This One Goes Out To The One I Love

I was just reading the Twitter a little while ago – as I so often do when I’m procrastinating – and a friend of mine reminded me of something that I haven’t thought of in years. YEARS, I TELL YOU.

Do y’all remember when people used to call the radio station and talk to a real-live DJ on the air and dedicate songs?

Oh, it was huge in the 80s. HUGE.

Until tonight it hadn’t really occurred to me that there’s probably not a lot of song dedication going on anymore – unless you’re listening to Delilah – and I have to say that I’m a little sad for this current generation of tweens and teens. They are missing out. Sending someone a link to a song on Facebook or making an iTunes playlist is nice and all, but it doesn’t have anywhere near the same impact as declaring your undying love and adoration on the FM airwaves while thousands of people listen.

I mean, I don’t want to overstate it, but dedicating a song to someone on the radio meant that you were practically pre-engaged. It was a sign of undying devotion – or at least a sign of borderline obsession before the whole relationship went to pieces after a jealousy-fueled misunderstanding during a particularly emotional couple skate to “Hard to Say I’m Sorry.”

I know that I don’t exactly have the best memory when it comes to the songs that people dedicated to each other when I would while away the weeknight hours listening to Q101 and sponge-rolling my hair, but here are the first ten that come to mind. These songs helped shape my very dramatic notions of teenage love – or LUV, as it were – and even now, if I heard one of them, I think I would stop whatever I was doing to sing into a hairbrush with great conviction and feeling. NO DOUBT ABOUT IT.

“Never Gonna Let You Go” – Sergio Mendes
“Sweet Love” – Anita Baker
“Can’t Fight This Feeling” – REO Speedwagon
“Faithfully” – Journey
“Open Arms” – Journey
“Every Woman In The World” – Air Supply
“Hello” – Lionel Richie
“Endless Love” – Lionel Richie and Diana Ross
“True” – Spandau Ballet
“You’re The Inspiration” – Chicago

It isn’t an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination, but my goodness. They don’t write love songs like they used to, do they?

And in all fairness, I should point out that “Sweet Love” is still every bit as awesome as it was back in 1987.

Just in case you need an idea for a song to dedicate to your beloved on Facebook, of course.

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  1. Sweet Love = Epic.

  2. A big one to dedicate when I was in Jr. High was “Friends are Friends Forever” by Michael W. Smith. In fact, I think I may have called & dedicated it to all my friends right before I moved away. Ahhh, the memories.

    • I cried meny tears over that song in middle school and high school! Lots of memories…Friday night at church camp. :)

  3. Oh, and Stuck on You by Lionel Richie???

    And the Theme to the Karate Kid by Chicago????

    I’m swooning just remembering…and wishing I could just strap on some skates and show my undying devotion to my husband through the love that was the couple skate :)

  4. So right. I remarked to someone a few weeks ago that this generation doesn’t seem to have the same caliber love songs… certainly not many of today’s hits could be used during a wedding ceremony. Can you just hear “My Life Would Suck Without You?”

  5. Don’t forget, “Baby Come Back”. That was a big one when I was in junior high/high school. Or, “Too Hot” by Kool & the Gang! LOL!

  6. Frydaddy says:

    You know this post was made for me. Just admit it.

    While I could go on with comments on this forever, I will keep it short and sweet (for now): Right Here Waiting by Richard Marx is a dedication staple, I tell you. A STAPLE.

  7. “Head Over Heels” by Tears for Fears. Because I was In. Love. (although he didn’t then, nor does he now, know my name)

  8. OH my gosh. I LOVE all of these songs.

  9. We were in the middle of a fantastically bad vacation in Perdido Key four years ago when we went looking for an equally dismal seafood restaurant. Delilah was on, and they played “How Deep is Your Love” AND “Islands in the Stream.” She gave some love advice, and our children fell in LOVE with her. To this day they beg us to search for her show on the radio. I’m pretty sure you can only find her in Perdido Key or DeFuniak Springs.

    But, oh the 80’s were pure gold for love songs. Thanks for this- a great way to end the evening.

    • I used to get Delilah way out here in San Diego. Haven’t thought about her in ages.

  10. Ah, the 80’s…I was slogging through my kids infant, toddler and early elementary school years. I have no idea what love songs were popular, and if I would have called in a dedication it might have been a Raffi song…

    I may or may not have called up the radio station once and dedicated Cherish by The Association or maybe it was Rainy Days and Mondays by the Carpenters.

