Where is the love?

2011-02-11 10:48

Long gone are the days of great love ballads – the kind of stuff that leaves us weeping into our pillows in the ­middle of the night. The era of big ­ballads by the likes of Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and Mariah Carey has come and gone, and may never return. But according to 5FM’s music compiler, Sotiris Moldovanos, hope is not lost.

“I don’t think the era of the love song will ever be over. Song writers will always have something to say about love and heartbreak,” he says.

Moldovanos, who believes the worst love song of all time is Dion’s My Heart Will Go On, says ballads are not dead yet. “Love songs generally tend to become cheesy over the years as they are played so many times.

“Like music, love songs suit the time for which they were ­written and evolve with each new generation, so they never really go away.”

But still, they don’t make them the way they used to, as our Top 10 indicates.

» Unchained Melody – Righteous Brothers
This is one of the most popular love songs of all time. It occupies the prestigious position of being one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century, having spawned more than 500 versions in more than 100 different languages.

The music was written by Alex North and the lyrics by Hy Zaret in 1955.

It was only 10 years later when the Righteous Brothers picked up the song that its popularity soared.

» At Last – Etta James

The romantic lyrics and the orchestration have made this a wedding hit. It is the James version that everyone knows, but the song originates from 1941 when Mack Gordon and Harry Warren did a soundtrack for the musical Orchestra Wives.

It was first performed in the film and on record by Glenn Miller and his orchestra.

The song got a new lease on life when Beyoncé sang it at President Barack Obama’s inauguration ball.

» I’ll Make Love To You – Boyz II Men
The song set the record for the most weeks at No?1 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart back in 1994.

It went on to win a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group.

» Is This Love – Bob Marley
Peaking at No?9 on the UK Charts in 1978, the song’s simple lyrics about sharing a ­single bed is about as sincere as it gets.

The hit single was released on Marley’s album Kaya, and then on his Legend compilation.

Covered by Corinne Bailey Rae, it is a throwback to when the only thing that mattered between a man and a woman was love.

» Mbongeni Ngema – Stimela saseZola
The playwright and singer endeared himself to domestic workers and mine workers when he imparted these gems in isiZulu.

The unexpectedly funny track had lines like “you’re my Kentucky bone”, “my train to Zola” and “my coal stove”, which became widely used pick-up lines ekasi.

» Robbie Malinga and Kelly Khumalo – Sobabili
Khumalo’s voice soared to new heights in this modern ballad with Malinga. Malinga is not the best singer, but sure knows how to pen a worthy love song.

» Ntando – Dali Wami
This was the traditional wedding anthem a few years ago, and made a lot of young girls scream themselves hoarse for this dreadlocked crooner.
Ntando sang each word like he was proposing marriage. Sigh.

» I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing – Aerosmith

The big ballad song by American Idols judge Steve Tyler and his band was the title sequence for the movie Armageddon starring his daughter Liv.

The song was nominated for an Oscar and reached No?1 on the Billboard charts globally.

» Loyiso Bala – Dali Wami
Bala has had a string of romantic songs since he started his solo career.

However, none has the crossover appeal like this one, where he ­professes his unconditional love to his girl in a mix of isiXhosa and English.

» Endless Love – Lionel Ritchie and Diana Ross
Only in the 1980s was it okay to declare to your lover “I’ll be a fool for you”.

This song featured one of the biggest divas in music and has since been covered by other divas, including Mariah Carey.

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