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'There may have been tears': musical couples share their special songs

Melody Lau

Music can play a big role in a relationship.

Songs soundtrack memorable moments and, sometimes, just hearing one can make you think of that someone special. To celebrate Valentine's Day, we asked some musicians — some of whom perform alongside their loved one — about that one song that they call their own. What's the one track that, whenever it comes on, they'll look at each other, smile and exclaim, "That's our song!"

See what the Dears, Walk Off the Earth, Raine Maida and more have to say below, and share your songs with us @CBCMusic.

The Dears’ Natalia Yanchak: ‘Baby I Love Your Way’ by Big Mountain

“There was a while, especially in the early '00s, when [my bandmate and husband Murray Lightburn] and I would be together and this song would come on, like at the grocery store or on the radio. One of us would be like, 'Are you hearing this?' It's important to note that we are not talking about the original version by Peter Frampton, but the 1994 reggae-style version by Big Mountain, that gained popularity from the movie Reality Bites.

"Anyway, the sentiment is there: we do want to be with each other night and day, while the ridiculous '90s production, saxophone solo, fretless bass and unnecessary modulation at the end always make both of us laugh. We immediately promised each other that if we ever had a big wedding party, this would be our song.”

Walk Off the Earth’s Sarah Blackwood and Gianni Luminati: ‘re: Stacks’ by Bon Iver

“When we first started making videos together, we would listen to this Bon Iver album (For Emma, Forever Ago) and make out on the studio couch — still do!”

Begonia’s Alexa Dirks: ‘The Closer I Get to You’ by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway

"Well first of all, these are two of my favourite singers of all time. Secondly, my boyfriend Seth had this ‘90s Plymouth van that he bought when we first started dating and it only played tapes. One of my first gifts to him was a bunch of tapes I took the time to hand-pick from an amazing local independent music store called Into the Music (shout out!). He really gravitated towards this Roberta Flack tape and it was always playing whenever we would go for drives.

"It makes me smile whenever I hear this song because I think about the beginning of our relationship and about him in that piece of shit van with all the windows down, blasting this song. The van is sitting in our back lane, pretty much dead now, but our love is still going strong!"

Alana Yorke: ‘Green Eyes’ by Coldplay

"The first song that was a really special moment for us [Yorke and Ian Bent] as a couple was 'Green Eyes' by Coldplay. When we were first together, we lived in what we called 'the little house' for a summer and it was a magical little paradise on a tidal river with apple trees and chimes and a view of the Bay of Fundy. One evening, after dinner, that song was playing and we just spontaneously got up from the table and slow-danced in the kitchen without saying a word. There may have been tears. It might have been followed by a rainbow on the front stoop. Possibly a double rainbow. It’s not a song we’ve listened to much since, but going back to it now, the words have just as much meaning as they did then, maybe more. When you find someone that you can love and lean on completely, it changes everything."

Our Lady Peace’s Raine Maida: ‘Holocene’ by Bon Iver

"Bon Iver’s 'Holocene' has become a staple for [my wife Chantal Kreviazuk] and I and extended down to include our kids. We discovered this song years ago while driving through cottage country in Northern Ontario very early one spring morning. The beauty of the sparse arrangement, soft vocals and acoustic timber was the perfect soundtrack so we kept it on repeat. Memories flood back of that misty, peaceful morning every time we hear 'Holocene.' It’s become somewhat of a family meditation."

Dan Mangan: ‘Won’t Let Go’ by David Bazan

"I wish so badly that I wrote this song. I’m not usually one for love songs but this one just kills me. The line in the second verse: ‘I humbly acknowledge that I won’t always get my way but darling death will have to pry my fingers loose, 'cause I will not let go.’ It hits close to home because it’s about travelling and being away from your family, but it’s such a beautiful piece of work. I’ve covered this song a bunch of times at concerts."

Pup’s Nestor Chumak: ‘The Reasons’ by the Weakerthans

"The first show [my wife Carly] and I went to together was the Weakerthans at the Phoenix. It was maybe our third or fourth date. ‘The Reasons’ is the perfect song to hear when you are falling in love, giving words to the wonderful feeling you can't describe other than ‘I’m so glad that you exist.’"

Lindi Ortega: ‘We Belong Together’ by Los Lobos

"When I first met my husband I was pretty crafty and put on my own curated romance playlist of songs to set the mood. There was an outdoor fire and I was really into him. We danced to this song by the fire and got engaged three months later, and married a year to the day we met. I think this song had something to do with it. It's from my favourite movie, La Bamba, and I think Los Lobos do such a beautiful job covering this Ritchie Valens hit."

Rhye: ‘Gosh’ by Jamie XX

"We were listening to this in the desert, driving. Whenever the bass note hit anything that was a light source behind us, it would create this weird anomaly where light would turn into a circle in the rear-view mirror. We always reference it as being mystical."

Donovan Woods: 'Me at the Museum, You in the Winter Gardens' by Tiny Ruins

"My partner Meredith Cheesbrough and I did a lot of sad and hopeful listening to this song when we were away from each other. We felt like it was about waiting for that elusive 'good part' of your life to start. The part when, suddenly, you’ll be with the one you love, all will be calm and beautiful, and you’ll have good jobs in cultural institutions that aren’t all that hard."

More to explore:

Love & marriage: the 30 best songs for an indie wedding playlist

The 11 creepiest 'love' songs of all time

Haim, Tegan and Sara, Paul Shaffer, more: musicians share their favourite break-up songs