Couples planning their wedding celebration spend a fair amount of time determining their first dance song. For some couples, it’s obvious. That special song was a part of their journey from the start of their relationship. For others, the song they select for their first dance becomes “their song.” So let’s look at the art of timeless love songs.

Ted Gioia is a music historian and author of “Love Songs: The Hidden History,” who says that:

“People are wrong to view these songs as mere entertainment or escapism. The purpose of a successful love song is to create love. The first love songs were part of fertility rites and they aimed at changing the world, not just describing it. When the Beatles sang ‘All You Need Is Love’ (below) or John Coltrane performed A Love Supreme, they wanted to transform the world in which they lived. And on a personal level, many of us would not be here today if our parents hadn’t heard a love song at the right time and place. Those love songs aren’t just life-changing, they are life-creating.”

Words and music must work together

Timeless love songs certainly need a good melody and great lyrics. Even more, the words and music have to work together as a unit to connect with the listener on a deep, emotional level. That emotional level may even be painful, as Grammy award-winner, Gillian Welch explains:

“A very important ingredient in a love song is pain. Because even when love is good and true, there’s part of it that’s painful.”

Take the last song written by legendary American composer, George Gershwin, “Our Love is Here to Stay,” as sung below by Tony Bennet and Diana Krall:

Gershwin died unexpectedly at the age of thirty-eight. His writing partner, Ira, added the text after his brother’s death with poignant lyrics that catapults the song into the status of a timeless love song still sung eight decades later:

“In time the Rockies may crumble, Gibraltar may tumble,

They’re only made of clay.

But … our love is here to stay.”

Longing is a common theme

You can see that longing is a common theme in a love song, and that longing can be a source of pain, as Taylor Swift conveys in her hit song, “You Belong With Me:”

“If you could see that I’m the one who understands you,

Been here all along, so why can’t you see,

You belong with me,

You belong with me.”

Timeless love songs are really simple

So what makes a love song great? Another Grammy-winning songwriter, Diane Warren, says it’s simple:

”What makes a love song great is what makes any song great — you have to feel it. The best love songs are something that someone hears and it instantly becomes theirs. Listeners might have their own unique experience of why a certain song means something to them, but if it’s meaningful enough it becomes a part of their own personal soundtrack. In a way, a love song is a canvas that you paint yourself onto, and when a truly great love song comes along, everybody feels they can paint themselves onto it. It becomes a part of everybody’s inner life.”

Timeless love songs transcend the artist

Take Gershwin’s “Our Love is Here to Stay” mentioned above. It has been covered by hundreds of artists. The beauty of using a professional wedding DJ like DJ Brian Anderson is I can play the version you like best. Maybe you’d prefer the way Harry Connick Jr. sings it:

And to make these timeless love songs even better, we’ll bathe your venue in breathtaking decor lighting to create the perfect mood at the right time.

As the historian above put it, timeless love songs create love. Once you exchange your vows, your celebration builds to a climax with your first dance as a couple. Let DJ Brian Anderson play your favorite love song. Check out our availability today.