by Thomas Giger of www.radioiloveit.com
As you prepare your playlist for February, 14th, here are 14 Valentine’s Day songs (and a Valentine’s Day Top 140) that your audience might love to hear.
‘PLAY THAT SONG’ ON VALENTINE’S DAY
14. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN – VALENTINE’S DAY
Being last on the track list of Bruce Springsteen’s eighth studio album Tunnel Of Love, Valentine’s Day is a more obscure song from The Boss, who recorded most of this 1987 album without his E Street Band. Popular culture magazine Rolling Stone ranked Tunnel Of Love #25 on their list of 100 Best Albums of the Eighties. Even though the only lines referring to the song’s title are “So hold me close honey say you’re forever mine… and tell me you’ll be my lonely valentine” at the very end of the song, we think Valentine’s Day is worthwhile to play on the 14th of February.
13. ELTON JOHN – NO VALENTINES
Created specifically for Elton John’s (1996 North-American version of the) album Love Songs, No Valentines is a ‘once-in-a-year’ radio track, but a pretty nice one. The compilation includes many hit songs that could be scheduled on Valentine’s Day as well, including Can You Feel The Love Tonight, Your Song and Blue Eyes, and Candle In The Wind, True Love and Nikitaon the 1995 European release. No Valentines, written by Elton John and his lifelong musical partner Bernie Taupin, might be a nice addition to your radio station’s Valentine’s Day music playlist.
12. TRAIN – VALENTINE
“I’m never gonna say goodbye, cause, baby, you’re my valentine”. Maybe not as poetic as Bernie Taupin’s masterpieces for Elton John, but good enough for a nice Valentine’s Day song. We’re talking about Valentine from Train’s tenth studio album A Girl, A Bottle, A Boat, released in 2017 with Play That Song as lead single — another Top 10 smash for the pop & rock band that acquired a star status with Drops Of Jupiter and Hey, Soul Sister. Our advice about Valentine, co-written by lead singer Patrick Monahan, is: ‘play that song’ on Valentine’s Day.
A GREAT EXAMPLE OF A WEB-BORN ARTIST
11. THE DREAM ACADEMY – ST. VALENTINE’S DAY
This British band is one of the less-known performers in this list, but we believe they belong in here because of the beautiful ‘dreamy’ sounds of St. Valentine’s Day. It’s a track from their third and final album A Different Kind Of Weather,produced by Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour and released in 1990. He also co-produced the band’s debut album in ’85 of which the single Life In A Northern Town reached a #15 chart position in the UK, and #7 in the US. A Different Kind Of Weather also includes a cover of Love, which was written (and first released in 1970) by John Lennon.
10. NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK – VALENTINE GIRL
If you were born somehere in between the late 1970s and early ’80s, you know what ‘NKOTB’ stands for. Beginning their career with modest success, the American boy band had an incredible rise to fame during the late 1980s and early ‘90s with world hits like You Got It (The Right Stuff), I’ll Be Loving You (Forever), and, of course… Step By Step. The B-side of the American version of that 1990 best selling single was Valentine Girl. Especially if females 35-49 are part of your target demo, consider adding this New Kids track to your Valentine’s Day playlist.
9. KINA GRANNIS – VALENTINE
American singer-songwriter and YouTube star Kina Kasuya Grannis is a great example of a web-born artist. After creating a YouTube account in November 2007, where she posted her own songs and videos, ‘100 million’ television viewers saw her perform her self-written song Message From Your Heart after she won Dorito’s Crash The Super Bowl contest of 2008, which included a record label deal as well. Her 2010 album Stairwells mainly consisted of her songs that were earlier released on her YouTube channel, one of them being Valentine.
STRONGLY INFLUENCED BY THE MOTOWN SOUND
8. WILLIE NELSON – VALENTINE
One of the most renown people in country music — with 25 number one hits in music charts — is Willie Nelson, who began his music career back in 1956. International hits include a cover of Always On My Mind, previously a huge success for Elvis Presley, and his duet with Spanish singer Julio Iglesias, To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before. From his 44th, 1993 album Across The Borderline, with songs written by himself and by Ry Cooder, Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel, John Hiatt, Lyle Lovett and Paul Simon, originates the beautiful country ballad Valentine.
7. NILS LOFGREN – VALENTINE
As you can see in this list of Valentine’s Day songs, there are quite some songs named Valentine. Another one is from the hand of singer-songwriter Nils Lofgren, a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band who got The Boss to appear on the recording (for additional vocals) as well as in its music video. Released in 1991, Valentine was featured on Lofgren’s album Silver Lining. The American musician, who is also known for his 1979 single Shine Silently, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the E Street Band in 2014.
