From his famed gospel roots to music inspired by the civil rights movement, Sam Cooke was the king of soul, being a profound inspiration to countless singers that followed. His legendary love songs, include ‘Cupid,’ ‘You Send Me,’ ‘The Little Things You Do’ and ‘Bring It On Home To Me,’ all later covered by soul greats including Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding as well as the Rolling Stones, The Supremes, the Animals, and many more.
Carole King wrote many hit love songs for others as well as her own classic albums including ‘Tapestry’. Her 1966 hit for the Shirelles, ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow’ written with Gerry Goffin questions everlasting love with lines like, ‘tonight you’re mine completely/You give me love so sweetly/Tonight the light of love is in your eyes/but will you love me tomorrow?’ Another hit for King scored is the emotionally-charged composition of ‘You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman,’ performed and recorded by Aretha Franklin.
Smokey Robinson and his band the Miracles produced many romantic hits, including classics like ‘The Tracks Of My Tears,’ ‘You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me,’ ‘I Second That Emotion’ and ‘The Tears Of A Clown.’ Arguably his most romantic song, ‘My Girl,’ was written for the Temptations: ‘I’ve got so much honey the bees envy me/I’ve got a sweeter song than the birds in the trees/Well I guess, you’d say, what can make me feel this way/My girl/Talkin’ about my girl.’
Otis Redding’s style and lyricism symbolised deep soul with the pleading, gritty vocals of his more slow tempo music. On songs like ‘That’s How Strong My Love Is,’ the aching vocals portray a man reassuring someone of his love and everlasting support: ‘I’ll be the weeping willow drowning in my tears/You can go swimming when you’re here/And I’ll be the rainbow after the tears are gone/Wrap you in my colours and keep you warm.’
Van Morrison’s songs like ‘Crazy Love’ and ‘Into the Mystic’ continue to be anthems of love to this day. His amazing vocals and poetic approach to music are as distinct as they are unforgettable. Astral Weeks, the 1968 second studio album by this Northern Irish singer-songwriter was a sweeping, romantic folk masterpiece owing to ballads like ‘Beside You’ and ‘Sweet Thing’. The excellent ‘Moondance’ album offered optimism and positivity in contrast with the heartache of Astral Weeks.
With her well known ability to express the conflict with her desire for a great love with independence. Mitchell describes looking for her ideal love in ‘All I Want’: ‘All I really, really want our love to do/Is to bring out the best in me and in you, too/I want to renew you again and again’. ‘A Case of You,’ is an outpouring of love with the lines ‘You’re in my blood like holy wine/You taste so bitter and so sweet/I could drink a case of you.’