Forget Jewelry: Give Your Love Music

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Every year, Valentine's Day brings the same old sappy cards, chocolates, and heart-shaped jewelry — stuff that's nowhere near as special as retailers would have you believe. Instead, why not impress your sweetheart with some music inspired by love?

The last selection in this set — one of loss, love, and finally relief — remains one of the most haunting, depressing love songs ever recorded. If you've recently lost love, keep that one off your playlist.

Forget Jewelry: Give Your Love Music

Chet Baker

  • Artist: Chet Baker
  • Album: The Definitive Chet Baker
  • Song: My Funny Valentine

Somehow, loving lyrics such as "Your looks are laughable, unphotographable" and "Is your figure less than Greek?" made for an extremely popular romantic ballad recorded by many jazz greats. Chet Baker's cool vocal adds to one of the definitive versions of the song.

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Song
My Funny Valentine
Album
The Definitive Chet Baker
Artist
Chet Baker
Label
Blue Note

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Duke Ellington & John Coltrane

  • Artist: Duke Ellington w/ John Coltrane
  • Album: Duke Ellington & John Coltrane
  • Song: In a Sentimental Mood

There are no lyrics present here. The language of Coltrane's sax and Ellington's piano express love with such depth that no words are needed. Try Ella Fitzgerald's vocal version to hear the beautiful lyrics.

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Song
In a Sentimental Mood
Album
Duke Ellington & John Coltrane
Artist
Duke Ellington & John Coltrane
Label
Impulse!
Released
2007

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Jumpin' at Capitol

Nat King Cole

  • Artist: Nat King Cole
  • Album: Jumpin' at Capitol
  • Song: (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons (excerpt)

If you haven't yet worked up the nerve to say those three little words to your love interest, let Nat King Cole say it for you in ballad form. His voice is warm and his message is convincing.

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Song
(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons (excerpt)
Album
Jumpin' at Capitol
Artist
Nat King Cole
Label
Rhino
Released
1943

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Greatest Hits

Fats Waller

  • Artist: Fats Waller
  • Album: Greatest Hits [RCA]
  • Song: I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby (And My Baby's Crazy 'Bout Me)

This one is for those who feel the need to jump up and down (maybe even on a couch) to express the excitement of being in love. Waller sings with a touch of humor and plays with a bounce that will have you and your beloved walking on air.

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Song
I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby (And My Baby's Crazy 'Bout Me)
Album
Greatest Hits [RCA]
Artist
Fats Waller
Label
RCA
Released
1929

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Lady Day: The Best of Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday

  • Artist: Billie Holiday
  • Album: Lady Day: The Best of Billie Holiday
  • Song: Gloomy Sunday

By the third stanza, you'll be rewarded with some relief and hope in this song's otherwise melancholy lyrics. Until then, it's easy to understand why this was sometimes referred to as "The Hungarian Suicide Song" at the time of its release. The music was composed by Hungarian pianist Rezso Seress with lyrics by poet Laszlo Javor. This English interpretation is by Sam Lewis.

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Song
Gloomy Sunday
Album
Lady Day: The Best of Billie Holiday
Artist
Billie Holiday
Label
Absord Japan
Released
2001

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