Genderless Love Songs

  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Aug 14, 2013 3:01 AM GMT
    donovan.jpegAs a gay boy I grew up in an era when it was very rare for male pop singers to write love songs to other men. Although they do appear on occasion now they are still rare.

    I was 16 years old when Donovan recorded "Catch The Wind" (1964) and it was one of the first 'genderless' love songs I can remember hearing. I was very struck by the lyrics, the seeming impossibility of love and could very easily associate them with the way I felt about a crush I had at the time.


    Catch The Wind (Version II)
    Donovan

    In the chilly hours and minutes
    Of uncertainty
    I want to be
    In the warm hold of your lovin' mind.

    To feel you all around me
    And to take your hand
    Along the sand,
    Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind.

    When sundown pales the sky
    I want to hide a while
    Behind your smile,
    And everywhere I'd look, your eyes I'd find.


    For me to love you now
    Would be the sweetest thing,
    'T would make me sing,
    Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind.

    When rain has hung the leaves with tears
    I want you near to kill my fears,
    To help me to leave all my blues behind.

    Standin' in your heart
    Is where I want to be
    And long to be,
    Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind.


    If you have any favorite 'genderless' love songs especially by male singers, post them here. Thanks!
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    Aug 14, 2013 3:34 AM GMT


    Homeless Brother Album 1974

    "Did You Know"

    Did you know that love can grow any place where people go,
    And I can tell by what I see that you have found a place with me.
    The sun is high the day is new and
    I have found a place with you.

    Ev'ry place and ev'ry face casts a spell and leaves a trace,
    With you in mind and with you near, the myth is gone, the past is clear
    And here with scars of now and then so you and I begin again.

    Did you know I've been searchin'? Did you know I've been blind?
    Did you know I've been touchin' anything I could find?

    Did you know that here below, moving where my feelings flow,
    You live with me in time that's new, suspended in a love that's true
    And far beyond the fatal noise and bathed in all life's simple joys.

    Did you know that love can grow any place where people go,
    And I can tell by what I see that you have found a place with me."


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    Aug 14, 2013 5:10 AM GMT
    Over the years, I've often wondered what songs which seemed to sing love of women where actually written by men with men in mind.

    I suppose many of those were written genderless, but some of the genderless is understandable because why shouldn't anyone be able to sing a song and relate to it, and then the lyricist isn't limiting the song to any particularly gendered crooner.

    I imagine many of our love songs were not just genderless but transgendered by transposing the gender of pronouns from a man who a gay lyricist loved to whatever random female wound up in his song.

    And considering how prolific were some of our writers: Hart, Porter, Soundheim, et al, wouldn't it be curious if we could claim all our love songs back.

    Here's a genderless love song written by a gay man...



    A gay man singing love to a woman...



    And here's love songs about a man by men...





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    Aug 14, 2013 12:22 PM GMT
    This is one of the first genderless love songs I realized growing up. This song actually sounds like a dedication to "love"

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    Aug 14, 2013 1:17 PM GMT
    theantijock saidOver the years, I've often wondered what songs which seemed to sing love of women where actually written by men with men in mind.

    I suspected this years ago, and have written about it here before. Besides Cole Porter, a lyricist I'd propose is Ira Gershwin, who wrote not only for his own composer brotherGeorge, but for others as well.

    Below are lyrics he wrote for Harold Arlen's music that do a good job of describing a topic gays frequently discuss here:

    The Man That Got Away

    The night is bitter,
    The stars have lost their glitter,
    The winds grow colder,
    And suddenly you're older
    And all because of
    The man that got away.

    No more his eager call,
    The writing's on the wall,
    The dreams you dreamed have all
    Gone astray.
    The man that won you
    Has run off and undone you.
    That great beginning
    Has seen it's final inning,
    Don't know what happened
    It's all a crazy game.

    No more that all-time thrill
    For you've been through the mill,
    And never a new love will
    Be the same.

    Good riddance, good-bye.
    Every trick of his you're on to -
    But fools will be fools and where's he gone to?

    The road gets rougher,
    It's lonelier and tougher.
    With hope you burn up,
    Tomorrow he may turn up.
    There's just no letup
    The livelong night and day.

    Ever since this world began
    There is nothing sadder than
    A one-man woman [fella]
    Looking for the man that got away . .


