A Pleasant Survey

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

Related Post Roulette

126 Responses

  1. Burt Likko says:

    My votes are:

    The Beatles, Something:

    Jem, Falling For You:

    Massive Attack: Protection:

  2. Anne says:

    Couldn’t decide which version I liked best so…

    one from my SCA days

    hard to pick three but here is my third

  3. Kevin says:

    Don’t usually post, but this is right up my alley. For my money, this is the most romantic song I’ve ever heard.


  4. Stillwater says:

    Mystifies Me, Ronnie Wood (tho I like the Son Volt version too)


    Bell Bottom Blues, Derek in the Dominoes


    Most Of The Time, Bob Dylan


    Bonus track:

    All I Want Is You, U2


    • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

      Man, my linkies broke a tube. Gunk everywhere. Sorry bout that.Report

    • James Hanley in reply to Stillwater says:

      I thought of All I Want Is You, which is a great song, but ended up boycotting it because of Bono.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to James Hanley says:

        heh. I was gonna include Follow You, Follow Me but didn’t in honor of a generally applicable boycott of Phil Collins.Report

      • Patrick Bateman in reply to James Hanley says:

        Do you like Phil Collins? I’ve been a big Genesis fan ever since the release of their 1980 album, Duke. Before that, I really didn’t understand any of their work. Too artsy, too intellectual. It was on Duke where Phil Collins’ presence became more apparent. I think Invisible Touch was the group’s undisputed masterpiece. It’s an epic meditation on intangibility. At the same time, it deepens and enriches the meaning of the preceding three albums….Listen to the brilliant ensemble playing of Banks, Collins and Rutherford. You can practically hear every nuance of every instrument…In terms of lyrical craftsmanship, the sheer songwriting, this album hits a new peak of professionalism….Take the lyrics to “Land of Confusion”. In this song, Phil Collins addresses the problems of abusive political authority. “In Too Deep” is the most moving pop song of the 1980s, about monogamy and commitment. The song is extremely uplifting. Their lyrics are as positive and affirmative as anything I’ve heard in rock….Phil Collins’ solo career seems to be more commercial and therefore more satisfying, in a narrower way. Especially songs like “In the Air Tonight” and “Against All Odds”….But I also think Phil Collins works better within the confines of the group than as a solo artist, and I stress the word artist. This is “Sussudio”, a great, great song, a personal favorite.Report

      • Chris in reply to James Hanley says:

        American Psycho?

        Ellis’ discussions of pop music in Less Than Zero and American Psycho make those books.

        Plus he was right about the Stones achieving perfection at some point in the 70s.Report

      • Glyph in reply to James Hanley says:

        Well, they released Sticky Fingers in 1971, so it’s a scientific fact.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to James Hanley says:

        The album that got me into Genesis was And Then There Were Three, which really is a transition from the earlier concept driven/arty stuff they were doing with Peter Gabriel to the more pop oriented stuff on Duke, Abacab and so on. I’ve always loved Collins as a drummer and vocalist, and Banks and Rutherford are amazing too. Banks’ song writing always blows me away.

        I liked the early stuff too, especially The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. But I’ve been a big Phil Collins fan for long time.I had all his early solo stuff on vinyl way back when. It bums me out that it’s become so hip to bash the guy. He’s a great dummer, great song writer, great vocalist, who made some great music along the way.Report

      • Chris in reply to James Hanley says:

        Plus he produced the greatest air drum moment in history.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to James Hanley says:

        Was that comment a lift from an Ellis book? It sounded a bit … overproduced.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to James Hanley says:

        Ah, found it. Here’s a Rolling Stone interview with Collins from a couple years ago. It’s a little glimpse of what it’s like to be Phil Collins now. I’ve just never understood all the vilification, myself.Report

  5. Kazzy says:

    NIN – CloserReport

  6. Maribou says:

    I feel like this is such a personal question that we’ll all have different answers, and I am so into ambiguity that I can’t imagine anyone else wanting mine. But, that said, the ones I most often come back to are:

    David Dondero, Rothko Chapel:

    The Magnetic Fields, The Book of Love

    Bastille, Flaws


    • Maribou in reply to Maribou says:

      yar, looks like glyph’s method doesn’t work for me either. here is a version with links, if someone would be so kind:

      David Dondero, Rothko Chapel

      Magnetic Fields, Book of Love

      Bastille, Flaws


      • Maribou in reply to Maribou says:

        @chris (not rushin’ you, just making it easier to spot the need for embed help)Report

      • Chris in reply to Maribou says:

        Also, if y’all could @ me like Maribou did here if you need me to help you embed, that’d be appreciated. I’m sitting at a coffee shop, and people keep being all rude and talking to me (it might have something to do with me talking to them), so I get distracted from the important things, like music ;).Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Maribou says:

        I’m going to have to disagree with the Book of Love being a good song. I can’t put my finger on it but there is something about the message of that song that doesn’t strike me as being right.Report

      • Maribou in reply to Maribou says:

        Much like every other song on 69 Love Songs, it is ironic and rueful (ok, some of them are sarcastic and gleeful, but). If you try to read it straight, it won’t work right.

