Scientist Isaac Newton identified that an action needs/creates a reaction. Imagine a tennis game where only one player is making any effort to hit the ball. How long does that last?
The same is true for love. Love cannot be a one-way street and be successful. If one partner is the only one who serves the ball (i.e. extends devotion). Unrequited love, then, refers to one member of the partnership doing all the “serving.”
The Effects of Sound and Music in Relationships
Of our five senses — sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing, perhaps hearing takes the forefront in relationships.
Musicians and other artisans of the auditory arts base almost every poem, prose and song upon relationships. What is better to write about than the broken heart? Music and other sound bites lodge themselves in our memory banks as mnemonic devices for years.
Best Songs About Unrequited Love
I Will Always Love You by Dolly Parton
“I Will Always Love You,” was originally recorded by Dolly Parton, although many think it was Whitney Houston’s song, which couldn’t be more incorrect. For those who have ever watched the love story between Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton in “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”, Whitney Houston’s reincarnation of this ballad in “The Guardian, singing about her love for Kevin Costner is simply a sequel.
Jubel by Klingande
Jubel is a joyful, relaxed summery song but underneath the happy EDM beats are lyrics that hint at the sadness and regret of unrequited love. How two people can have a special connection, but they are uncertain and play games: “Why are we losing time? Save Me.”
Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers
Perhaps one of the most famous songs about unrequited love bears one of the most unknown titles of all times. It is “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers. As if the movie wasn’t famous enough when it first hit the scene (circa 1965), the movie “Ghost” came along 2.5 decades later (1990) and made this ghostly tune even more haunting. This song barely edged out “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling,” another hallowed unrequited love song by the same band.
Love Stinks by J Geils Band
“Love Stinks“ by the J Geils Band in the 1980’s: The line, “You love her, but she loves him, and he loves somebody else, you just can’t win….love STINKS!” It’s difficult to say it any more clearly than that, and it was done in a fun and funky way. This selection was more of a sarcastic, funky tribute to the caveats of love and relationships rather than a tear-jerker.
Jessie’s Girl by Rick Springfield
Another notable 80s song about unrequited loves is “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield. This song bemoaned a young man who is in love with his best friend (Jessie’s) girl. Most folks have at some time had at least a crush upon a friend or relative’s significant other. Perhaps this is why the word “Awkward,” was coined.
I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt
For those who are fans of the raspy throaty singers, “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt in 1991 possibly carries some of the most astute words in the paradigm of one-way love affairs. This sappy ballad would go on to be one of Raitt’s greatest hits.
Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad by Meatloaf
Speaking of raspy, throaty voices, Meatloaf’s 1978 hit “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” presents a broken-hearted lover’s specific grammar-shy musical lamenting about truly loving only one particular girl — although he knew she’d never love him back.
I’ll Go to My Grave Loving You” by the Statler Brothers
For those who love the country scene, here’s an oldie but goodie that leans just a bit into the extremes about unfulfilled love: “I’ll Go to My Grave Loving You” by the Statler Brothers really earned some tears for the group in the mid-1970’s with their pledge to love her until his death.
Ruby Don’t Take Your Love to Town by Kenny Rogers
Speaking of loving her to death, Kenny Rogers was not to be outdone with this same mantra, but one might say his pledge of love was a bit more toward active euthanasia when his tearjerker love ballad “Ruby Don’t Take Your Love to Town” in 1993. The premise of this song of unrequited love goes as far as describing the crooner’s plight in a wheelchair from injuries sustained while at war serving his country. It doesn’t get much more graphic than that.
He Stopped Loving Her Today by George Jones
Another spectacular country singer, George Jones, proclaimed his love until death did them part in “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” This timeless chart-topping hit put Jones in the forefront in country music in the 1970’s and is still commonly played today. The problem is we don’t seem to get the entire story: was his love always unrequited, and if so, did she ever regret it?
You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift
Alas, it seems that Taylor Swift could sing the phone book and top the charts. Her 2009 hit, “You Belong With Me” has an upbeat tempo that belies her lamenting about her male friend she’s head over heels in love with, all the while he’s unequally yoked with the epitome of the high school cheerleader. It’s a fun but sad ballad about the girl who’s stuck in the friend zone. For those who have watched this video, the irony is that the friend that she loves so much actually ends up with her in the end at the prom.
Making Lemonade Out of Sour Lemons
It hurts to have experienced unrequited love; in fact, there are very few who have never experienced it. After all, look how much our broken hearts stimulate the music industry!