For decades, love, in all its permutations, has proven among rock and roll's most powerful tonics. From blissful to bawdy, artists have regaled listeners with memorable tales of romance that have inspired and infuriated, giving the language of love a bold voice in the process.
Through February 17, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, is sharing the love with a special self-guided tour highlighting artifacts that relate rock's more romantic side. Visitors to the Rock Hall on February 14 will be treated to a special curator-led version of the tour, which covers the Beatles, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Sex Pistols, U2 and more.
Among the artifacts featured are the handwritten lyrics to the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows," written by Tony Asher and Brian Wilson, and appearing on 1966's Pet Sounds. Wilson originally disliked the opening line of the song, “I may not always love you,” feeling it was “too negative." After hearing the rest of Asher's lyrics, however, he changed his mind. “God Only Knows” was one of the first pop songs to use the word “god” in its title, and though he feared the worst, Wilson decided to keep the title because “god” is a spiritual word and because the Beach Boys would be making ground-breaking music. In the end, Paul McCartney, whose own music (specifically the Beatles' Rubber Soul) had provided much of the impetus for Pet Sounds, declared it the best song ever written.
Also on the tour is a Les Paul and Mary Ford wedding photo from December 29, 1949, located in the Museum's Architects of Rock and Roll – The New Sound: Les Paul and the Electric Guitar exhibit. Paul and Ford are one of rock's more wholesome love affairs, meeting in early 1945 when Ford (real name Colleen Summers) auditioned for a singing gig with Paul. The pair were married four years later. By the mid 1950s, the duo had more than a dozen Top 10 hits, including "Tennessee Waltz," "How High the Moon" and "Vaya Con Dios."
WATCH: The story behind Jimi Hendrix's "Love Drops" guitar, one of the artifacts in the Rock Hall's "Love Rocks" tour and part of the Rock Hall's Jimi Hendrix featured exhibit.