February 14, Valentine’s Day, originated as a Christian feast day honoring one or two early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine.  Through later folk traditions, the day has become a significant cultural, religious, and commercial celebration of romance and love.

In popular movies, there are a variety of presentations of romance and love.

In the film “Yesterday”:

Meg Ryan made much of her career in romantic role, including opposite Anthony Edwards in “Top Gun,” her eventual husband Dennis Quaid in “DOA,” Val Kilmer in “The Doors,” Nicholas Cage in “City Of Angels,” Hugh Jackman in “Kate & Leopold,” but is perhaps most remembered for her romances opposite Tom Hanks, in “Joe Vs. The Volcano,” “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail”:

And two of the most famous rom-com lines in history, “You complete me” and “You had me at hello” come from “Jerry Maguire”:

The chemistry and romantic tension between Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence is undeniable in “Silver Linings Playbook”:

And in “While You Were Sleeping” Bill Pullman finally gives his love Sandra Bullock the world, or at least Florence:

In movies it doesn’t get much more romantic than Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart in “Sabrina”:

And who could forget the Bogey as the uncaring Rick who sticks his neck out for nobody, yet is noble and selfless in the end for his lost love Ilsa in one of the most famous endings of a movie, one of my all-time favorite movies, “Casablanca”:

And this tribute to Audrey Hepburn, set to “Unforgettable” is, well, unforgettable:

Romance and love are more than just a feeling.  They are an action.  And while love and romance can be a candle-lit dinner with wine and roses or a hand-in-hand walk in the moonlight, they can and must be so much more. 

In a scene in the movie “Phenomenon,” Doc states George still has his love at his side because he bought her chairs.  Love is finding out what her “chairs” are and making sure she has them.

Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of sharing many special moments with my wife.  While I’ve not always gotten it right, and there are always bumpy roads along the way, the importance is to try to stay true to the purpose of the journey, to be there, to care, to love.

It started with flowers before a movie for our first date – perhaps a bit too desperate, but what did I know?  Unfortunately, I then made the further mistake of setting the bar way to high with our engagement, proposing to her in Paris after a romantic dinner on the Champs Elysees, including roses from a gypsy, then a cruise down the Seine, getting down on one knee in front of the Eifel Tower under the light of a full moon.  It was all downhill from there!!!  What was I thinking?

But we have had many more moments of romance and love, if not quite as dramatic, equally important.  Walks on the beach in Bermuda, or along the canals of Venice, or in the mountains of Switzerland, or the cobblestone streets of Assisi, or the cliffs of the Amalfi coast. 

Sipping wine and enjoying caprese salad with fresh mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, basil, and balsamic at the foot of Mt. Vesuvius.  Or riding a chairlift and skiing down a slope together, or ice skating and sipping cocoa on the Victorian ponds of Nestlenook, in Jackson, NH. Enjoying the mist of the waterfall in Johnsonville wearing our wedding attire best, or the mist at Niagara Falls, or at Dunn’s River Falls, Jamaica.  Or the sheer joy and tears watching “Miss Saigon” in London, or “Les Mis.” “Phantom,” “RENT,” “Lion King,” “Aida,” “Wicked,” “Hamilton,” and so many others.  Or enjoying the sights, sounds, shows, rides, and fun of Disney Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom.  Finding my wife’s “chairs.”  Or looking across from the choir, where I was singing at Christmas mass, seeing sitting next to my mom my beautiful wife, glowing, radiant, still taking my breath away, realizing the gifts she has given me over the years in the birth of my three children.  All love.  All romance.  All among what brings life value and meaning.

Over the years I made many mixed cassette tapes, and eventually CDs for my wife, starting when we were dating.  They were a way for me to express my love when words just weren’t enough.

Back in the day it was much harder to do so, needing to mix songs from albums, 45s and cassettes coherently on a cassette tape.  The advent of music streaming and iTunes made it easier, but you still had to own or purchase the music.  Now with music streaming services, the options are endless.  So this week’s playlists are my ultimate playlists for romance, love, and lost love.

To me, romance in music is more a feeling and mood that the sound and lyrics create, more than just a beautiful love song.  So I’ve created 3 playlists – one for romance, “Isn’t It Romantic,” one for love songs, “We Are In Love”, and one for lost love, “Lost Without Your Love,” for those of us who like to wallow in despair over love, those of us alone on Valentine’s day, those who have loved and lost.

This deleted scene from the film “Yesterday”, demonstrates the power of a song to cut to the heart:

So on to the playlists.  Play them when you’re with the one you love, or when you’re missing the one you love, to create a mood, and to bring back memories, and rekindle those feelings that led you to fall in love.  Among my favorite artists, with voices that exude romance, are Van Morrison, Lionel Richie, Otis Redding, Nat King Cole, Linda Ronstadt, Sade, Celine Dion, Nora Jones, and Diana Krall.  They could make singing the phone book romantic.

To get a sense of what I’m talking about with romance, here are two videos/songs that demonstrate the mood and feeling that such songs can create. I actually forgot to include them in the initial release of this blog. For those joining late or revisiting, I’m sure you’ll enjoy them:

And while you can’t get much more romantic than Carlos Santana and India Arie, this next song by Calum Scott and Leona Lewis comes close.

Starting off is “Isn’t It Romantic,” a playlist full of songs that create a romantic mood just from their feel and sound, as well as their lyrics.  If you’re trying to rekindle romance in your relationship, this is the list to turn to.  Songs ranging from Van Morrison’s “Moondance,” “Into The Mystic,” and “Someone Like You,” to Billy Joel’s “You’re My Home,” Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide,” Cat Stevens “How Can I Tell You,” Lionel Richie’s “Truly,” Sade’s “The Sweetest Taboo,” Celine Dion’s “The Power Of Love,” Otis Redding’s “Try A Little Tenderness,” Dooley Wilson’s “As Time Goes By,” Nat King Cole’s “Mona Lisa,” Diana Krall’s “Isn’t It Romantic,” John Legend’s “All Of Me,” so many songs just oozing romance.

The second list “We Are In Love” is comprised of songs of love, though not necessarily romantic in mood and sound.  Some greats include James Taylor’s “Something In The Way She Moves, Eric Clapton’s “Anything For Your Love,” Billy Joel’s or Bruno Mars’ “Just The Way You Are,” Elvis’ “Love Me Tender,” Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes’ “Up Where We Belong,” Jim Croce’s “Time In A Bottle,” Dan Fogelberg’s “Longer,” Jorney’s “Open Arms” and “Faithfully” among others.

The last melancholy list, though with many beautiful songs, is “Lost Without Your Love.”  Spoiler alert – don’t watch the next video if you haven’t seen the new version of “A Star Is Born” with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.  Do yourself a favor, and go see it.  And bring a box of tissues…

Some songs may not outwardly sound as though they relate to lost love, such as the Eagles “Best Of My Love, Bob Seger’s “We’ve Got Tonight,” Lenny Welch’s “Since I Fell For You,” Poco’s “Crazy Love” Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” Sade’s “Smooth Operator,” Adele’s “Someone Like You,” or Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.”

These playlists get to the heart of the matter in romance and love.  May they bring, warm, fond, loving memories of wonderful moments with the love of your life.

I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew.  Rediscover the passion of music in your life.

Live in the moment.

Enjoy the moment.

Love the moment.

Listen to the MUSIC!