I've always been a hopeless romantic in just about every way except when it comes to music. Sure, there are some great love songs out there, but for every great one (like John Lennon's "Woman," Elton John's "Your Song," and The Beatles' "Something"), there are 10 horrid examples of an amorous mood set to music (Amy Grant's "Baby Baby," Rupert Holmes' "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)," Celine Dion's entire catalog). Even with my reverence for just about everything musical, I often use the slow romantic song of a concert set to go get another beer. I know, all of you ladies out there are probably saying, "How can I find myself a man like this? Is this guy single?"
That is what you're saying, right?
Anyone still there?
Seriously, just in case anyone was wondering, I'm spoken for. My heart belongs to a great little woman from L.A. (that'd be Lower Awendaw), and she was a music major in college at one time to boot.
That little tidbit brings me to the, er, heart of the matter on this Valentine's Day. While I'm really not the romantic music type, it's not allowed me to escape the phenomenon among couples, best known as "our song." You know, as in "Oooh! That's our song playing on the radio!" which is inevitably followed by kissing and hugging and pinches on the butt (hey, you have your moves, and I have mine).
I remember the first time I heard the song that would eventually become "our song." It was 1991, and I was deployed with my army unit in Saudi Arabia as part of Operation Desert Storm. Things were winding down, and one day I got a care package from my then girlfriend (spoiler alert: she's now my wife). In the package, along with various edibles, was that tried-and-true romantic standby of the latter part of the 20th century; the mix tape. You remember those, right? In the days before iTunes playlists and MP3 players, one would painstakingly record a long list of songs on a cassette tape, with the intent of A) if you were me, dazzling your potential mate with your deep and varied tastes in music, or B) just provide your girlfriend or boyfriend with something to pass the time if they happen to be stuck in, oh, I don't know, perhaps a place as miserable as the Saudi Arabian desert.
So I start listening to the tape and I'm enjoying it, because let's face it, my future wife rocked even back then. Then a song came on that made me stop what I was doing and just listen. "My god," I thought, "this is the most romantic song ever." To be fair, I'd been on a work detail in the hot May Saudi sun, a sun so hot even at that time of the year that when I sat outside in a pair of gym shorts doing my laundry in a washtub, I got a horrific sunburn on the tops of my legs that later blistered, so perhaps I had a touch of heat stroke. However, at that moment, this particular song was just what I needed.
What song was it? What righteous tune made the rest of the world melt away?
It was a little ditty called "Groovy Kind of Love."
Hey, stop laughing.
I'm sure you have your silly little love song that floats the collective boats of you and your significant other. That one's ours. Oh, and the version included on said mix tape was the Phil Collins cover from the soundtrack to the film Buster, not the original version by the Mindbenders.
Is "Groovy Lind of Love" the greatest love song ever written? Nope, far from it as a matter of fact. That doesn't change the fact though that every time I hear it (and these days I'll take that Mindbenders version any day), I am transported back to that day in Saudi, when that mix tape so lovingly compiled by the woman I loved who was thousands of miles away was the next best thing to being right next to her. We danced to it at our wedding more than a decade and a half ago, and we still smile at each other on those rare occasions when it comes on the radio, as if we're sharing some deep secret.
No secret here; I love that woman, and I'm the luckiest man in the world to have her as my wife. Happy Valentine's Day, Margaret. I love you. I'm still going to get a beer though during the slow song at a show... unless of course the band chooses to cover "Groovy Kind of Love."