March 14, 2009

“You were Romeo, you were throwing pebbles . . .

Posted by at 6:14 am in Music | Permalink

Romeoandjuliet_130  . . . And my daddy said, ‘Stay away from Juliet.’”

I’m going to go out on a limb, and guess that most of you immediately recognized that quote from Taylor Swift’s hit song “Love Story,” about a girl who falls for someone her father doesn’t approve of. The song is infinitely catchy (seriously, I can’t even begin to tell you how frequently it gets stuck in my head), and the Romeo and Juliet theme of forbidden love is universal. So universal, in fact, that for decades (and centuries!) songwriters have been turning to Romeo and Juliet as inspiration. Here are five songs throughout the ages all about this famous pair:

1. Romeo and Juliet by Tchaikovsky
In the 1870s, Tchaikovsky (you know, the guy who wrote the ballet The Nutcracker) wrote an overture titled “Romeo and Juliet.” I don’t know if I’ve ever heard it or not — I didn’t know about the piece until I found it doing a Google search while writing this entry. But the love theme from it was in the TV shows The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Spongebob Squarepants and the video game The Sims, so chances are that I’ve heard it and just never knew! 

2. “Love Story” by Taylor Swift
“You were Romeo, you were throwing pebbles / And my daddy said, ‘Stay away from Juliet.’”

3. “Fever” by Peggy Lee
“Romeo loved Juliet / Juliet, she felt the same / When he put his arms around her / He said, ‘Julie, baby, you’re my flame.’”

Going back to when your grandparents were your age (if they were your age in 1958), Peggy Lee’s song “Fever” was climbing up the US pop chart. This jazzy song uses Romeo + Juliet and Captain Smith + Pocahontas to characterize the great loves throughout history.

4. “Romeo and Juliet” by Dire Straits
“A love-struck Romeo sings the streets a serenade / Laying everybody low with a love song that he made”

Jumping up to when your parents were young (I know it’s hard to imagine, but they weren’t always the old, boring people you know) there was a different hit Romeo and Juliet song, this one by Dire Straits. Dire Straits was one of the first bands to embrace music videos when they started to get popular in 1985. But this love song about a street musician from 1980 predates music videos.

5. “Check Yes Juliet” by We The Kings
“Check yes Juliet / Are you with me? / Rain is falling down on the sidewalk / I won’t go until you come outside”

Sorry, Taylor, this is my favorite current-day song about Romeo and Juliet. We The Kings are a power pop band from Florida, and “Check Yes Juliet” is bouncy, fun song in which Romeo sings up at Juliet in her window, asking her to run away with him.

Which Romeo and Juliet song is your favorite? Can you think of some I missed? Let me know in the comments! (Alternatively, you can just tell me all about how much you love Taylor Swift. That’s totally okay too.)

— Carly H., STACKS Staffer

  1. 34

    Run baby run
    Don’t ever look back
    They’ll tear us apart if you give them the chance
    Don’t sell your heart, don’t say we’re not meant to be
    Run baby run, forever will be
    You and me
    Hated Romeo and Juliet when we first read it, then loved it!

  2. Ha.

    Wow, Taylor Swift’s song IS catchy, but I can’t really stand the fact that she rewrote something so universal as “Romeo and Juliet” just so she could fit it into her song. I mean, “Romeo and Juliet” DOES NOT fit “Love Story” at all. It’s a tragedy, not romance. Anyone who has really read “Romeo and Juliet” (and I don’t mean heard of it… I mean the book) can see that very few of the events described in Swift’s song is accurate.

  3. gj0984

    My opinion is that Small Steps by louis sacher should be a movie.This book is like a sequel to HOLES

  4. Wolfsong11

    love that song!!! …. you could be the prince andill be the princess baby just say yes… sorry i just love it

  5. meepah

    omg!!! that taylor swift song is totaly ANNOYING!!! I mean, the song rocks, and it’s cool, but IT.IS.ANNOYING.AS.HECK!!!I have heard it on 6(6!!!!) diff radio stations… in 3 days!!! bllaagggg!!! ;(

  6. jazmine

    i love both songs but mike wat taylor was saying was that its ok to be who you want to be with no matter wat she changes things around though

  7. mike

    taylor swifts song is so incorrect!! if you read romeo and juliet then you know that it is not a story about happiness and all that stuff,its about tragedy and death, her song has it all wrong! and at the end when the lyrics say”i talked to your dad,go pick out a white dress”!? that is totally wrong, Lord Capulet would never allow a Montague to marry his daughter..

  8. avidreader (Azzie)

    omg i LOVE taylor she’s AWSOME! its been my fav song for like EVER and when i read the title of the blog entry i sorta spazzed and started singin it really loud… all of my friends r sick of me singing it but i dont understand how they CAN b/c its absolutely AMAZING!!
    luv u guys!

  9. Reader15girl

    I think Taylor Swift s version is the cutest
    it puts a twist on the Romeo and Juliet story and ends it as a romance instead of a tragedy with completely happy ending, (like this one movie called Magical Legend of The Leprechauns did, which this song so would have worked for)
    But I dont
    It isnt a love story we studied it in school
    Shakespere was trying to teach people about hatred and holding grudges so long that not only are they fighting for a reason the two families cant even remember but they also were so hateful towards each other that the destroyed the chance of ending it and they destroyed Juliet who was totally innocent of all of it and just wanted to marry Romeo.
    Even Romeo kills her cousin in a fight which causes him to be tossed out of the city and causes both of them to do something drastic that neither of them can take back.
    It was just sad.
    They didnt even really know each other but they liked what they did know but because of centuries of hatred their families destroyed the two people who wanted to end the feud once and for all

  10. Jennifer

    I don’t really get the Romeo and Juliet story for I understand that tye were in love and that eached died for each other… but i don’t understand why their families were fighting in the first place?

  11. 55mintchoclatechip

    Are you a total Taylor Swift lover… I know i am! If you love her songs and are inspired say i. I am taking a count!

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