Anyone who reads my articles knows I love the positive in life, and I turn into a complete mush-pot for loads of the classic love ballads, but just for fun, I decided to turn to the other side of the coin in the love song jukebox, and offer a selection of songs not so high on love for your pleasure. So, if your love life looks more like a Kim Kardashian blog than a testament to love’s triumphs, at least you can have fun with these!
“Love Hurts”. Most people know only the most famous version of the song by the rock band, Nazareth, who took it to the Top 5 on the U.S. charts in 1975, but the heart-wrenching tune was written by Boudleaux Bryant, and was first recorded by the Everly Brothers in 1960. Roy Orbison made it a Top 5 country hit in Australia in 1961, and Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons recorded the song together for Parsons’ posthumously released album, Grievous Angel, and Harris includes it in her set list even now. Cher has covered the song twice, too, and I suppose the shimmering-haired diva could join the others in this group who know that one who loves must be willing “To take a lot of pain”, given her varied and rather lengthy list of lovers. The ode certainly gives a refresher on the darker side of love.
“What’s Love Got to Do With It?”. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and Tina Turner turned the tide in her life and her music with this 1984 monster hit, named one of the 500 Greatest Songs of All-Time by Rolling Stone. The soulful songstress with legs that never end showed off her emancipation declaration in the video, proclaiming “Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?” One can presume she would say the same for a man!
“Love Stinks”. Putting it a tad more plainly than the other songs on this list, the J. Geils Band had no need for polite company in this 1980 anti-amor rant. They loved the song so much, they made it the title of an album, and its blunt, “Yeah-Yeah” chorus lines have been repeated by rock femme fatal, Joan Jett, and made infamous by Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer for an unforgettable scene.
“I’m Just Talkin’ About Tonight”. Toby Keith made it more than clear in his 2001 proclamation against forever unity that he wanted nothing to do with “knockin’ out heaven”, and even less do with morality in the moment! This fun, flirtatious tune leaves it all out on the dance floor, and spells it out, too, and it’s anything but L-O-V-E!
“Why Don’t We Get Drunk” The famous addendum following “and” is omitted for the sake of gentile decorum, but this 1973 song credited to Marvin Gardens, became truly owned by Jimmy Buffett and his Parrothead legions! Dropping every hint of pretense, the song gets down to dirty business-and quick! Notably, the song was a B-side to “The Great Filling Station Holdup” from Buffett’s 1973 album, A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean, and nearly instantly became a fan favorite, being cheered for at virtually every show.
“You’re Breakin’ My Heart”. Hard to believe that the same guy that wrote the haunting, omnipresent 1971 mega-song “Without You” included this lovely little ditty on his 1972 collection, Nilsson Schmilsson, but variety is the spice of life, and Harry Nilsson opted to let everything hang out following his smash first album, costing him a few fans and a chunk of FM airplay. For sure, the song is heartfelt, but be sure the kids leave the room before you put this one on the playlist for your dinner party!
Author’s personal music archives.