by | Nov 21, 2008 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

Thanks to the new millennium, we have had to update everything from computers to stationery. Now, with Valentine’s Day upon us, I suppose we have to update romance, too.

Particularly the love song.

Let’s face it. Many of the classic love songs of the 20th Century came from the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s. People like Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, the Gershwins. We haven’t had a new romantic classic in a long time, unless you count “Love Stinks.”

How far has the love song fallen? The following are actual titles from this week’s Billboard top 50: “Shake Your Bon Bon” by Ricky Martin, “Cowboy Take Me Away” by the Dixie Chicks, and “Untitled” by D’Angelo.

“Untitled”? No offense, but isn’t that pretty much mailing it in? Doesn’t every song begin as untitled? I think D’Angelo spent more time figuring out where to put the apostrophe in his name.

Perhaps our best shot is not waiting for a new classic, but in modifying the old ones. The music would stay the same, but the lyrics would be updated for the 21st Century to include computers, MTV and pro wrestling.

For example, the Gershwin classic “Our Love Is Here to Stay”:

In time the Rockies may crumble,

Gibraltar may tumble

They’re only made of clay, but

Our love is here to stay

Would now be …

In time, Netscape may double

Yahoo quadruple

How ’bout that Y2K?

Our love is here to stay.

Or the “Casablanca” signature song, “As Time Goes By,” which begins …

You must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss

A sigh is just a sigh

The fundamental things apply

As time goes by

Would now be …

You must remember this

My Web site may get hits

My stock price may go high

But even if my hard drive dies

I’m your guy

There’s “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off”:

You say tomato, I say tomaaato,

You say potato, I say potaaato,

Tomato, tomaaato, potato, potaaato,

Let’s call the whole thing off

Which would now be …

You say Madonna, I say Mariah

You say Christina, I say Shania

Britney, Whitney, Enrique and Ricky

Let’s turn the MTV off

Remember “Love and Marriage”?

Love and marriage, love and marriage

Go together like a horse and carriage

This I tell you brother,

you can’t have one without the other

That would now go: “Who Needs Marriage?”

Who needs marriage? Who needs marriage?

It’s an institute we must disparage

Let’s be like my brother

He’s 40 and still lives with my mothhh-er

And the original “My Funny Valentine”:

My funny Valentine

Sweet comic Valentine

You made me smile with my heart

Your looks are laughable, unphotographable

But you’re my favorite work of art

Would now be modified …

My funny Valentine

She wrestles in prime time

She hits the canvas like a tank

She lacks good principles

Her words unprintable,

But she’s got millions in the bank

Or the “Anniversary Waltz.”

Oh how we danced on the night we were wed …

Would be …

Oh, how we danced

When our companies merged

You cashed in stock,

I ate, then purged

OK. OK. So they’re not as mushy as the originals. This is the new century, pal. Get with it.

Besides, a modified classic is still better than “Untitled.”

Or my name isn’t M’itch.

MITCH ALBOM can be reached at 313-223-4581 or Catch Mitch’s radio show, “Albom in the Afternoon,” 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WJR-AM


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Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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