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It Could Happen to You


Washington. -- Even a hopeless news junkie gets tired of Bosnia, the budget babble and the inanity of Washington politics. So I got away from the madness and meanness and just languished in love -- the joy of discovering it, the heaven of being in it and the bittersweet sorrow of seeing it slip away.

Over the holiday weekend I turned on my CD player and didn't stop listening to music until I had chosen the 30 best love songs ever written. Today I write about falling in love -- choices only you who are cold of heart could disagree with.

Irving Berlin leads us to the honey pot in simple loveliness when he writes:

They Say that falling in love . . . It's Wonderful . . .

I only know they tell me that love is grand, and

This thing that's known as romance is Wonderful,

Wonderful in every way, so they say.

Then Hoagy Carmichael sprinkles our hearts with Stardust when he tells 100 million prom-goers how:

A nightingale tells its fairy tale of paradise where roses bloom.

Though I dream in vain,

In my heart there will remain

My Stardust melody, my memory of love's refrain.

But Johnny Mercer issues a warning that you won't heed:

Fools Rush In where wise men never go,

But wise men never fall in love,

So how are they to know?

You still think you're invincible to Cupid's arrows, even when Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen beseech you to:

Keep an eye on spring. Run when church bells ring.

It Could Happen To You. All I did was wonder

How your arms would be.

Then it happened to me.

But these same two songwriters tear your heart up, and you suddenly are telling some girl:

Moonlight Becomes You, I'm thrilled at the sight,

And I could get so romantic tonight.

You're all dressed up to go dreaming,

And don't tell me I'm wrong.

What a night to go dreaming!

The great love lyrics have made us all tag along, with someone's passionate permission. Especially when Rodgers and Hammerstein tell us that Some Enchanted Evening we will see Bert Kaempfert's Stranger In The Night across some lonely room. And a handsome Pat Boone giving emphasis by singing that:

April Love can slip right through your fingers.

So if she's the one, don't let her run away.

So no matter what your mind says, your heart is bound to echo these words of Cole Porter:

Under stars chilled by the winter,

Under an August moon burning above,

You'd Be So Nice, you'd be paradise,

To Come Home To And Love.

And though the odds are 50-50 that you're wrong, you swear that:

There'll be no one but you for me, eternally,

If you will Be My Love.

Yes, discovering love is wonderful. But the great lyricists tell us that being in it is better. I'll be back, singing, with the greatest songs of the true lovers.

Carl T. Rowan is a syndicated columnist.

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