I sent a request out to a variety of people--different ages, demographics, orientation, income levels and professions--to send me a list of sexy songs. Initially, I thought I might have to throw out some of the responses because people listed songs that aren't usually thought of as sexy. But, instead of omitting anything, I broadened the definition of sexy to include songs beyond those that sound like '70s blue-movie soundtracks and are stimulating because of thoughtful lyrics, the memories evoked or that strike an emotional chord simply because of the melody. A song that appeals to the brain and the heart can be pretty damn sexy, too. Some songs speak for themselves, but in several of the responses, the writer included a short explanation as to why a particular tune is high on their sexy song list.
Simply Sexy Songs
"Any song ever recorded by Barry White."
"'At Last My Love Has Come Along' performed by Ella Fitzgerald."
"'Freeek' by George Michael. It's a bust out the leather, lace, whips and chains kind of song."
"'Let's Get It On' by Marvin Gaye."
"'Loving Cup' by the Rolling Stones, from Exile on Main Street. This song works every time. Just like Mick and Keith intended it to."
"'Overlap' by Ani Difranco is one of the sexiest songs ever, especially the live version on Living in Clip. It just has this wanting tone to it: Come here/stand in front of the light/stand still/so I can see your silhouette/I hope/you have got all night/'cause I'm not done looking,/no, I'm not done looking yet."
"'Possibly Maybe' by Bjork. It's a coy come-on song about anticipation."
"Radiohead does a version of 'Nobody Does It Better.' Carly Simon's original version is a classic, but Thom Yorke's voice has a stab of yearning that makes me melt a little every time I hear that song."
"'Sexual Healing' by Marvin Gaye. It's hard to beat the original but Ben Harper's version is awesome."
"'The Sound of Violence' by Cassius. The title of the song is a little rough, but lyrics like 'I feel like I wanna be inside of you,' are so sexy."
"'This Is Not A Love Song' by Nouvelle Vague. It's a sexy martini-lounge song sung in a French accent."
Emotionally Sexy Songs
"'Black Velvet' by Alannah Myles. I used to run home every day after school to watch the video on MTV."
"'Money for Nothing' by Dire Straits. My best friend's girlfriend seduced me to this song. Every time I hear it, I remember that night and her smell."
"'One' by U2. It's about a guy working through the last stages of a split with someone. I get all misty eyed when I hear it in concert because it reminds me of times like that and moving on to bigger and better things."
"'Personal Jesus' by Depeche Mode. My girlfriend made me a 60-minute cassette tape of that song repeated over and over."
"'Say Yes' by Elliott Smith. I love this song because it spoke to me when I was perfectly alone and horribly desperate for romance."
"'Soma' by Smashing Pumpkins. Think high school: make-out sessions in my truck, Nag Champa burning, hormones raging, curfew calling, endless groping and then the sun rises."
"'Laura's Theme' from Dr. Zhivago. A long time ago, I was madly in love with this gorgeous blue-eyed blond. I had skiied all day and then we went to see Dr. Zhivago. I fell asleep five minutes into the movie, not from boredom but from exhaustion. My date made me listen to the song over and over."
Surprisingly Sexy Songs
"'Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone' by Bill Withers."
"'Alone in Kyoto' by Air."
"'Baby Did A Bad, Bad Thing' by Chris Isaak."
"'Ballrooms on Mars' by T-Rex."
"'Beethoven's 5th Symphony.' The third movement brings me to tears every time I hear it."
"'Cowgirl in the Sand' by Neil Young."
"'Far Away Eyes' by the Rolling Stones, from the album Some Girls. It's not a flattering song for the females, per se, but you'd be surprised how many ladies can relate to the title role."
"'The House of the Rising Sun' by The Animals and 'Lay, Lady, Lay' by Bob Dylan. They both just have a vibe."
"The song 'I Don't Blame You' by Cat Power is completely endearing and chokes me up. It's about Kurt Cobain from the standpoint of someone who admired him and seemed to understand him as a person and artist and not as some kind of crass pop culture icon."
"'I Put a Spell on You' by Nina Simone."
"'Just Like Heaven' and 'Love Cats' by the Cure."
"'Misery is a Butterfly' by Blonde Redhead."
"'Moment in Paradise' by ELO."
"'Moondance' by Van Morrison."
"'Radar Love' by Golden Earring."
"'Shine A Light' by Spiritualized, from Live at Royal Albert Hall. It's not a cover of the Rolling Stones tune of the same name. It's a sad, noisy dirge that swells into a giant pseudo-religious lust puddle by the closing chords. I heard it once in a very emotional time, and it digs just as deep today."
"'Stairway to Heaven' by Led Zeppelin. I think this song is less sexy and more romantic as I typically do not think of songs as sexy unless they make me want to dry hump mid-air."
"'White Ladder' by David Gray."
If there are songs on this list you haven't heard, go track them down and give them a listen. Imagine the mix tape these songs would make ...