    Could a straight man really write that? About what women feel, or I think more accurately, gay men? Not to mention how incongruous "final inning" is. Not something women say very often. Rather, I think a gay lyricist attempting to get into a woman's shoes, and finding himself in another pair of heels.
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    Aug 14, 2013 1:59 PM GMT
    ART_DECO said
    theantijock saidOver the years, I've often wondered what songs which seemed to sing love of women where actually written by men with men in mind.

    I suspected this years ago, and have written about it here before. Besides Cole Porter, a lyricist I'd propose is Ira Gershwin, who wrote not only for his own composer brotherGeorge, but for others as well.

    Below are lyrics he wrote for Harold Arlen's music that do a good job of describing a topic gays frequently discuss here:

    The Man That Got Away

    ...Looking for the man that got away . .


    Could a straight man really write that? About what women feel, or I think more accurately, gay men? Not to mention how incongruous "final inning" is. Not something women say very often. Rather, I think a gay lyricist attempting to get into a woman's shoes, and finding himself in another pair of heels.


    I thought the rumor was that George, not Ira, might have been gay. Either way, I don't find those lyrics particularly gay nor, frankly, feeling filled and not that heteros aren't capable of that. I'd be especially careful of judging from show tunes written for specific scenes. Certainly there are male, hetero novelists who relate on an intimate level feelings of love emanating from their female characters.
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    Aug 14, 2013 2:05 PM GMT
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    Aug 14, 2013 2:59 PM GMT
    theantijock said
    I thought the rumor was that George, not Ira, might have been gay. Either way, I don't find those lyrics particularly gay nor, frankly, feeling filled and not that heteros aren't capable of that. I'd be especially careful of judging from show tunes written for specific scenes. Certainly there are male, hetero novelists who relate on an intimate level feelings of love emanating from their female characters.

    Both Gershwins were rumored to be gay. For a number of years before his death Ira brought Michael Feinstein into his house to catalog his phonograph collection and other music material by his late brother George and himself.

    This further fueled rumors about Ira's orientation (who was married), and that the 2 men were having an affair (and some less kind speculation that Feinstein was exploiting the elder Gershwin, and the Gershwin legacy). Feinstein's homosexuality is not doubted, since he later did marry a man, the ceremony performed by "Judge Judy" Sheindlin.

    The original lyrics to Arlen's song, BTW, went like this:

    "I've seen Sequoia,
    It's really very pretty.
    The art of Goya,
    And Rockefeller City,
    But since I saw you,
    I can't believe my eyes."


    Can you imagine Judy singing THAT? Johnny Mercer ("Moon River") and Arlen had written the song when A Star Is Born was still a script treatment. As the movie script evolved it was realized the lyrics wouldn't work, and Ira Gershwin was brought in to redo them, to match the scene & mood.

    But that wouldn't invalidate my belief that Ira's words draw upon gay emotions. In fact, to refute that idea, using your last argument would invalidate your earlier thread statement: "...I've often wondered what songs which seemed to sing love of women where actually written by men with men in mind."

    Only here a female is singing of het love & loss, the words written from the perspective of a male lyricist who has experienced the loss of another man. The circumstance of the song being written is not really relevant, just what was attempted to be expressed, and what lyricist expressed it.
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    Aug 14, 2013 9:42 PM GMT
    ART_DECO said...But that wouldn't invalidate my belief that Ira's words draw upon gay emotions. In fact, to refute that idea, using your last argument would invalidate your earlier thread statement: "...I've often wondered what songs which seemed to sing love of women where actually written by men with men in mind."

    Only here a female is singing of het love & loss, the words written from the perspective of a male lyricist who has experienced the loss of another man. The circumstance of the song being written is not really relevant, just what was attempted to be expressed, and what lyricist expressed it.


    Nothing I've said here refutes anything else I've said. I simply made note of men who might have been writing about their love for men in genderless or transgendered songs. I never implied anything extraordinary about that. That's your projecting your notion of gay superiority on something I said but what you are expressing here was neither what I thought nor what I said.

    Gay emotions? What's that, their sexual orientation? When I joke that I'm an overly emotional gay man, I'm just joking. Until science shows me otherwise, I do not believe that there is any significant depth of emotion which I can reach and express that a heterosexual person doesn't also. I don't have to feel special about myself to feel good about myself. Thinking emotions of gays more intense than emotions of str8s sounds less like music and more like overcompensation.

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    Aug 14, 2013 9:58 PM GMT
    "You Are So Beautiful" is genderless if you really think about it.

