Saturday, March 31, 2012

Songs of Faith and Devotion (No, Not the Depeche Mode Album!)

Part 1 (of 3). "Count on Me" Jefferson Starship

Have you ever really loved a woman (or man)? Enough to write -- or sing -- lines like this?

"Emerald eyes and china perfume
Caught in the wheel and lost in
The feel of a love so soon
Ruby lips
You make my song
Into the night and saved by the lite
Of a love so strong"

Cats have nine lives to live. Most rock & roll bands have but one. Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship/Starship had three, and enjoyed notable success in each one. Alas, some were better lived than others. Jefferson Airplane would have been indispensable if it had never recorded anything other than "White Rabbit," while Starship, which crash landed creatively while soaring commercially with three No. 1 singles ("We Built This City," "Sara" and "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now"), was little more than a late-'80s cash cow.

But it's Jefferson Starship that will forever have a special place in my heart, mostly because of one incredible love song that I can still remember hearing on the radio every day when I was 8 years old. As hymns to everlasting love go, they don't get more beautiful than "Count on Me," which was deservedly a Top 10 hit (No. 8) in 1978.

I'm not sure why Wikipedia devotes an entire page to Whitney Houston and CeCe Winans' "Count on Me," also a No. 8 hit almost exactly 18 years later, and like-titled singles by the Statler Brothers and Bruno Mars, and not Jefferson Starship's, but what does Wikipedia know? (Don't answer that!)

Thankfully, "Count on Me" gets its full due on YouTube, where I found a live acoustic version from the 1970s that I never knew existed.

Part 2. "How Much I Feel" Ambrosia

Yes, this 1978 No. 3 hit is a little over the top, both lyrically and vocally, but then, so is love. (Note: After pressing play below, please wait 31 seconds for the song to begin.)

Part 3. "Hello Love" Hank Snow

The thing I love most about this 1974 single, which at the time made Snow, then 59, the oldest person ever to have a No. 1 country single, is that he could be singing to a lower-case-l "love" (as in, "hello, darling"), a capital-L "Love" (as in, who knew I'd ever fall like this again?), or both. In either case, he had me at "hello," love.

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