    Yes, the late 60’s/early 70’s . I’m old.

  11. YES. I would add Right Here Waiting from Richard Marx and my personal favorite (immortalized on Friends with the DJ call in too), With or Without You, from U2. I had an ex-boyfriend call in and dedicate One More Try from George Michael to me once…*swoon*

  12. Oh the memories!!!!

  13. Our local Christian station still takes requests and dedications as does the local country station

  14. Oh how I remember laying in bed in the evening listening to the radio and hoping to hear a certain song and if I did, it surely was a sign from on-high about my love life! Such an innocent time to grow up, makes me sad for my daughters….does anyone even write love songs now? At least my 13 year old has discovered the wonder of Journey…..

  15. More like the late 70’s, early 80’s, in my case. Summer at the lake. We’d listen to Casey Kasem’s top 40 every week while writing down the list on a paper plate. (Oh, how I wish I had a count of how many paper plates we wasted with this task over the years.) And we’d listen to the letters listeners would send in dedicating songs to people they had lost touch with or broken up with or whatever. Tear jerking stuff, I tell you.
    The ones that take me back:
    I Go Crazy by Paul Davis
    Let’s Put Our Love Back Together by Denne and Gold
    (I’m sure you’re not familiar with that one. What joy when I found it on YouTube!
    Reunited by Peaches and Herb
    Best of My Love by The Eagles
    Just the Way You Are by Billy Joel
    Open Arms by Journey
    Long Time by Boston
    and all those slow songs by The BeeGees.
    I’ll stop now. I could go on and on as you can see…

    • dont’ forget Bread, Make it With you. Or Jim Croce’s Time in a Bottle. oh yeah.

  16. I mean, I don’t want to overstate it, but dedicating a song to someone on the radio meant that you were practically pre-engaged. It was a sign of undying devotion – or at least a sign of borderline obsession before the whole relationship went to pieces after a jealousy-fueled misunderstanding during a particularly emotional couple skate to “Hard to Say I’m Sorry.”

    One of the greatest sentences of our generation.

  17. Well, I suppose I know what youtube and I will be doing this morning. I may just have “Hello”, Lionel Ritchie on repeat. Because that is where it’s at. Can’t beat it. Although the “this one goes out to” song from my teen years would probably by the NSYNC version of “God must have spent a little more time on you.”

  18. A case of the nostalgia has overwhelmed me. It’s true! Gone are the days of fighting the phone lines to get through to the awesome DJ! And you bet your sweet southern tea that I will pump my fist into a microphone if no alternative is in reach when songs much like your entire list take me back. And now I feel like singing Kenny’s I Go Back.

    I’m a mess of emotion–all excited over the very thought of these CLASSIC love songs! They don’t even make the love songs like they used to. And I’m saddened at the end of the days of calling WFMF to request and dedicate songs. *HEAVY EXHAUSTED SIGH*

    By the way, did you ever call in even like, I don’t know–RIGHT AFTER a song played and try to dedicate it again? In my defense, I was late elementary/early Jr High age. See younger generation–we started this early. Sophie, today I shall grab a faux microphone whenever a song of old pops in my head. Or maybe I’ll tune in to the best of the 80s. And maybe even 70s. Because that’s where great music lived.

  19. My best friend and I wore the Anita Baker cassette slap out. Our favorite was “No One In The World.” Anita was and is a classic.

  20. “You’re the Inspiration” by Chicago is our song! My husband and I locked eyes when we heard that song on the radio on our very first date, and the rest is history! Thanks for the trip down memory lane =)

  21. You mustn’t forget “Love of a Lifetime” by Firehouse! I swore to my mom that song would be sung at my wedding. It wasn’t.

    • OHHHH, Love of a Lifetime has to be on this list. And a couples skate for that one too. This post and all these comments make me giggle. The 80’s truly were good times. The next generation has no clue what good music is!

  22. I gotta toss in Wind Beneath My Wings. But everything by Journey was just awesome every minute of the day!

  23. Oh, Boo. I’m fairly misty with nostalgia!!

  24. Jennifer says:

    And if it was true love, you’d have your big sister at the ready at the stereo to record it cassette. Of course, one time my dedication via the current/classic rock station did backfire in middle school. Rather than letting you choose a song, this one station just accepted blanket dedications. I called, “Yeah, I’d like to dedicate the next song to my boyfriend, Michael.” Unbeknownst to me, the next song in the cue was “Feel Like Makin’ Love.” Hardly appropriate…but my sister and friends got a hardly laugh at my expense.

