You just call out my name and you know wherever I am, I’ll come running to see you again. Winter, spring, summer or fall, all you have to do is call and I’ll be there, you’ve got a friend.
Bill Withers found himself missing the strong community ethic of his hometown and that’s when he wrote Lean On Me.
Jay Z sings about his daughter in the song Glory. Stevie Wonder celebrated the birth of his daughter with the song Isn’t She Lovely and when he performed at the Diamond Jubilee concert, he modified the lyrics to refer to the Queen. Love songs can often refer to whoever you want them to refer to. For instance, You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban can be interpreted as a tribute to a parent or child, a dedication to a partner, or a love for God.
Love is all around. I hope one of the songs I’ve mentioned will inspire you to spread the love this Valentine’s Day.
What other non-romantic love songs have special meaning for you?