What is it the first thing that grabs you about a musical? Is it the storyline? The actors? The authors and composers?
For me, it is the music. If I love the music–chances are I will love the musical.
Last year at this time I wrote about the top ten love stories for the stage. You can read about it here: https://fromthewings.org/2019/02/13/my-top-ten-love-stories-for-the-stage/
This time let’s look a little deeper and discover the top love songs. Music. It speaks of love. It communicates and it might even tug at your heart and at times make you cry.
10. Helpless (Hamilton)
I didn’t know what to expect when I first saw Hamilton. I thought it was entirely rap music and I didn’t know if I would understand it or even like it. Boy! was I surprised. I loved the story. I could understand far more than I thought I would be able to. And I was entranced by the love story and brought to tears by the same story. Don’t we all feel Helpless and weak in the knees when we meet the “one”? Listen, to the love story begin.
9. All I Ask of You (The Phantom of the Opera)
I will be the first to admit that I am not a huge Phantom fan. I have seen it three times and each time I liked it less. But this hauntingly beautiful song is something that declares our innermost desires to the ones we love.
Let me be your freedom,
“Let daylight dry your tears;
I’m here, with you, beside you,
To guard you and to guide you.
Say you love me every waking moment,
Turn my head with talk of summertime.
Say you need me with you now and always;
Promise me that all you say is true,
That’s all I ask of you.”
It continues, “Let me be your shelter, your freedom..” In other words, everything you need.
Yes, my love, please be my everything. (and if the lyrics weren’t enough to get you–the vocals and orchestra…perfection.)
8. A Whole New World (Aladdin)
In this musical Aladdin (with the help of his Genie) rescues Princess Jasmine from danger from the evil Jafar. To our eyes he is common and should never be allowed to marry royalty, but that’s not the way true love works is it? Especially not in fairy tales. And in our favorite ones good always triumphs over evil. In this song, Aladdin “opens” Jasmine’s eyes to life outside the kingdom and together they sing the song that we all know means that lovers feel an out-of-this world experience when they fall in love. The new world gives them a chance to escape reality together…..something we always want to do with the one we love.
7. I Can Hear the Bells (Hairspray)
The heroic Tracy Turnblad fantasizes about her perfect marriage to the gorgeous Link Larkin – every schoolgirls’ biggest fantasy. There is something in pop musicals that captures that feeling of longing. Maybe it’s because we listen to that music as we are growing up and feeling all the things we feel as we are finding out who we are and what the real world is all about. There were plenty of times when I was growing up that I fantasied that the boy I “loved” would love me back, that we would be married and live happily ever after. And it all starts with “he touched me” or “bumped me” or “looked at me.” Yep, this song tells it all.
6. Can You Feel the Love Tonight ( The Lion King)
This song is a beautiful arrangement of the beginning of love. There is nervousness, doubt, insecurity, sadness as friends realize that love will take their friend from them. It starts tender, but as the song progresses the music builds with energy and orchestration– the way love should grow.
“Can you feel the love tonight?
The peace the evening brings
The world, for once, in perfect harmony
With all its living things.”
That’s the way true love should make you feel.
5. If Ever I Would Leave You (Camelot)
I would LOVE to do this musical, but feel that there is no way to make it “fit. ” Camelot is supposed to be the perfect place to live. It never rained until after sundown. It must not be too hot. The fog must go away by 8 in the morning…you get the idea. Ah! the fantasy and romance of it all.
There is a beautiful love story between King Arthur and Guinevere until Lancelot takes his place at the round table. He falls in love with Guinevere and shortly after she falls in love with him in return. Lancelot realizes he must leave Camelot, but he can’t imagine life without her.
4. Somewhere (West Side Story)
Set in a time of tragedy and conflict these two star-crossed lovers fall in love. Surrounded by heartache, after her true love kills her brother she begins to feel that their future is hopeless. In this song they daydream of a place-a time-where race and families won’t divide them. You can hear the pain in their voices as they sing of a perfect place. It’s an oldie but goodie.
“Some day, Somewhere. We’ll find a new way of living.
We’ll find a way of forgiving.
Hold my hand and we’re half way there.
Hold my hand and I’ll take you there.”
3. On My Own (Les Misérables)
Eponine wanders the streets imaging the life that could have been, if only her beloved Marius hadn’t fallen in love with someone else. I have had my share of unrequited loves in my life and I guess I love this tragically beautiful song because it speaks so honestly of how love is in our own minds, but how painful it is when reality hits and you are standing….on your own….alone.
2. As Long As You’re Mine (Wicked)
My favorite musical ever is Wicked. I’ve seen it 8 times and can’t wait to get the chance to see it again. There is a moment that is almost heart stopping for me. Hiding in the woods from those who pursue them, Elphaba and Fiyero finally succumb to their mutual attraction, which has been building since the first time they met. Chemistry at it’s finest.
Aren’t these beautiful?
“And just for this moment
As long as you’re mine
I’ve lost all resistance
And crossed some border line
And if it turns out
It’s over too fast
I’ll make every last moment last
As long as you’re mine.”
Making each moment last is what it is all about!
1. Can’t Help Loving That Man of Mine (ShowBoat)
Since this is the musical that made me fall in love with theater it just makes sense that I should have my top love song be from this musical. This is a classic and second only to “Old Man River” from the same musical.
Julie sings this song in an attempt to explain why she continues to love her man even though he comes home late and leaves home unexplained yet she adores him. He might be lazy or slow, but she loves him.
Don’t we all wish we could love and be loved exactly the same way? At least in our dreams.
For this Valentine’s Day, why not listen to some of these amazing songs. Or maybe even have a weekend of musical watching!
What are some of your favorites love songs from musicals?
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Until next time, this is just me, talking to you, from the wings!