“You ask if I love you,” Charlemagne famously wrote to Queen Fastrada from the Avar front. “What can I say? You know that I do, and that this is just one of those games that we play.” The occasion for that letter was Valentimes, a little-known Frankish observance held on February 13 to honor a Roman citizen whose martyrdom in the jaws of a vicious bear was, historians now believe, a case of mistaken identity. Although little is known about Valentime, the Vatican recently named him the patron saint of supermodels and the illiterate, and the memory of his martyrdom lingers in a centuries-old custom by which undemonstrative men send costumed toy bears to their lovers as tokens of affection.
Those of us who harbor a passion for historical accuracy will observe Valentimes Day with ursine solemnity. However, because the spirit of Valentime demands that we tolerate misguided readers who venerate saints of far more dubious provenance, we offer this bouquet of music videos about love and romance to get you through a highly emotional weekend.
The great Louis Jordan loved Caldonia in spite of himself.
Neil Finn could have told him: she will have her way.
Boleslaus II may fought for his people’s independence, but in the 1970s we recognized only one macaronic Polish prince: Moja droga, jacie kocham…
Roger Miller at his best: “Leavin’s Not the Only Way to Go.”
The year was 1985, and Kid Creole couldn’t answer a simple question: “Why can’t you be like Endicott?”
To my knowledge, there’s only country song about the effect of faster-than-light space travel on a long-distance relationship: “Benson, Arizona.”
What do you get when you filter an English nursery rhyme, the inexpressibility topos, and mid-1980s progressive rock through the liver of a disheveled Scotsman? “Lavender.”
Jersey guy Pat DiNizio puts a sober Smithereens spin on “Well All Right” by Buddy Holly.
Got halitosis before that big Valentimes date? Take a handful of Mighty Lemon Drops.
Guys, today isn’t the day to drunk-dial the girl you lost to cocaine.
John Waite, of all people, gives us a heartfelt cover of “Girl From the North Country.”
I didn’t think much of the Sting song “Fields of Gold.” Then I heard the late Eva Cassidy perform it.