Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And romantic songs are without doubt in the ear of the listener.
At Bowers & Wilkins we love great sound – or True Sound as we think about it – and we have chosen these tracks because they not only satisfy the incurable romantic in us, but they also meet our need for listening to great sounding music. Each of the recordings here are in their own way beautiful, whether it is selections from audiophile classics such as Pet Sounds or Astral Weeks or lesser known recordings that deliver multiple layers or beautifully recorded sparseness.
So, whether when sharing the music with the love of your life on a quality Hi-Fi system or listening alone in quiet contemplation on a pair of headphones, we are certain there is a romantic classic here to suit your mood.
Cat Power – Dark End of the Street
Cat Power is well known for her stripped back cover versions, and this beautifully raw interpretation of Dan Penn’s classic tale of illicit love is one of her best. Beautifully recorded, with plenty of room for the fantastic supporting cast of musicians to ply their trade.
Massive Attack – Protection
Bristol’s finest collaborated with Everything but the Girl’s Tracey Thorn on this wonderful track. The LP version is well worth seeking out, if only for the deep, deep bass that opens proceedings and drives the well-paced song along. Thorn’s vocals are also a thing of beauty.
Beach Boys – God Only Knows
Pet Sounds is packed full of fantastic songs, obviously, but this must be the stand-out track for those with a romantic nature. Beautifully recorder, wonderfully produced – possibly the stand out track for the soft-hearted audiophile.
Spiritualised – Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space
This is an astonishing piece of music by any standards. The beautiful opening to the album of the same name it’s numerous layers wrap around you in a mesmerising fashion that you really don’t want to end. The re-issued double vinyl version incorporates the original Elvis Presley lyrics, and is a great Hi-fi moment.
Elvis Presley – Suspicious Minds
When things get bad – and they always get bad at times – then just not leaving and working at things could be the most romantic thing of all. As Elvis sings here: “We’re caught in a trap/ I can’t walk out / Because I love you too much baby”. And if the words are great, the tune is perhaps even better!
Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It on
Where romance and sex collides, there is Marvin Gaye. A great singer, a fantastic song, and one that sounds just wonderful on vinyl!
Otis Redding – These Arms of Mine
There are romantic songs when you already have the girl (it’s usually the girl) and songs where you desperately want the girl, and this classic slice of 60s soul is one of the finest examples of the latter. Simply sublime.
Van Morrison – Sweet thing
Van-the-Man may have a reputation for edging towards the grouchy, but when he gets in the mood he can write a romantic song like no other. It also doesn’t hurt that this track appears on the stone cold audiophile classic Astral Weeks.
Etta James – At last
If you wait long enough… The wonderful Etta James delivers an astonishing performance on this, the title track of an end-to-end wonderful album. Well worth tracking down the vinyl version as well.
Something – The Beatles
Lennon and McCartney get all the kudos, but George on top of his game was up there with them. As George’s ex-wife Patti Boyd put it: “He told me, in a matter-of-fact way, that he had written it for me. I thought it was beautiful …” Beautiful indeed, and one of the stand out tracks on Abbey Road.
Frank Sinatra – The way you look tonight
Old Blue Eyes gets romantic with this big band backed slice of wonder. Okay, so maybe it’s a little bit too much about how someone looks, but hey we all like a compliment every now and then. And it did win an Oscar for best original song!