        And yet, and yet. It is the only song that Jaybird and I sing to each other in the car (as opposed to just both singing along to the same song). Because 8 or 9 layers down, it is a very romantic song.Report

  7. Mike Schilling says:

    Romeo and Juliet, Dire Straits
    If You See Her, Say Hello, Bob Dylan
    I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), The ProclaimersReport

  8. James and Johanna says:

    This list is a joint production, just to emphasize the love part. These are songs we love to sing together.

    Righteous Brothers–Unchained Melody (Objectively the greatest love song ever. Ev. Er.)

    Lucinda Williams–Something About What Happens When We Talk

    Melissa Etheridge–You Can Sleep While I Drive


  9. LeeEsq says:

    1. Richard Thompson – Read About Love

    2. Blink – Its not my fault

    3. Morrissey- Tomorrow


  10. LeeEsq says:

    My comment is stuck in moderation, please help. Thank you.Report

  11. Chris says:

    I suck at this sort of thing, because my favorite songs are usually whatever songs I am into today, so I’ll just go with three I heard today:

    Oh, and…


  12. Michelle says:

    I’m not even going to try to embed anything because it seems not to be working.

    My votes:
    Unchained Melody, Righteous Brothers. Totally agree with James and Johanna about this one.

    Have I Told You Lately, Van Morrison. First dance at our wedding. Need I say more.

    The Late Show, Jackson Browne. From the album Late For the Sky . I’ve loved this song since I was in college, which was forever ago. “No one ever talks about their feelings anyway without wrapping them in dreams and laughter. I guess it’s just too painful otherwise.”

    Runner-up: Leonard Cohen’s Ain’t No Cure For Love.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to Michelle says:

      Is Unchained Melody the first song to get multiple votes? Damn, I love how eclectic our readership’s tastes are!

      And, of course, Unchained Melody is a fantastic bit of songwriting. There is room for re-interpretation, though:

      Some people think this is an absolutely brilliant re-take, but others think she kills the song completely (and not in a good way).Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Michelle says:

      Dayum, I gotta give +2 for The Late Show. Man, that’s a great song.

      It’s like you’re standing in the window
      Of a house nobody lives in
      And I’m sitting in a car across the way
      (let’s just say)
      It’s an early model chevrolet
      (let’s just say)
      It’s a warm and windy day …”Report

  13. James Hanley says:

    Bonus track–The Kooks.

  14. zic says:

    Bowie, doing Wild is the Wind
    (and if I have a ‘type,’ this is it — tall, thin, intensely smart, extremely musical, and secure enough in masculinity to be a gender bender.)

    and my second love song, because love isn’t always pretty and I sorta resent the pastoral imagery requirement — You Oughta Know.


  15. Glyph says:

    Ben E. King – Stand By Me

    Magnetic Fields – 100,000 Fireflies

    Talking Heads – This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)


  16. RTod says:

    Here are my three, which are guaranteed one-vote wonders.

    1. My One & Only Love, any version (but mostly either the Ella or the Sting)

    2. Feeling Love by Paula Cole

    3. Luckiest by Ben Folds

    The first makes me feel as to be alive and in love after so many years, the last makes me feel misty*, and the second makes me feel like making more children.

    * especially the last verse, which is as literary and poetic a way to describe true love as I have ever heard in a pop song:

    Next door there’s an old man who lived to his nineties
    And one day passed away in his sleep
    And his wife; she stayed for a couple of days
    And passed away.

    I’m sorry, I know that’s a strange way to tell you that I know we belong [together],
    And that I know that I am
    The luckiest.


  17. Patrick says:

    I’m on a Motown kick, so:

    “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)” — Otis Redding
    “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher and Higher: — Jackie Wilson
    “When a Man Loves a Woman” — Percy SledgeReport

    • Chris in reply to Patrick says:

      Man, Otis Redding died at 26. How do you fit that much soul into 26 years?

      My Dad actually saw him at the Nashville show 3 days before he died. Damn people from the 60s.Report

      • dexter in reply to Chris says:

        Chris, The following is a short list of groups I saw for free or less than five bucks.
        Big Brother and the Holding Company, The Doors, Buffalo Springfield, Poco, Santana, CSN, Cream, Jim Kweskin, Canned Heat, John Mayall, CCR, Chuck Berry, Martha and the Vandellas, The Shirells, The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones. There are many, many more, but since I got hit by Al’s Hammer, lots of things are somewhat foggy. God damn us lucky boomers. All we had to do was make sure we didn’t get our ass shot of in Vietnam or lose our morality by killing someone who had never done us any harm and parteeeeee.
        Also, I love “Sara” by Dylan. It is a post love song but still beautiful.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Chris says:

        If I ever become a famous musician, I’m flying commercial. Every fishing time.Report

    • James Hanley in reply to Patrick says:

      +1 to each of these. Great songs.Report

  18. Chris says:

    This song was apparently written as a joke, but it wins because it’s the only love song ever to mention Al Roker:


  19. Ken S says:

    And here is the only love song that contains the word “theodolite.”


