Manual Love Songs from Heaven

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The city vibrated. Every block had a band, it seemed, and on summer nights young men harmonized under the streetlights. Mixed in with homegrown versions of hits by Ben E.

King and the Moonglows were original songs penned by the neighborhood tunesmith. Sunday morning you had to arrive early to get a seat at church. Overcome with the spirit, preachers resorted to singing their sermons.

RANKED: The 51 best love songs of all time

But there was a new sound. These were the s, and poverty, segregation, Vietnam, and nuclear gamesmanship convened in a funnel cloud that threatened to rip through the American fabric. The young women dazzled with a mix of soul and social graces, grace they maintained even when on Southern highways gunshots were directed at the Motown tour bus. The thought of white teenagers falling under the spell of black music mobilized the guardians of white culture.

Everyone knew the invisible perimeter that insulated white America would soon be irreparably breached.

The usual operatives took measures to thwart it. Music was on the front lines of the battle. In retrospect, the lastgasp efforts at interdiction seem comical. A now infamous poster that circulated throughout the South warned white parents not to allow their children to listen to Negro music, lest they end up with one on the dance floor or otherwise. The Motown Revue featured almost the entire roster of artists and a live stage band. The artists were confronted for the first time with overt segregation when the caravan rolled into Southern towns.

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Neighborhoods in Detroit were neatly divided along racial lines, but in the South the lines were often drawn with firearms. What was taken for granted in Northern cities could be a perilous undertaking in the South. Bobby Rogers of the Miracles recalls that a gas station owner confronted him with a gun after he used a white restroom. White and black teenagers were typically assigned to opposite sides of auditoriums in Southern venues. But on many occasions the police were powerless to enforce the separation as the teenagers, in their own version of a freedom march, just stepped to the beat.

But by the early s, families gathered on Sunday evenings to watch Ed Sullivan introduce the latest Motown sensation. Disc jockeys thought nothing of sandwiching a Rolling Stones track between hits by Martha and the Vandellas and the Four Tops. The seeds of this social revolution were scattered on the winds of radio and television airwaves. While activists preached and lawyers agitated, Motown crept into white homes, Southern and suburban, through Radio Free America.

Once the Marvin Gaye poster went up, there was no turning back. White girls swooned over Marvin as had their mothers for Frank Sinatra. Even in the heartland, white boys earnestly attempted Motown dance routines and, for a moment, imagined that they were black. The specter that this music might incite race mixing was rivaled only by the fear of images of black romance. The myth ran deep that among blacks love was characterized more by physical urges than by the complex universe of emotion that transcends motor response.

In the age before videotape, DVDs, and cable, most people, black and white, had never seen affection expressed between blacks in film or on television. While major studios ignored black love affairs, the Motown songwriters understood the poetry of Everyman.

Love songs from Heaven Lyrics Various Artists ※

Close observers watched the parade of odd-shaped instrument cases that concealed everything from bongos to bassoons and the procession of young men with skinny ties,cropped hair, and satchels stuffed with staff paper. They were the ones who knew the secret language of song. It was a production line but one that dispensed magic. The songwriters, invisible architects of the Motown sound, assembled the substance of everyday into songs that were at once sophisticated and earthy, personal and universal. In many ways, it was the Great American Songbook of the second half of the century.

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The truth is, before a song reached the artist a songwriter or two had labored over the turn of a phrase, reshaping it until its internal rhythm and contours fit the music like counterpoint. Not long after the spark of an idea had blossomed into a song, it was thrust into the glare of the Hitsville proving ground. Each song had to run the gauntlet of rival songwriters, producers, and the man who started it all: Mr.

Gordy, who himself had written a string of hits. Berry Gordy instinctively knew that great music is built from the song up.

51. "We Belong Together" by Mariah Carey (2005)

Songs were placed on trial and any facet, from the euphonics of the words to chord structure, was fair game. There was so much great music that you hoped that yours was one of the few chosen on Monday. It was hand-to-hand musical combat and whoever was left standing made a record. Love has long been a staple in the American song tradition. Black songwriters have always created the template for jazz and blues, and W. Handy and Duke Ellington knew their way around a love song. But beginning in the s, black artists often looked to Jewish songwriters for a seemingly endless string of pop hits.

Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and George and Ira Gershwin lined the pages of the American songbook with interpretations by the great black singers. The combination was potent. The accumulated musical knowledge of neighborhood masters was summoned. The studio was said to have been open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Songwriters drew their inspiration from issues of the day. Artists believed in the power of music, that they could change the world with a song. Detached, formulaic love songs now seemed anemic, as Bob Dylan and the Beatles redefined the subject matter of popular music.

For a love song to grab hold of this generation something different was required. The Motown writers responded with songs that transformed the prosaic into the poetic. The girl down the block became a goddess, and the path to her heart, an epic journey. The Motown roster of artists was packed with female vocalists.

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Men wrote for Mary Wells, the Supremes, the Marvelettes, Martha and the Vandellas, and every other woman on the label. Women wait for, agonize over, and celebrate love when it finally arrives. The male songwriters rejected Pavlovian swagger; like Marco Polo bearing gifts from a strange land, they delivered to the male vocalists the textures of romance. Gone was the supposed indifference to the joy and pain of love. These writers discovered love as a force of nature, a celestial presence around which pride, reputation, and the grab bag of male defense mechanisms simply orbited.

But this was no weak, victim-of-love routine. The men sang songs infused with unmistakable ardor and palpable virility and with the sort of strength that flows from the yin and yang of love. Below, The Boot counts down the 10 best country songs about Heaven. I ain't afraid to die," became Griggs final Top 5 hit. And I thought even for a while, 'Well, if it's a folk song, maybe it doesn't need a chorus -- maybe it's just this. And, finally, it came to me that it was just as simple as saying 'If that's what Heaven's made of, I'm not afraid to die.

In this heart-wrenching story of a mother saying a final goodbye to her little girl, Austin perfectly captures the emotions of a parent ready to bid a last farewell. Threaten me with Heaven? Written by Skip Ewing and Max T. Barnes, the song covers a heartwarming romance from young love to last breath. He said, 'Remember, you liked this song awhile back?

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