6. SOLANGE – VALENTINE’S DAY
Solange Knowles, younger sister of Beyoncé Knowles, released her first album Solo Star in 2002, when she was 16. She acted in movies and wrote music for both her sister and for other ex-Destiny’s Child group members Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, before working on her second album Sol-Angel And The Hadley St. Dreams that came out in 2008. It was strongly influenced by the Motown girl group sound from the 1960s and ‘70s, and became a Top 10 hit in the Billboard 200 chart. One of the songs on that album is the upbeat & soulful Valentine’s Day.
A MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR TO ‘NEW JACK SWING’
5. PAUL MCCARTNEY – MY VALENTINE
Sir James Paul McCartney has written countless of world hits — it’s said that more than 2,200 artists have covered his Beatles song Yesterday alone. But his 15th solo studio album Kisses On The Bottom includes just two compositions by his hand, one of them being My Valentine, featuring Eric Clapton on guitar. The other tracks are covers of traditional pop and jazz songs, two music styles of which My Valentine seems to be a nice combination. The 2012 album got to #5 on the US Billboard 200, and to #3 on the UK Albums Chart.
4. JAMES TAYLOR – VALENTINE’S DAY
Another ‘February, 14th’ themed song was released by James Taylor in 1988 on this twelfth studio album, Never Die Young. The title track ended up becoming the only single, getting only as far as #80 on the Billboard Hot 100, while the album, which includes Valentine’s Day, reached #25 on the Billboard 200. The five-time Grammy Award winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee has sold 100 million records worldwide, from self-written songs like his breakthrough single Fire and Rain to magnificent covers, like his version of Carole King’s You’ve Got A Friend.
3. KEITH SWEAT – MY VALENTINE
I Want Her, Make You Sweat, I’ll Give All My Love To You, Keep It Comin, Twisted and Nobody. Those were all #1 songs on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for Keith Seat, who is seen as a major contributor to the ‘new jack swing’ genre. My Valentine is part of his eleventh album ‘Til the Morning from 2011, and features vocals by Cheryl ‘Coko’ Clemons, lead singer of the American R&B vocal trio Sisters With Voices. SWV became famous in 1992 with Teddy Riley’s remix of Right Here, based on a sample from Michael Jackson’s ’83 hit single Human Nature.
THE MOST FAMOUS VALENTINE’S DAY SONG
2. JIM BRICKMAN FT. MARTINA MCBRIDE – VALENTINE
When you’re looking to play feel good Valentine’s Day music, consider this song, co-written and performed by Jim Brickman on piano with Martina McBride as vocalist. Valentine was released in 1997, first on Brickman’s album Picture This, and then on McBride’s album Evolution. The ballad got halfway through Billboard’s Hot 100, but hit #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart. It was also a very successful time for McBride as a solo artist, thanks to huge Country chart hits with A Broken Wing (’97), Happy Girl (’98), and Wrong Again and Whatever You Say (‘99).
1. CHAKA KHAN – MY FUNNY VALENTINE
The most famous Valentine’s Day song in the world is probably the theme of Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart’s musical Babes in Arms from 1937. Over 600 covers and over 1,200 album features make My Funny Valentine a real jazz standard. Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald are among the artists who have covered it. We think that Chaka Khan’s interpretation is one of the best modern variants. The Queen of Funk released her version in 1996 on the soundtrack album of the movie Waiting To Exhale to which Whitney Houston contributed both as an actress and singer.
MORE VALENTINE’S DAY SONGS
There are more songs related to ‘February, 14th’ than the above — from T’pau’s Valentine and John Waite’s Valentine to Steve Earle’s Valentine’s Day and Tim Buckley’s Valentine Melody. More alternative sounding are Valentine’s Day by David Bowie, Valentine’s Day by Linkin Park and Secret Valentine by We The Kings. These progressive tracks are not included in the list above as it’s a Top 14 of Valentine’s Day songs for mainstream formats, but they might be suitable for certain music format. And now… here’s something you might enjoy as well:
ESPECIALLY SUITABLE FOR AC FORMATS
VALENTINE’S DAY TOP 140
If you’re planning to schedule a Valentine’s Day music special, here’s a list of 140 popular love songs (including the above 14 songs talking about Valentine’s Day) which you could use as a basis for your music playlist or music countdown. Our Top 140 includes current & recurrents, as well as many classics, and it’s based on a male/female voice balance and (as far as possibile within the love song category) also tempo, energy & genre variety. It might be especially suitable for AC formats. I hope you’ll find nice ideas for your Valentine’s Day music scheduling here, and I wish you a Lovely Day :-).
Thomas Giger is a European radio broadcasting specialist and publisher of Radio))) ILOVEIT, based in the Netherlands, and serving the radio industry worldwide.