  20. My first suggestion is “Astounded” by Bran Van 3000 featuring Curtis Mayfield. I mean, c’mon, this list has to include Curtis Mayfield.


  21. Reformed Republican says:

    I can only think of one. 16 Horsepower covering Bob Dylan, “Nobody ‘Cept You.”


  22. NewDealer says:

    The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side:


  23. NewDealer says:

    The Two of Us:


  24. NewDealer says:

    Consider these bonus tracks


  25. NewDealer says:

    Stars-Your Ex-Lover is Dead


  26. NewDealer says:

    Belle and Sebastian: Piazza, New York Catcher


  27. NewDealer says:

    One more bonus track. This is the one good song Don Henley wrote and performed:


  28. Roger says:

    This one is easy, and I am sure you will all agree. The two best love songs ever recorded are by that amazing duo called Captain and Tennille. Top of the list is that 70s mega-classic Love Will Keep Us Together. Followed closely by Muskrat Love (Muskrat Susie, Muskrat Sam)

    You asked for three though, and the competition here is stiff. I would have to go with either Puppy Love by the young Donny Osmond (back when he was at the top of his game), or Yummy, Yummy, I’ve Got Love In My Tummy by The Ohio Express.

    To prove these are the best ever, I challenge ANYBODY to try not to hum one or more of them for the next half hour. It can’t be done!Report

    • Roger in reply to Roger says:

      After thinking about this all night, I seriously nominate the following three songs:

      Your Song by Elton John (and Bernie Taupin)
      The Look of Love by Dusty Springfield
      A Love Supreme by John Coltrane

      The latter of course is about spiritual love.Report

  29. Pinky says:

    Shelter from the Storm – Bob Dylan
    Think he might’ve been going through some stuff during Blood on the Tracks?

    My Aim is True – Elvis Costello
    Deceptively beautiful.

    True – Spandau Ballet
    It took me 20 years to notice what a great vocal track it has.Report

  30. Kim says:

    My ignorance of American culture looms large here…
    1) Small two of pieces — Xenogears
    And now that we’ve gotten the squishy out of the way…
    2) That song from “The Deflowering of Eva von End”
    (you’ll know the one. it’s romantic, but oh, so graphic)
    [song is not appropriate for teenagers.]
    3) Snow Cherries from France
    because love isn’t always kind, or stable, or loving.Report

  31. Mike Dwyer says:

    My three:

    Let My Love Open the Door – Pete Townsend

    500 Miles – Proclaimers

    More – Bobby DarinReport

  32. Maribou says:

    Bonus track!
    All y’all namechecking 500 Miles have gotten my fave devotion-through-pedestrian-exertion song, Edwin Starr’s 25 Miles, stuck in my head. So here, this is my internal radio tonight:


  33. Brandon Berg says:

    1. Bobby Darin’s cover of “Happy.”

    2. “I Close My Eyes and Count to Ten,” by Dusty Springfield.

    3. Koibito Yo (“Oh My Love”), by Mayumi Itsuwa:


    • Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      What do I have to do to embed a video? I tried the embedding HTML from YouTube, and I also tried copying the source from other embedded videos on this page, and neither have worked. Or do all of them have to be rescued by someone with the keys?Report

      • Glyph in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Brandon, the embed code from YouTube *should* work (“use old embed code” is preferred, as the newer YT embed code really kills page load performance) but in practice, it seems twitchy. Sometimes embeds just get obliterated entirely. And sometimes posting a link, shows as an embed. Embed code works for me (though sometimes I have to CAPTCHA to get the comment itself to post – are you getting CAPTCHA screens?). I changed your links to embeds.Report

      • Chris in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        I’ve noticed that if I am logged into the site, I have no problem embedding videos with the embed code. If I am not, the code simply disappears.

        I suspect this is the result of a setting, probably the WP default.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Yeah, there should be a list of acceptable HTML tags that you can adjust, and usually it will be more permissive for authenticated users.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Rather, there should be multiple such lists, one for each class of users.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        To be clear “should” expresses my belief about how it actually works, not my views on good software design.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      1. Happy

      2. I Close My Eyes and Count to Ten

      3. Koibito Yo


  34. Murali says:

    1. Paint my love – Michael learns to Rock
    2. Glory of love – Peter Cetera
    3. Everything I do – Bryan Adams

    coming close behind are:

    4. All for love – Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Sting
    5. Amazed – Lonestar
    6. Power of love – Air Supply

    A decent 7th place is
    7. Sill Loving You – ScorpionsReport

  35. JG New says:

    There are far too many songs that I like for me to possibly winnow them down to 3. So I’ll just go with the song that I gave to my love on this year’s Valentine’s Day (on a thumb drive in her card):

    I Stand in Wonder, by Joe Cocker

    Oh, and +1 to This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) by Talking HeadsReport

  36. Jaybird says:

    I think I figured out my three… finally.

    Jann Arden captures how I wanted to be felt about in my early 20’s.

    The entire Marc Cohn album “Marc Cohn” was an awesome album but “True Companion” is the love song of love songs that paints my 30’s:

    I think that the Talking Heads “Heaven” captures everything I hope for at this point, though. Who knows what the 50’s will look like?