Those days are gone forever, I should just let them go,
But I can see you, your brown skin shining in the sun,
You got the top pulled down and radio on, baby.
I can tell you, my love for you will still be strong
After the boys of summer have gone.
—Don Henley, "The Boys of Summer"
Once, long ago, Alice shared special moments with someone she loves. She's moved on, but that won't stop her from singing a bittersweet song about her fond memories of that time. Often it takes the form of a ballad recounting specific details e.g. "the sound of the stereo, the dim of the soft lights, the scent of your hair that you twirled in your fingers
Being built on bittersweet emotions, a Love Nostalgia Song
has a kind of emotional universality: it can be depressing to one listener and happy or hopeful to another. This can help it to resonate with a wide audience.
A Music Trope
. Compare Love Will Lead You Back
, when the narrator has not moved on and still believes their lover will return.
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- Deana Carter - "Strawberry Wine". The titular strawberry wine is among the memories she shared with her teenage love:
Strawberry wine, seventeen / The hot July moon saw everything / My first taste of love, oh, bittersweet...
- Sarah Buxton — "Innocence"
- Garth Brooks - "Every Time That It Rains":
If we ever had a flame now it's over / And only the memory remains / Of a roadside cafe, on a September day / I relive every time that it rains
- As well as "That Summer":
I often think about that summer / The sweat, the moonlight, and the lace / And I have rarely held another / When I haven't seen her face
Looking back on the memory of / The dance we shared 'neath the stars above / For a moment all the world was right / How could I have known that you'd ever say goodbye?
- Taylor Swift - "Tim McGraw", "All Too Well", "Last Kiss", "Back to December"
- Trisha Yearwood - "Georgia Rain"
- Keith Anderson, "Every Time I Hear Your Name" and "I Still Miss You". The latter is basically a more open-ended rewrite of the former that could also just be about a good friend.
- At the end of "Me and Bobby McGee", popularized by Janis Joplin, it reveals that Bobby is gone and the rest of the song was all memories:
One day up near Salinas, I let him slip away,
He's looking for that home and I hope he finds it...
- Eric Church - "Springsteen"
- Lady Antebellum — "Dancing Away with My Heart"
- Jake Owen — "Barefoot Blue Jean Night" and "The One That Got Away"
- Joshua Stevens — "Rock & Roll and Pensacola"
- Tim McGraw - "Something Like That"
- Pam Tillis — "Maybe It Was Memphis"
- Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert — "We Were Us"
- Dannii Minogue - "You Won't Forget About Me"
- Deadmau5 ft. Kaskade - "I Remember"
- Everything But The Girl - "Missing"
- Alexia - "Me and You"
- Rockell - "When I'm Gone"(leaning toward Love Will Lead You Back)
- Stevie B - "Spring Love" and "If You Leave Me Now"
- Bryan Adams - the second verse of "Summer of '69":
Standin' on your mama's porch,
You told me that you'd wait forever,
Oh and when you held my hand,
I knew that it was now or never,
Those were the best days of my life.
- Dashboard Confessional - "Hands Down"
- Better Than Ezra - "Good" ("Uh-huh, it was good living with you...")
- Marillion - "Kayleigh"
- The Kinks - "Days"
- The Academy Is - "Everything We Had" ("Take the pain out of love and the love won't exist...")
- "After the Last Midtown Show"
- Barenaked Ladies - "In The Car"
- Green Day - "Whatshername"
- Gin Blossoms' "Hey Jealousy" mixes love nostalgia with self-loathing and a hint of hope of starting something new:
It might not be that bad / You were the best I ever had / If I hadn't blown the whole thing years ago / I might not be alone
- Blink-182's "Feeling This", recalling memories of sex with an ex-lover.
This place was never the same again / After you came and went
- Meat Loaf has "What About Love" and "It's All Coming Back to Me Now."
- Mayday Parade - "Three Cheers for Five Years"
- All Time Low - "Circles". ("Come back to the place we knew before/retrace our steps to the basement door/I'll ask you if the rain still makes you smile.")