I don’t hide my affinity for Lenny Williams iconic 1978 love song, “Because I Love You.” It doesn’t matter that I wasn’t born until a decade later, songs like this touch me when I hear them because he has sung his soul into this song. Hearing it and thinking about past loves, conversations I’ve had with many people about their love lives, and the nature of love itself just gives me chills. As the song progresses, he’s just totally wrapped up in the experience of loving someone and just how profound an impact it can have on a person’s life. Lenny is not the same Lenny when the song ends.
When I was in high school and had learned to drive, I remember making a CD with this song as the first one on there because even then, at the feeble age of 16, I might not have experienced romantic love but I knew that whatever he was feeling, that’s the effect of romantic love on you. When he had it, he was on top of the world. When he lost it, he said he “watched television until television turned off.” When I first heard the line, I thought it was totally metaphorical – that he was so distraught and heartbroken that he watched TV as an escape until there just wasn’t anything left to watch. A friend of mine told me that in the past, TV would just end at night because there was no programming scheduled. I quickly remembered these moments from my youth, and that put another spin on the line – he just sat there until TV went off. The downside of love, I suppose.
The upside? Check out the last bit of the song. The help that he got from the new love pulls him up from his bootstraps and leads him into a bright future. At the very least, he knows that he loves this woman and will love her. He seems pretty sure of it since he does sing multiple times, “I’m gon love ya!”
I can’t think of many other songs that have really made a deep impact on me like that. He’s got a resolve about relationships that wills him through the entire song. Meanwhile, he’s singing his life into the song about the woman he loves, all the while still acquiescing to fate (“If it’s in God’s will”) and hoping for the best…because he loves her.
I’ve written a few times here about love, but never about its transformational power. Like I said, Lenny isn’t the same Lenny when the song ends. His love experiences have really changed him by far. And I don’t know what to make of it. I can think back to my own love experiences and how different I was during them and how different I am now because of them. There’s something certainly that changes about you when you love somebody. I don’t want to just say behaviors change because that’s only how we can recognize if something has changed. I doubt most would want to say that love is only noticeable in one’s behaviors (though that’s a pretty interesting stance), but I’m not even willing to hazard a guess about what changes. Something definitely does though.
That CD I mentioned above? I left it in the CD player in the car once, and my mom drove the car, and heard the CD. She thought I was in love with somebody because I was playing the song. Truthfully, I wasn’t, but it might have been the first time I’d been introduced to loving someone via a song. He sings his damn heart out.