Best Song


I was visiting poetikat and she had this innocent looking little meme. Just 7 simple questions and she asked her readers to leave their answers in the comments. Being a simple minded squirrel, I readily followed the instructions. Imagine me typing away on the keyboard to obey poetikat’s request, all the while singing a little “tra-la-la-la-la-la” tune from the Smurfs and you should get a sense of the emptiness of my head at that time.

Question 1: Name? Boy, that was easy. A no brainer.

Question2 : Age? That was a bit harder. Involved some mathematics but I am good at maths from counting nuts in my larder. A bit harder on the old noggin, was the debate about whether to tell the truth.

Question 3: Favorite book? Poem? Song? Oh, boy. Gears in brain begin to grind and make awful noises. Book? Can’t even remember what books I read last year. Poem? Isn’t it good enough that I read poetry once in a blue moon? But to expect me to remember the title and the poet’s name, is quite unreasonable. Song? Well, maybe that is more manageable. After all I have all these “tra-la-la-la-la-la” tunes in my head. What is my favorite song?

As it happens, it was not such an easy choice. I mean I love music and there are so many songs that I like. My IPod is full of songs. How do I choose my favorite…….the best. I had to think and think and think and I think I sprained a muscle in the brain.

Finally though, I settled on this song which was written by Allen Shamblin and Mike Reid and was first sung by Bonnie Raitt in 1991. It was a big hit for Bonnie, making it into the Top 20 in the U.S. Pop Charts and Top 10 in the Adult Contemporary Chart. She was asked to perform this song in the 1992 Grammy Awards. The song is ” I can’t make you love me”.

Why did I choose this song? I thought that the words and song were quite unique. It is not about candy canes and rainbows or sloppy sugary romance. It was about the painful, raw and lonely emotions of unrequited love. Yet it was not a blues song which almost elevates suffering on a podium and in doing so trivialises it. This song stands tall by being just very simple and honest. Sad but real. The pain is so strong but life goes on.

In the video below, Bonnie is accompanied by Bruce Hornsby on keyboards.

After I made the choice, I did some web surfing to learn more about the song and found to my surprise that others thought highly of this song too. In an interview, Phil Collins names this as the song that he would have wished that he had written. In 2000, the MOJO magazine invited top songwriters to choose songs along the same criteria and compiled the top 100 songs as chosen by songwriters. “I can’t make you love me” came in at number 8. I feel that I have made a good choice.

Here are the top twenty songs. I wonder what is your favorite song and if you agree with the songwriters’ choice.

1. In My Life – The Beatles
2. Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones
3. Over The Rainbow – Judy Garland
4. Here There And Everywhere – The Beatles
5. Tracks Of My Tears – The Miracles
6. The Times They Are A Changin’ -Bob Dylan
7. Strange Fruit – Billie Holiday
8. I Can’t Make You Love Me – Bonnie Raitt
9. People Get Ready – The Impressions
10. You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling – The Righteous Brothers
11. Yesterday – The Beatles
12. I Say A Little Prayer – Dionne Warwick
13. God Only Knows – Beach Boys
14. Something – The Beatles;
15. Every Time We Say Goodbye – Nan Wyn; Ella Fitzgerald
16. Fire And Rain – James Taylor; The Isley Brothers
17. Moon River – Andy Williams (Henry Mancini)
18. Stand By Me – Ben E King
19. Eleanor Rigby – The Beatles
20. Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers

So, whatcha think?

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