NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -In the teen movie “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” one character advises his buddy, “When it comes down to making out, whenever possible, put on side one of Led Zeppelin IV.”

Country Music Television has come up with its own list of can’t-miss love songs, but it doesn’t include Zeppelin.

Topping the 100 greatest love songs is Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You,” a song she took to No. 1 on the country chart in 1974. The tune got a rebirth 18 years later when Whitney Houston made it a No. 1 pop hit and it was featured in the movie “The Bodyguard.”

Parton wasn’t immediately available for comment, but in 1998 she told CMT about a woman who stopped her in an airport and thanked her for writing the lyrics.

“The lady’s father was dying of cancer, and he had never been able to tell his family how much he loved them,” Parton said. “When he heard the song, he went out and bought the cassette and brought each of his children in individually and played the song for them. He said, “These are the words I want you to know are in my heart.”‘

Parton called the encounter “one of the proudest moments of my life.”

CMT released the list Wednesday at a concert in which the top 12 were performed.

Parton was scheduled to be there, as were Kenny Rogers, Randy Travis, Lee Ann Womack, Joe Nichols, and Michael McDonald, among others. McDonald, a pop and rock singer with a deep, soulful voice, was to perform Nelson’s song.

“It’s a beautiful song,” McDonald said. “It expresses one of those great sentiments. There’s no one out there who hasn’t experienced that.”

The two-hour concert will air Sunday on CMT at 8 p.m. and will be preceded by a four-hour documentary about the songs.

The selection process was loose. A team at CMT came up with the list, trying to capture “the full breadth and scope of country music’s rich history of love songs – in their many aspects,” a spokeswoman said.

Performing someone else’s signature song is both an honor and a challenge, said Nichols, who co-hosted the concert with Evans and teamed with Womack for the duet “Golden Ring.”

“It’s hard not to try to sing like that person, not to do their same mannerisms,” Nichols said.

Nichols added that with the possible exception of drinking, there is no more common theme in country music than love.

Love songs resonate with listeners in all genres, McDonald said, because “nothing permeates everything we do more than that. It’s kind of what drives us, really. There is so much about it. You can never exhaust the subject.”



On the Net:

http://www.cmt.com

AP-ES-06-09-04 2235EDT



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