What’s Love Got to Do With It?

Tina Turner’s song, “What’s Love Got to Do with It?”[1] moves me. She asks

What’s love got to do, got to do with it
What’s love but a second hand emotion
What’s love got to do, got to do with it
Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?

When I first heard this, it made me feel angry and cynical, thinking the whole idea of Love and Romance is just a rip-off, an artificial (“second-hand”) emotion created by forcing the energy of simple healthy lust into approved social roles. I wanted to get back to dealing only with the fundamental energy, the primal urge.

You must understand how the touch of your hand
Makes my pulse react
That it’s only the thrill of boy meeting girl
Opposites attract
It’s physical
Only logical

But eventually I admitted to myself the song was also about the longing for something more.

You must try to ignore that it means more than that

Something essential to me, something that turns me on in a way that feels right. Something our culture doesn’t understand. Did we used to, have we lost it … so that not only is lust unrespectable but in addition, love has become a fairy tale …?

Or when we call that something more “love” are we deluding ourselves with an old-fashioned notion—as though it has something to do with what religion teaches? What is romantic love, anyway?


[1] Written by Graham Lyle and Terry Britten. Released by Capitol Records in 1984, on a 45 rpm single vinyl recording and on the album Private Dancer.

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