The Chaz Valentine's Day Mix Tape

There's no reason on earth why you should take advice from me on a day like Valentine's Day — I know even less about love than Britney Spears knows about semiconductor physics — but I do have some small gift for song selection, at least when the selections come from the period when I actually paid attention to the pop charts. On the other hand, my sequencing tends toward the bizarre, so I have arranged these songs in strict chronological order. Do with them what you will. (Note: This list has been slightly expanded to bring it closer to filling up an 80-minute CD-R; all 27 tracks will run about 78 minutes total.)
Dream Lover
Bobby Darin
(Atco 6140, 1959)
His own words, and no doubt his own feelings on the matter: "I want a dream lover / So I don't have to dream alone."
For Eternity
Vickie Diaz
(Del-Fi 4149, 1960)
Perhaps my favorite doo-wop obscurity, this features a singer who later became slightly less obscure as Vic Diaz, a sprightly Southern California background, and a lyric that quietly insists on the inevitability of it all.
Will You Love Me Tomorrow?
The Shirelles
(Scepter 1211, 1961)
No other love song is as universal, or as frustrating; even today, we find ourselves asking, "Is this a lasting treasure / Or just a moment's pleasure?"
A Hundred Pounds of Clay
Gene McDaniels
(Liberty 55308, 1961)
In case you were wondering if prayers ever were answered.
Angel on My Shoulder
Shelby Flint
(Valiant 6001, 1961)
Surely, with all these things going for me, I'm bound to find someone.
Any Day Now
Chuck Jackson
(Wand 122, 1962)
What you think when you want it to last forever but you know it won't.
Let Me Go the Right Way
The Supremes
(Motown 1034, 1962)
From the girls' early days as the No-Hit Supremes, this rare Florence Ballard lead lays it on the line: "You're my life / I wanna be a wife."
Anna (Go to Him)
Arthur Alexander
(Dot 16387, 1962)
Aside from having taught John Lennon how to sing ballads, "Anna" serves as an object lesson in how to be dumped and still retain your dignity — though you'll still wonder, "Every girl I've ever had / Breaks my heart and leaves me sad / What am I, what am I supposed to do?"
Petula Clark
(Vogue [France] EP EPL-8000, 1962)
This gorgeous Paul Mauriat ballad, loosely translated into English, became "I Will Follow Him", a smash hit for Little Peggy March the next year, but this is the version to have: it's beautifully orchestrated, and Pet never sounded sexier.
There! I've Said It Again
Bobby Vinton
(Epic 9638, 1963)
What's this remake of a 1945 Vaughn Monroe (!) track doing here? It's blurting out what we long to say ourselves, but we dare not.
When You Walk in the Room
Jackie DeShannon
(Liberty 55645, 1964)
"I close my eyes for a second and pretend it's me you want / Meanwhile I try to act so nonchalant." Been there, done that, and so have you.
Rag Doll
The 4 Seasons
(Philips 40211, 1964)
Bob Gaudio, we are told, got the idea for this song from a New York street urchin washing windshields for tips; the line that matters is the very last one: "I love you just the way you are."
We'll Sing in the Sunshine
Gale Garnett
(RCA Victor 47-8388, 1964)
Supposedly Gale's parting gift to erstwhile boyfriend Hoyt Axton, this gentle ballad advances the radical notion of a one-night stand that lasts 365 days.
Selfish One
Jackie Ross
(Chess 1903, 1964)
Did you ever know someone who might be wonderfully kind and loving if somehow it were possible to break through that impenetrable shell?
Ask the Lonely
The Four Tops
(Motown 1073, 1965)
Much is made of how, in "Bernadette", Levi Stubbs and company explore the very frontiers of romantic desolation; this is here to remind you that they'd already been there, two years earlier, while the young and foolish laughed at love.
I'm Alive
The Hollies
(Imperial 66119, 1965)
All the best therapists will tell you that falling in love is not necessarily going to improve your life; here's evidence to the contrary.
Take Me for a Little While
Evie Sands
(Blue Cat 118, 1965)
What happens when the answer to "Will you love me tomorrow?" is not the answer you wanted to hear.
Past, Present and Future
The Shangri-Las
(Red Bird 10-068, 1966)
Possibly a sequel to "Remember (Walkin' in the Sand)", this spoken-word symphony sums itself up in its first paragraph: "Was I ever in love? I called it love. I mean, it felt like love. There were moments when — well, there were moments when."
God Only Knows
The Beach Boys
(Capitol 5706, 1966)
Carl Wilson's lead is both yearning and determined, a rare combination, and this track, sneaked out as the B-side of "Wouldn't It Be Nice", is for me the highlight of Pet Sounds.
The Association
(Valiant 747, 1966)
Any number of Association tracks could have fit here, but this is the one that had the right amount of letters, just the right sound.
Walk Away Renee
The Left Banke
(Smash 2041, 1966)
In the part of the textbook that explains the persistence of memory, this is Exhibit A.
La-La Means I Love You
The Delfonics
(Philly Groove 150, 1968)
The translation may not be exact, but the message is never, ever misunderstood.
Wichita Lineman
Glen Campbell
(Capitol 2302, 1969)
Love in the real world is a mixture of the magical and the mundane, and the two never intersected more beautifully than in this Jim Webb classic.
Hello It's Me
(SGC 001, 1970)
The high-water mark for romantic introspection; Todd Rundgren's solo remake four years later is more fun, but somehow this works better slow and plaintive.
Baby I'm-a Want You
(Elektra 45751, 1971)
Because love trumps grammar, every time.
It's One of Those Nights
The Partridge Family
(Bell 45160, 1972)
"Oh yeah? Who says so? / Well, of course not; on the other hand, I guess so." Yes, love, you know you did before.
I'd Love You to Want Me
(Big Tree 147, 1973)
For when you realize that there's such a thing as a prior commitment.

Posted 14 February 2004; updated 1 October 2005

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