This Valentine’s Day, celebrate the non-romantic loves of your life with our favorite platonic love songs.
Few bands have as many great love songs on their roster as The Beatles, but this pick celebrates love in a non-romantic genre.
Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and sung by drummer Ringo Starr, it’s an ode to the importance of our friends in helping us through some of life’s toughest times.
Best lyric: “What do I do when my love is away? Do you worry about being alone? How do I feel at the end of the day? Are you sad because you Are you on my own? No, I’m getting by with a little help from my friends.”
This quirky pop ballad is an ode to Lily Allen’s mother and the incomparable comfort of a mother’s company in our lowest moments.
This isn’t the first time Allen has written songs for his family. “Alfie” is a playful appeal to his younger brother (game of thrones actor Alfie Allen) to clean up his number, “He Wasn’t There” discusses the complexities of his relationship with his father Keith Allen and “Go Back to the Start” is an apology to his sister Sarah for their rocky relationship.
Best lyric: “I want nothing more, Than to see your face when you open the door, You’ll cook me beans on toast and a good cup of tea, And we’ll have a Chinese and watch TV.”
Queen bassist John Deacon wrote this song for his wife Veronica Tetzlaff, but it has become an anthem for friendships around the world.
Best lyric: “I’ve been with you for so long, you’re my sunshine and I want you to know, my feelings are true, I really love you. Oh, you’re my best friend.”
A song about great loss is also a song of great love in Luther Vandross’ poignant ode to his late father.
Vandross was only seven years old when his father died of diabetes, and speaking of the song, his mother, Mary Ida, said: “I was amazed at how much Luther remembered his father, how we used to dance and sing at home. I was so amazed that at seven and a half he remembered the zest for life we had.”
Best lyric: “If I could steal one last look, one last step, One last dance with him, I’d play a song that would never end, ‘Cause I’d love, love, love to dance with my daddy again.”
With the voice of her eldest daughter Blue Ivy Carter, Beyoncé’s “Brown Skinned Girl” offers a counterpoint to colorism by celebrating dark-skinned women around the world. There are acknowledgments to many pioneering black women, including model Naomi Campbell, actress Lupita Nyong’o and her former Destiny’s Child bandmate Kelly Rowland.
Talking about creating the music video as part of his Disney+ visual album black is kingsaid Beyoncé hello america“It was so important to me in ‘Brown Skin Girl’ that we represented all the different shades of brown… We wanted each character to be photographed in a royal light… It was important that we were all in this together and we are all celebrate each other.”
Best lyric: “Brown-skinned girl, your skin like pearls, the best thing in the world, never trade you for someone else.”
When we end a life-defining relationship, where does all the love we once had for our partner go? That’s the question former No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani has in mind in this hard-hitting pop song, likely written about her ex-boyfriend (and ex-boyfriend) Tony Kanal. Although the two are no longer romantically involved, she looks back on their relationship fondly and appreciates the friendship they were able to nurture together.
Best lyric: “We used to think it was impossible, now you call me by my new last name, memories seem so distant, time always kills the pain.”
This love song is not about one person at all, but about singer-songwriter Ray BLK’s hometown of Catford in London. Addressing the often complex relationship that working-class communities have with their hometown, Ray sings of his affection for Catford, despite the lack of opportunity it offered, or the fact that “finding a way out is our dream”.
Best lyric: “In these streets, these streets, In the dark we shine, In these streets, these streets, We’re high when it’s low, In these streets, these streets, Through the concrete, flowers grow, In my hood , my hood, my hood, my hood.”
Adele may be known for her love ballads in the shower, but this quirky song from her debut album, 19focuses on a different kind of love – for her best friend, Laura Dockrill.
Although Adele admits their friendship has had its ups and downs, she is now godmother to Laura’s son and Laura was shown smiling in the audience for Adele 2021 Live at the Royal Albert Hall Pin up.
Best lyric: “I thought I knew each other, somehow you know me better. I never knew, never before, you’re the first to make me up whenever we have a fight, I don’t don’t know who I’d be if I didn’t know you.”
Paul McCartney wrote “Hey Jude” for John Lennon’s son Julian after his father left his mother (Cynthia Lennon) for Yoko Ono.
The idea struck McCartney one day while driving to visit Cynthia and talking to The Washington Post about the song in 2015, he explained: “I started with the idea ‘Hey Jules’, which was Julian, don’t make it bad, take a sad song and make it better. Hey, try to manage this terrible thing. I knew it was not going to be easy for him. I always feel sorry for the children in the event of a divorce.”
Best lyric: “And every time you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain, Don’t carry the world on your shoulders. ‘Cause you know he’s a fool playing it cool, Making his world a little colder .”
Considered by many to be one of the greatest songs ever written, Paul Simon himself has no idea how he came to write “Bridge Over Troubled Water”.
“I have no idea where it came from,” he explained in the 2011 documentary The Game of Harmony“It came, all of a sudden. I remember thinking, It’s much better than what I usually write.”
Best lyric: “When you’re tired, when you feel small, when the tears are in your eyes, I’ll dry them all.”
Read more: Songs for Lovebirds
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