    Lyrics
    You are so beautiful to me
    You are so beautiful to me
    Can't you see
    Your everything I hoped for
    Your everything I need
    You are so beautiful to me

    Such joy and happiness you bring
    Such joy and happiness you bring
    Like a dream
    A guiding light that shines in the night
    Heavens gift to me
    You are so beautiful to me
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    Aug 14, 2013 9:59 PM GMT
    Is this a love song about a cute little pink baby? Or your penis? I love that it could be either...

    [url][/url]
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    Aug 14, 2013 10:23 PM GMT
    That's a thing I like with songs in English. They can be interpreted in both genders. In French it's something almost grammatically impossible
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    Aug 14, 2013 11:01 PM GMT
    Isugemi saidThat's a thing I like with songs in English. They can be interpreted in both genders. In French it's something almost grammatically impossible


    Interesting point and so I would assume similarly with Spanish. Something I wouldn't have considered in this context without you having mentioned.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/01/07/168818064/latin-offers-a-gender-neutral-choice-but-how-to-pronounce-it

    I would joke and say that probably shows our superior communications but in reality it was probably just a marketing ploy.

    It makes me curious now as to how are English genderless songs interpreted into the more gender-specific languages? Does the same song change gender according the sex of the singer or do certain genderless songs take on a certain gender in translation by some other determinant?
  • Joeyphx444

    Posts: 2382

    Aug 14, 2013 11:05 PM GMT
    Isugemi saidThat's a thing I like with songs in English. They can be interpreted in both genders. In French it's something almost grammatically impossible


    That goes with pretty much all languages with genders

    In Arabic there are genders when referring to "you"
    However there are some weird things like guys in songs may say "habibi" which is actually wrong. A man called a woman "my darling" is really habibti. Also, some male singers say bahebak (I love you) which is to a man instead of saying "bahebik"
    This was because they are poetic songs so I would guess it's due to rhyming. There really isn't much in the way of making things genderless either unless you were singing about 2 people
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    Aug 14, 2013 11:23 PM GMT


    I won't let you fall as low as I've been
    I promise to crawl until I'm back on my feet
    If something were wrong, do you think I'd leave?
    If something went wrong, don't you know I'd be here?

    So who's been unfair? Who causes you sorrow?
    And who's been unkind? Who burst your bubble?
    And who drags you down, down, down, down?
    Who handed out lines? And now I'm in trouble

    I'll leave you to grieve, tear over my letters
    And frenzy the page, rainsquall in all weather
    You'll rue your regrets but rub out the present
    Hurl abuse at the world, heap scorn upon treasure

    I won't let you fall as low as I've been
    I promise to crawl until I'm back on my feet
    If something were wrong, do you think I'd leave?
    If something went wrong, don't you know I'd be here?
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    Aug 15, 2013 12:03 AM GMT


    Not necessarily a love song, more a lamentation for a dying love.

    "A plague in the workhouse, a plague on the poor Now I'll beat on my drum 'til I'm dead Yesterday, a fever, tomorrow, St. Peter I'll beat on my drum until then. But what melody will lead my lover from his bed? What melody will see him in my arms again? Set fire to foundation and burn out the station You'll never get nothing of mine The pane of my window will flicker and billow I won't leave a stitching behind But what melody will lead my lover from his bed? What melody will see him in my arms again? I'll sing of the walls of the well and the house at the top of the hill I'll sing of the bottles of wine that we left on our old windowsill I'll sing of the years you will spend getting sadder and older Oh love, and the cold, the oncoming cold"

    And Mazzy Star... I challenge anyone not to find this song a great sultry tune to fill in the blank to...



    "Fade Into You"

    I want to hold the hand inside you
    I want to take a breath that's true
    I look to you and I see nothing
    I look to you to see the truth
    You live your life
    You go in shadows
    You'll come apart and you'll go blind
    Some kind of night into your darkness
    Colors your eyes with what's not there.

    Fade into you
    Strange you never knew
    Fade into you
    I think it's strange you never knew

    A stranger's light comes on slowly
    A stranger's heart without a home
    You put your hands into your head
    And then smiles cover your heart

    Fade into you
    Strange you never knew
    Fade into you
    I think it's strange you never knew

    Fade into you
    Strange you never knew
    Fade into you
    I think it's strange you never knew
    I think it's strange you never knew
  • heyom

    Posts: 389

    Aug 15, 2013 12:10 AM GMT
    stand by me