What is music but memories in sounds? Songs can define parts of our lives that maybe we would have forgotten otherwise. Like smells for the ears, we associate songs with the places we were and the people we were with when we heard them. KQED Pop's authors have mined their souls to tell you the stories of the songs that defined pivotal romantic moments in their lives. So get in your time machine and travel back with our writers to the days of true love, middle school dances, important car rides and mixed tapes.
David Aloi, "Because You Loved Me"/Celine Dion
The Our Lady of the Sacred Heart “Seventh Grade Spring Swing” was in full effect in the parking lot behind the cafeteria. The school year was coming to a close and chances were I wouldn’t run into Molly Wannemacher after that evening, as she usually spent summers at basketball camp. With toes curled and palms wet, I set my Dixie cup of Hi-C down on the pavement and approached Molly for the final song, “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion from the always underrated film Up Close and Personal. The song itself begins pretty immediately, Celine’s voice wasting no time. Molly accepted my invitation, shyly but certain, her hands around my neck, my hands on her hips. We had danced many times before but this time was to be different and we both knew it. I decided to wait for the bridge to do it: you were always there for me / the tender wind that carried me. I slid my hands from her hips to her butt and kept them there for the final chorus. I’m not sure if Sister Monica or Mrs. Ratchuk saw, or if classmates were whispering behind our backs. Nothing mattered in that moment. I even think the sun was setting.
Natalie Grace Sweet, "Beast of Burden"/Rolling Stones
I remember exactly where I was when I was officially felt swept off my feet; Driving down Bethel Church Road in Bethel Park, PA in my boyfriend's parent's 1988 blue Dodge Caravan, I had shotgun. My hair was bleach blonde then and pulled back at the sides with two barrettes adorned by tiny photos of Betty Page. The night was crispy and I shivered a little under my jean jacket hoodie combo. We turned on the radio. I loved music and I loved my boyfriend, almost in equal measure, but there was a lot I still didn't know. For one thing, I couldn't read the boy's mind and always wondered how he really felt. He was, sometimes, a man of few words. As we crossed Edward Street, he flinched, reached forward, turned up the volume on the stereo and said, "I wrote this for you." He didn't of course, Keith and Mick did, but I got the point. It was the first time I ever remember really listening to that song. That's how my love for the Rolling Stones truly began...and that's when I knew my boyfriend really liked me, too.