It seems that everyone’s making lists of songs for Valentine’s Day, but none of them include the Hometown Hits that we’ve included here. Bite me, L.A. and New York.
1. Heart Magic Man. The “Magic Man” in question was Ann Wilson’s boyfriend at the time, lead guitarist Roger Fisher’s brother Mike, who was Heart’s soundman back in the day. He was set to be drafted into the Army and sent to Vietnam, and escaped to Vancouver, where the Heart we know first gelled as a band. Ma Wilson is trying to get her girl to come back home, but Ann explains why she can’t: She’s in LOVE! By the way, it’s Roger Fisher’s birthday…happy birthday Rog!
2. Jimi Hendrix Foxy Lady. These days if you went up to a girl in a bar and told her she was “foxy”, you’d likely get a drink thrown in your face. But in the late 60’s there was no man in Swingin’ London sexier than that crazy guitarist from Seattle. Jimi had dozens, hundreds, perhaps thousands of girlfriends, but at the time this song came out it was one Kathy Etchingham, who always claimed Jimi had written it for her. A lot of others thought it was about Heather Taylor, who eventually ended up marrying The Who’s Roger Daltrey.
3. Nirvana About A Girl. Supposedly Kurt Cobain wrote this for his girlfriend at the time, Tracy Marander, but it’s more likely about his love for The Beatles, who he’d been listening to non-stop when he wrote it. It didn’t have a title when he showed it to bassist Krist Novoselic and drummer Chad Channing, when he asked, Kurt shrugged and said “It’s about a girl”. It also happens to be the first Nirvana song ever played on commercial radio, by yours truly.
4. Pearl Jam Last Kiss. A tragic tale of love lost due to a car crash, this song was originally released in 1961 by Wayne Cochran, but when singer Eddie Vedder found a copy of that single at the Fremont Antique Mall, he talked the rest of the band into doing it. They released it as a fan-club Christmas single in 1998, but due to popular demand it came out again on a charity album to benefit refugees of the Kosovo war. It went to #2 on the Billboard Top 100, the highest chart position Pearl Jam ever got.
5. Soundgarden Loud Love. More romantic than their song Big Dumb Sex, which we can’t include because of the number of uses of the “F-word” (though the sentiment in the song is loving enough), this song was included in the film Wayne’s World (which premiered today in 1992), playing in the background in the scene where Wayne meets the love of his life, Cassandra. Interestingly, it was not included on the movie’s soundtrack.
6. The Allies Emma Peel. Who says a love song has to be about an attainable goal? You can certainly write a love song for a distant object of affection, even if she happens to be the star of the British TV spy drama The Avengers…and the Allies did. Little known fact: The actress who played the delicious shagadelic Emma, Diana Rigg, once inadvertently showed her boobies to the audience at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theater in the early 80’s, when two steam jets that were supposed to cover them as she took her top off in the Broadway musical Collette… didn’t. Don’t know if any of The Allies were in attendance, but I was. Heh heh.
7. Mother Love Bone Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns. A very beautiful song from one of Seattle’s tragic musical stories. I’ve always assumed that this song was about the late lead singer Andy Wood’s longtime girlfriend Xana in some way. He loved her an awful lot, and was a hell of a nice guy.
8. Merilee Rush Angel Of The Morning. A beautiful love ballad about premarital sex, which was fairly risque when it was given by New York songwriter Chip Taylor to Connie Francis…which is why she turned it, and presumably him, down. Seattle’s Merilee Rush had a big hit with it in 1968, which got her a Grammy nomination for best female vocalist that year.
9. The Posies Golden Blunders. Riffing on the Beatles Golden Slumbers, this 1990 song from their major-label debut is about getting married too young. Perhaps not the most romantic of love songs, but The Posies definitely loved them some Beatles, so imagine how they felt when Ringo Starr covered it on his ’92 solo album Time Takes time.
10. Nirvana Heart Shaped Box. Kurt Cobain once said this song was inspired by a TV report he saw on children suffering from cancer. But the “cancer” reference in the song is more likely to be toward his wife Courtney Love’s astrological sign, as he also mentions his own, Pisces. Supposedly after their second meeting, Courtney sent a heart-shaped box to his hotel room, containing a dolls head among other things.