  25. “Saved the Best for Last” by Vanessa Williams. Still makes me all fluttery.

  26. Elizabeth says:

    I feel the need to point out how instrumental radio DJs and love song dedications were in the Ross-Rachel “we were on a break” saga!

  27. Never Gonna Let You Go is not actually sung by Sergio Mendes. It’s sung by Joe Pizzulo and Leza Miller.

    This whole list is great. “True” gets me every time. Takes me right back to middle school. How about “Into the Night” by Benny Mardones? I’m still not entirely sure of its meaning but it’s such a passionate love song.

  28. Mary Kat's Mom says:

    This really isn’t a normal song dedication story but it is one of the funniest memories I have abou the 80s and music. I was working in a very tiny florist on Valentine’s Day of 1983 and that was about the time that Mylar balloons hit big! One very cool guy came in to get a balloon for his sweetie pie and he asked me to write “Sexual Healing” on the back in black marker. He said it was “their song” and he wanted to dedicate that wonderful Marvin Gaye song to her. All I could think is that he is dedicating a song on a baloon? ? ? That was a very awkward moment for me and gives me a giggle to this day!

  29. Sadly, this also reminds me of a post-Ross & Rachel breakup episode of Friends. Ross dedicated a song to RachelWas it With or Without You? And we all thought Rachel was calling Ross. And then the radio stopped the song, and the DJ said Rachel told them what Ross did? Good times. I still have plenty of laughs with my real life friends and husband over Friends episodes. Do you know what we talked about yesterday? The first season of Friends was 18 years ago!! It could vote! And in 2 years, it will have been OFF the air as long as it was ON! That is just crazy. But still, sometimes I burst into a giggle fit because something reminds me of an episode. Oh, Friends…

  30. Nelson's Mama says:

    Definitely older than you! High school – Leo Sayer – “When I Need You”!!!

  31. “Up Where We Belong”-fyi…I was a DJ during the 80s…oh the memories!!

  32. Oh my……….. This made my day! I also may or may not be slightly embarassed to say that a couple of these are already in my music library! :-)

  33. If only someone had not stolen (borrowed, really) all of your Anita Baker cassettes…

  34. AliciaM. says:

    Oh, the sweet memories. Madonna’s “Crazy for You”, Phil Collins’ “One More Night” and Steve Perry’s “Foolish Heart” take me right back to sitting by the radio waiting to press “record” on my cassette player! I remember my high school sweetie calling me to tell me to listen to the radio for a song he had dedicated to me on my sixteenth birthday – I felt like the luckiest girl in the world!

  35. This post caused me to add Bread to my Pandora listings.

  36. I Love Anita Baker. I would sit with my ear pressed to the speakers. And does anyone remember the song Superstar (Don’t you remember you told me you loved me Baby), It was originally done by the Carpenters but Luther Vandross had a phenomenal version. Oh and BTW anyone hear the new Lionel Richie CD called Tuskeegee. Has his old songs and he is singing along with country stars like Kenny (both Chesney and Rogers) Willie, Jimmy Buffet and others. Stuck on You is with Lionel and Darius Rucker which is a great song.. The best one I think is Easy with Lionel and Willie. So relaxing.

  37. I may be ever so slightly older than you ladies, but the song dedications and roller skating reference took me right back to my glory days. Yes ma’am – tube tops, satin pants, Lip Smackers, Love’s Baby Soft, and feathered hair. I still giggle when I hear “Three Times a Lady” because one disco-crazed evening at a “teen club” it was dedicated to me by Rex….Brent…..and Larry. Oops.

  38. This post is the best. About to go to iTunes and download some Air Supply!

    • Becky in 'Bama says:

      Air Supply #1 in my ’80’s song list. However, my prime was “The Monkees”, “The Carpenters” and do NOT forget “Nights in White Satin.” We would squeal and turn the radio up LOUD for that one. Yes, I am old. Gone, too, are the days of the transistor radio by the pool listening for favorites… sad for this generation of kids.

  39. Those were better times. Ugh, that made me sound so old. I’m new to reading your blog and love it!

  40. We got married on June 21, 1980 and sang “Longer” by Dan Fogleburg (sp?) to each other at our wedding. It is still our song.

    “Truly” by Lionel Ritchie is another great love song.

  41. Is it just me, or is almost every stinkin’ song from the 80’s “feel good music”? I mean, seriously. They truly don’t make ’em like that anymore.

