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Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Songs For The Lovelorn On Valentine’s Day

Cee Lo Green performs at the pre-Grammy gala in Beverly Hills, Calif. His song "Forget You" won a Grammy on Sunday, and is on Here and Now pop culture critic Rene Graham's list of music for the lovelorn. (AP)

Cee Lo Green performs at the pre-Grammy gala in Beverly Hills, Calif. His song "Forget You" won a Grammy on Sunday, and is on Here and Now pop culture critic Rene Graham's list of music for the lovelorn. (AP)

Yes, it’s nice to hear romantic songs on Valentine’s Day. But what if your love life isn’t going so well? Here and Now pop culture critic Renee Graham shares her play list of songs featuring love gone wrong, including selections by Cee Lo Green, Ray Charles, The Smiths and Billy Holiday. Share your dystopian love song below.

Renee Graham’s Playlist for the Lovelorn


  • Cee Lo Green, “Forget You”
  • Ray Charles, “You Don’t Know Me”
  • The Smiths, “How Soon is Now”
  • The Temptations, “Just My Imagination”
  • Angela Bofill, “I Try”
  • Deniece Williams, “Silly”
  • B.B. King, “The Thrill Is Gone”
  • Adele, “Rolling In The Deep”


  • Marvin Gaye, Here My Dear
  • Frank Sinatra, In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning
  • Billie Holiday, Lady In Satin

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  • Amy

    How about “Band of Gold”?

  • Roger Cuevas

    People usually don’t think of Dylan as a writer of love songs, although most his songs are just that. “It Ain’t Me Babe”, “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright”, and “Positively Fourth Street” are three of those most acid love songs you’re likely to hear.

  • Dan Berman

    Best break up song: Don’t change your plans by Ben Folds Five

  • Douglas C

    Love Will Tear Us Apart- Joy Division

    definitely a heartbreaking one

  • Phil Brett

    I just finished my anti-Valentine mix. Included are “Love Stinks” from the Wedding Singer and from J. Geils. Also from J. Geils, “Musta Got Lost”. From the Street, “Dry your Eyes Mate”. From Sinead O’Conner, “Nothing Compares to you”, Bob Dylan’s “Don’t think twice”, From the Wedding Singer again “Just Shoot Me”, Puddle of Mud, “She f*ing hates me” and a host of others. I’ll send a copy if you want.

  • Phil Brett

    Oh, and the Louie Armstrong version of “Making Whoopie”.

  • dave a

    Elliott Smith
    Somebody That I Used to Know

  • sandy

    “What’ll I Do” Irving Berlin

  • PerryB

    “So You say” by Manhattan Transfer THE flippin torch song

  • Lewis_02116

    Two great songs about unrequited love: the Doubie Brothers’ “What a Fool Believes.” and Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game”.

  • Roman

    How about “Since I fell For You” by Lenny Welch. Rhat one helped me over many a rocky road.

  • Steve from Boston

    Comment – Love Songs For The Lovelorn On Valentine’s Day
    Your guest who, unfortunately featured the music i need today, missed MY song for V.Day: ‘Lush Life’ John Coltrane Johnny Hartman.

  • Private Sector Frog

    IMHO the 70′s was the best for sad love songs. Lots to choose from…”Aubrey” or “Diary” by Bread…Gilbert O’sullivan “Alone again Naturally”…but my choice for the saddest has got to be Janice Ian “At Seventeen” (1975)


  • TRose
  • patrick

    Patsy Cline Crazy
    Bob Dylan If You See Her, Say Hello

  • Mikdaviswr

    Crystal Castles feat. Robert Smith – I’m Not In Love
    The Replacements – Answering Machine

  • Trixie

    Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me”

  • radiodf

    Linda Ronstadt’s Long Long Time. :(

  • Jimmy

    Killswitch Engage – Rose of Sharyn

    A song about a loved on lost in death.
    “What would i give, to behold
    The smile, the face of love?
    You never left me
    The rising sun
    Will always speak your name

    It won’t be long, we’ll meet again
    Your memory is never passing
    It won’t be long, we’ll meet again
    My love for you is everlasting.”

  • Noel from Ireland

    Eric Katz’s “Love Has No Pride; ” Richard Thompson’s “When the Spell is Broken,” “She Twists the Knife Again,” and dozens more from this English songwriter and master of romantic disaster.

  • Tom Foster

    The Byrds’ “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better.” Gene Clark wrote and sang one of the great kiss-off songs.

