Medieval Romance

As long as marriage has existed, so too has adultery and engaging in an adulterous relationship was seen as normal behavior by standards of olden times.  Medieval concepts of marriage felt that a woman belonged to man, she was his property, and this created a double standard where women received humiliating penalties if they were deemed to be adulterous wives, while their adulterous husbands were free to have a wide range of sexual relations, providing it was not with someone else’s wife.  The legend of King Arthur is about a warrior king who lived in Camelot and hung out around a Round Table with a fellowship of Knights and this still fascinates people today.  The adventures of the legendary King Arthur were told and retold between the 11th and 15th centuries in hundreds of manuscripts in at least a dozen languages.

Arthur married Guinevere and he had a traitorous nephew named Mordred and also there is a wizard named Merlin.  I don’t think that there is any need to mention the Holy Grail, or Excalibur the sword in the stone as this is about the knight Lancelot and his love for Guinevere.  The very idea of an adulterous relationship between Lancelot and Guinevere comes from the idea of courtly love which was generally held to be true.  The love of the knight for his lady was regarded as an ennobling passion and a relationship like this was typically unconsummated, but in literature courtly lovers had to engage in adulterous relationships if they ever wished to enjoy the fruits of true love.  Love in the fifteenth century is overly sexual in nature and usually once it is consummated, it disappears.

Sir Lancelot was the greatest knight of the Round Table and Arthur’s most trusted ally, but it was his illicit love for Queen Guinevere that made him famous.  Queen Guinevere and Lancelot felt romantic love for one another, but their love was not based on sex, so it was enduring and faithful.  Love in those days was not love as it is nowadays, so Guinevere’s love for Lancelot is a product of a time in which lovers felt respect and admiration for one another.  In some early versions of the legend, Guinevere spurns Lancelot, but later versions of the story extended Lancelot and Guinevere’s love into a full-blown affair, which in the end brought down the Round Table and ushered in the end of Arthur’s reign after the brave Lancelot rescued the queen, who had been condemned to burn at the stake.

Today is the Lancelot & Guinevere love theme on Love Is In Da Blog and we are asked to find a love rock song and/or write a Hir a Thoddaid poem about love.  I am going to write about The Pretenders song ‘I’ll Stand By You’ that was written by songwriting partners Thomas Kelly and Billy Steinberg along with Christine Hynde.  It was recorded in 1994 on The Pretenders sixth studio album Last of the Independents and it charted #10 in the UK and made it to #16 in the US.  Billy Steinberg was a poet and the he started writing songs after he learned how to play guitar and Linda Ronstadt covered his song ‘How Do I Make You’ and she had a top ten hit with it.  Billy had a couple of other songs that were covered by Pat Benatar and he got to know her producer Keith Olsen.  One day in 1981, Keith invited Billy to a party and that is where he met Tom Kelly who was a very prominent session singer in L.A. and he was also a songwriter.  Tom was a musician and he could create melodies, whereas Billy was much better with lyrics.  Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg wrote many hit songs, like the Cyndi Lauper song ‘True Colors’, the Bangles ‘Eternal Flame’ and the Madonna song ‘Like A Virgin’.

Billy and Tom didn’t have a publisher, but the worked with Jason Dauman who, for a commission, was willing to provide some of the service that a publisher would.  Billy said that Jason asked him who he would you like to collaborate with and as a joke he said, “Prince, Bruce Springsteen and Chrissie Hynde”, because they were three of his favorite songwriters.  Jason took it seriously and a little while later he called Billy and said, “Chrissie Hynde wants to write with you and Tom”.  Billy got a phone call from this woman who said, “Billy, this is Chrissie Hynde”, and he thought somebody was pulling his leg, but after a minute of conversation it was quite clear that Chrissie was on the other end of the telephone.  Chrissie told him that she wanted a hit and this song did really for the three of them.  Hynde joined Steinberg and Kelly in Los Angeles and they wrote six songs together.  When Chrissie plays this live, it’s one of the songs that gets the strongest response.

Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde has been called the “high priestess of badass rock ‘n’ roll” according to Q magazine of Britain, but in this timeless classic about love and faithfulness in times of trouble, she comes off as being caring, sensitive and loyal.  Hynde was initially disappointed with the track, but when she played it for a couple of girls who weren’t in the music business and they ended up in tears, she decided to put it out.  The universality of the lyrics that Steinberg feared were too soft and generic is exactly what makes ‘I’ll Stand by You’ such a special song.  The highlight of the song is the lyrics and Chrissie Hynde’s unique vocals.  People have said that if you can feel love in someone’s voice, that this song approaches something close to what it would sound like.  This song takes quite a musical journey from the beginning to the end, as in the beginning it is a tender love song, but at the end it becomes a full-out rock jam.

Oh, why you look so sad?
Tears are in your eyes
Come on and come to me now
Don’t be ashamed to cry
Let me see you through

‘Cause I’ve seen the dark side too
When the night falls on you
You don’t know what to do
Nothing you confess
Could make me love you less

I’ll stand by you
I’ll stand by you
Won’t let nobody hurt you
I’ll stand by you

So if you’re mad, get mad
Don’t hold it all inside
Come on and talk to me now
Hey, what you got to hide?
I get angry too

Well I’m a lot like you
When you’re standing at the crossroads
And don’t know which path to choose
Let me come along
‘Cause even if you’re wrong

I’ll stand by you
I’ll stand by you
Won’t let nobody hurt you
I’ll stand by you
Take me in, into your darkest hour
And I’ll never desert you
I’ll stand by you

And when
When the night falls on you, baby
You’re feeling all alone
You won’t be on your own

I’ll stand by you
I’ll stand by you
Won’t let nobody hurt you

I’ll stand by you
Take me in, into your darkest hour
And I’ll never desert you
I’ll stand by you
I’ll stand by you
Won’t let nobody hurt you
I’ll stand by you
Won’t let nobody hurt you
I’ll stand by you
I’ll stand by you
Won’t let nobody hurt you
I’ll stand by you
Take me in, into your darkest hour
And I’ll never desert you
I’ll stand by you

Written for Love Is In Da Blog 2021 Great Love Stories Lancelot & Guinevere where today you can find a love rock song and/or write a Hir a Thoddaid poem about love.

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