  42. C Smith says:

    I’m old enough to remember when we would request a song and then wait impatiently for it to play so that we could push the record button and record it on a tape to make our own “mixed tape”.

  43. Julie Reynolds says:

    Wow this is such a great post!! Note i’m off to Pandora to relive my skating/drive in movie memories. Thanks Sophie, you made me smile…again!

  44. Heather says:

    I was just talking to my husband last night about this very thing. And recording the radio when my favorite song came (Your my Inspiration). And talking on the phone to my friends about the songs and dedications playing on the radio. Seriously, those were awesome days and music like no other!

  45. This post? It made me smile :)! Might I add, “Truly” to the list. Also by Lionel Ritchie? Whenever I sang that song into my curling brush, I may or may not have substituted the word “girl” for the name “Brad” (the good looking boy in my church youth group with tennis legs). By the way, since Lionel was very popular on your dedication list, have you heard his new *old* cd? Sophie, you need it! I think it will bring a smile to your face as it does mine…especially when I hear “Truly.” :)

  46. They’ll Never Tear Us Apart by INXS…. swoon….

  47. I love this post…those were the good ole days…those were/still the best love songs ever. I can still sing every word of those songs when they come on the radio. Thanks for the memories!

  48. Prince – When Doves Cry. I never dedicated it to anyone but myself. Because I was filled with teen angst.

    Can’t wait to read your book. :)

  49. What about “Babe” by Styx? It was a breakup song…which means that it got played just as much!

    • Yes. This one was playing when I dropped my fiance off to catch the bus for boot camp. It made me cry every time I heard it when he was gone.

  50. You can’t forget “At This Moment” by Billy Vera and the Beaters! I would sit for hours in my room with my finger over the “record” button on my stereo just so I could capture it on tape!

    • Becky in 'Bama says:

      thanks for the reminder of the days we tape recorded stuff off the radio. I was too poor (actually my parents were the poor ones) to run out and buy the latest record (insert CD here) or ’45’ (insert MP3 down load here). Boy things change. The only expendable $$ I had was what I earned babysitting. My parents did not freely hand out cash to us four children. Yes, I’m old.

  51. I just might have dedicated one to 7 of those songs in my day. Love.IT.

  52. I have a very distinct memory of waiting until it had, indeed, been “seven hours and fifteen days” since he took his love away from me (super drama!) and calling in to request that song. Crying, crying, crying while it played. Oh…never would I want to go back to those years!
    But the music? Nothing like it. At. All.

  53. Soph- You were probably off at MSU by then, but my 11th and some of 12th grade years of high school, I worked at Q101 as the dedication hour girl. Yes, Journey and Chicago were the most requested, but there was always Whitesnake, Debbie Gibson, Terence Trent d’Arby (I loved saying that name), and sweet mercy, let’s not forget Tiffany. My little brothers would tape me at home on their boom boxes. Great memories. Steph

  54. Judy in MI says:

    I’m older than you too, and I have two words to say…Boz Scaggs baby! Ok, that’s three words.

  55. Marie M.C. says:

    When memories of the past become sweet . . . you know you’re getting ooolder. Like when you were 15 you never said: “Oh, those songs when I was 5 were so great.” Just wait until you’re 68! The memories get even better . . . ’cause you’ll have even more of them! p.s. My song memories go back to the 1940s and 1950s — think Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Nat King Cole, The Ink Spots, The Mills Brothers. My teenage years: Elvis, The Everly Bros., Pat Boone, The Righteous Brothers. The Hippie Era: Think Bob Dylan. Abba — and PLENTLY more — were somewhere in there. Hey, I’m so old I need to go check my VINYL records to see what I was listening to! And yes, we’d call up a radio station and request a dedication to a boyfriend.

  56. Anything Journey. Anything!

  57. Oh dear, the memories…if I just THINK about the song “All Cried Out” (Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam), I get this very angsty feeling in the pit of my stomach.

    (Also “Hard Habit To Break” and “Right Here Waiting”.)

    Why am I suddenly feeling the need to put on some blue eye shadow?

  58. love this post AND the comments. Yay for good songs :-)

  59. Oh, this was awesome. And I hope that all of this “dedication” talk took you out of your head for a spell? I agree with those who added in Phil Collins and Richard Marx. I just can’t think of 80’s dedications without thinking of those two.

  60. What a list! All of those songs make me long for a good couples skate.

    I’m currently developing a theory on how Alannis Morrissete killed the radio dedication. Right now its just in the hypothesis stage.