1001 Songs Challenge #744: I Can’t Make You Love Me (1991)
On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
Bonnie Raitt – I Can’t Make You Love Me (1991)
I Can’t Make You Love Me
” I Can’t Make You Love Me” is a song written by Mike Reid and Allen Shamblin and recorded by American singer Bonnie Raitt for her eleventh studio album Luck of the Draw (1991).
We’re leaving Canada and heading south to the US today, dear reader. Once in the US we make our way west to California. Bonnie Raitt began her career in the early 1970s and spent the next couple of decades recording strong material but not enjoying the commercial success that she maybe deserved. We join Raitt in 1991 with her eleventh album, Luck of the Draw, and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the track – I Can’t Make You Love Me.
Written by Mike Reid and Allen Shamblin, I Can’t Make You Love Me is another one of those stories of unrequited love that we enjoy so much. In this song Raitt’s narrator is the doomed lover addressing her partner but finding only a cold shoulder and distant glance in response. Although her feelings for this guy are strong, he simply does not feel the same way and she is now struggling to come to terms with that fact. It’s a universal tale told many times before yet never gets old as subject matter for a song.
I Can’t Make You Love Me has an exquisite piano melody running through it but the main highlight here is Bonnie Raitt’s solemn vocals. After years in the wilderness, Luck of the Draw proved to be a big success and Raitt’s most commercially successful album in her whole career. I guess you could say the album’s title was rather apt in the end. Raitt continues to perform to this day and remains both a celebrated singer and guitarist.
Favourite songs so far:
The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)
Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)
The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)
Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)
Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now (1978)
The Smiths – How Soon Is Now? (1984)