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Love songs run gamut from good to co-dependent

Elvis
Elvis
Associated Press

For your valentine today, there might be classic gifts — candy, roses, jewelry and a dinner date, but nothing will say "I love you" more than music.

From classical compositions, such as Beethoven's "F?r Elise" and Tchaikovsky's "Romeo & Juliet" overture, to the big band sounds of "My Funny Valentine," "Moonlight Serenade" and "As Time Goes By," music has always been a powerful vehicle to spread the love.

During the early 1900s, songwriters such as Beth Slater Whitson and Leo Friedman ("Let Me Call You Sweetheart") and Cole Porter ("I've Got You Under My Skin") were instrumental in keeping love in the music.

By the 1950s, pop music had evolved to include the new sounds of rock 'n' roll. And while Nat "King" Cole and Johnny Mathis hit the airwaves with such classics as "Unforgettable" and "Chances Are," an emerging artist named Elvis Presley hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1956 with "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You." His second chart-topping love song, "Love Me Tender," was also the title of his first movie.

Since then, there have been a bevy of love songs that have hit the music charts.

Sure, some are more about co-dependency than love, and some are just plain schmaltzy in an effort to make a buck.

And some pieces might be misinterpreted as love songs. The Police's "Every Breath You Take" is not about love. It's about obsession and stalking — a factoid that comes from the song's writer, Sting.

Still, there are a few bona fide, true-to-the-heart love songs. Here are the best, the worst, and songs about co-dependency that are often mistaken for love songs.

They are listed in no particular order.

Here are some of the good ones:

1. "All I Have to Do is Dream," The Everly Brothers

2. "Thank You," Led Zeppelin

3. "Love Me Tender," Elvis Presley

4. "Weekend in New England," Barry Manilow

5. "When a Man Loves a Woman," Percy Sledge

6. "Something," The Beatles

7. "Step Inside This House," Lyle Lovett

8. "Blue as You," Shawn Mullins

9. "I'll Stand By You," The Pretenders

10. "Wish You Were Here," Pink Floyd

Here is a list of some of the worst love songs:

1. "(You're) Having My Baby," Paul Anka

2. "I Just Want to Stop," Gino Vanelli

3. "You Light Up My Life," Debby Boone

4. "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now," Starship

5. "Honey," Bobby Goldsboro

6. "All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You," Heart

7. "When I See You Smile," Bad English

8. "My Heart Will Go On," Celine Dion

9. "Nothing Else Matters," Metallica

10. Tie — "Don't Give Up on Us Baby," David Soul and "Let Her In," John Travolta

And here is a list of some top songs about co-dependency that many mistake for love:

1. "How Am I Suppose to Live Without You," Laura Branigan/Michael Bolton

2. "Here I Am (Just When I Thought I Was Over You)," Air Supply

3. "Without You," Harry Nilsson

4. "I Can't Make It Alone," Lou Rawls

5. "I'll Do for You Anything You Want Me To," Barry White

6. "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," The Temptations

7. "I Can't Smile Without You," Barry Manilow

8. "How Do I Live," Trisha Yearwood/LeAnn Rimes

9. "Without You," Motley Crue

10. "Fix You," Coldplay

e-mail: scott@desnews.com