  • Nergalms

    You can’t forget “disintegration” from the cure. That entire album is enough to make you deny the existence of happiness itself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Sergeant/100000365457932 Mike Sergeant

    I will put in Dar Williams

  • Sally Ann Noonan

    Even the most tender, loving song can be sad if it is the one you shared with the one you have lost. My husband died two years ago, and “My Funny Valentine” is the saddest song in the world to me.


    P.S. I didn’t hear the whole show, so I don’t know if you talked about this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Sergeant/100000365457932 Mike Sergeant

    Under the “Lost Love” category, I will nominate Dar Williams’ “It Happens Every Day” from the Green World CD. She hits you from nowhere in the last line.

    For upbeat breakup songs, try The Paperboys (with Tom Landa) “Goodbye”, bluegrass break up song.

    Under one of the best songs, IMHO, for loss is The Paperboys, “Same for Everyone”. The verses are snapshots in time about events in people’s lives. No back story, just a description of the picture.

  • Rehman

    How can you forget “you’ve lost that love and feeling” by Righteous Brothers?!

  • Hwhite

    No one could ever listen to “I’m Gonna Be Strong” by Gene Pitney and not feel chills down their spine with the last towering note, or feel his pain at love lost.

  • Stephen

    John Conlee – I don’t remember loving you.

  • herjack

    The Spinners
    “Love Don’t Love Nobody”

  • Stephen

    John Conlee – Years after you; Rose colored glasses; Backside of thirty; Friday night blues.

  • Liveoutsideabox

    “Tracks of my Tears”, Smokey Robinson

    Outside I’m masquerading
    Inside my hope is fading
    Just a clown, oh yeah,
    Since you put me down
    My smile is my make up
    I wear since my break up with you..
    So take a good look at my face
    You’ll see my smile looks out of place
    If you look closer, it’s easy to trace
    The tracks of my tears

  • Eddywoods

    My Old Flame by Dinah Washington

  • Stephen

    …and for those who lost someone: John Conlee – Miss Emily’s Picture.

  • Rosyboarick

    Harry Nilsson
    1983, “You’re Breakin’ My Heart”

    …”you’re breakin my heart, you’re tearin it apart so #%@* you!”

    he gets right to the point

    • Rosyboarick

      ooops…1972 (not 1983)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/JP-Kaneshida/779967999 JP Kaneshida

    “The Tony Bennett & Bill Evans Album” – Not *only* for the lovelorn, this album stands as a triumph of artistic vision and execution. It’s such a pure work, right up there with “Sergeant Pepper”, “Electric Ladyland”, “Giant Steps”.

    While any number of songs from this album are shot through with melancholy and longing, the lead-off, “Young and Foolish” is a great place to start.

    The late, great Tony Williams once said this was a great album because it was so “musical.” I say it’s sublime.

    ps: Their follow up, “Together Again” is great too, but the first is the real deal.

  • jan

    “Crying” by Roy Orbison

  • Drew Blood

    Three songs that ‘do it to me’ on Valentines Day:
    These Eyes by The Guess Who,
    Especially For You by The Beautiful South and
    Caroline by the Outcast

  • mfd

    Frank Sinatra – No One Ever Tells You
    Anita Baker – The Wrong Man

  • Big-j-in-ak

    How could you miss mentioning two of the great dystopic love songs ever? Their titles alone shoot them to the top of the list: “Love and Happiness” by Al Green, and “For No One” by the Beatles. I hope your V-day is happier than theirs!

  • Big-j-in-ak

    How could you miss mentioning two of the great dystopic love songs ever? Their titles alone shoot them to the top of the list: “Love and Happiness” by Al Green, and “For No One” by the Beatles. I hope your V-day is happier than theirs!

  • mike

    the 1st 6 that came to my head:
    “chasing pavements” by adele
    “strange & beautiful (i’ll put a spell on you)” by aqualung
    “salmander” by the butchies
    “valentine” by martha’s trouble
    “misery by design” by the reputation
    “other side of the world” by kt tunstall

  • sittleberg

    nice selection of songs for the sad on Valentine’s Day but you missed a big one – Bonnie Raitt’s song, “I can’t make you love me.”

  • N_geesey

    Do you remember the song, Alone Again, Naturally? That is about the saddest lovelorn song I know!

  • megan

    What about “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”? Harold Melvin or Simply Red… both are great versions.

  • Pat

    I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor
    Tall in the Saddle by Joan Armatrading

  • randall

    “Happy” by the Wrens

  • Laura Cooper
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