It says “love” in the title, but it’s not exactly romantic

Some things you just can’t explain.

Like, with Christmas approaching, you’d think my dominant earworm would be “Ding Dong Merrily on High” or “Deck the Halls.” Hell, I get “Deck the Halls” in my head all year, every time I do laundry, but for some reason, no matter how often I pop in my Mannheim Steamroller CD, the only song I’ve been hearing for a month has been Head East’s “Love Me Tonight.”

It’s like the doctor implanted the track into my brain at the same time he was implanting a fake knee into my leg.

If you’re not familiar with “Love Me Tonight,” I’m not surprised. Head East was a fairly arcane group back in the 1970s. Midwestern fan base, mostly. Which is why so many of my friends had the album “Flat as a Pancake.” Midwestern kids loved Midwestern bands. Styx, REO Speedwagon. Cheap Trick.

“Love Me Tonight” is the third song on side one. It’s a first-person account of a rock star who’s driven two hundred miles to a place he’s never seen, where he meets a woman that he’s enamored with even though he doesn’t know where she comes from and whose face he’ll probably never see again.

Not a problem. He’s seen enough and, it turns out, he’s resourceful when it comes to making use of the materials on hand:

I don’t know where you’ve been
And I don’t know who you’ve had in
But I know you’ve got
Exactly what I need.

He never actually says what it is he needs, but it’s not too hard to figure out. The problem, he says, is that “I’ll be leaving here at 3, so love me tonight.”

Now, we all know what’s going on here. But back in 1975, when I was sixteen, I actually knew people—female people—who thought this was a pretty romantic song. I kid you not.

In retrospect, it seems pretty crass, this dude trying to lay down some logical jive about loving the one you’re with and all. You know: I’m here, you’re here, we’ve got limited time…the only thing that makes sense is that we should have sex.

But I don’t think it was that clinical approach that got the hormones flowing through the veins of my teenaged lady friends. I think it was the last line, in which “I’ll be leaving here at 3” morphs into “I believe in you and me.”

Smooth. Suave. Deboner, as we said back in the day.

None of this explains why this song would be in my head in the wake of my knee replacement surgery or at the height of the Christmas season. I sure hope it doesn’t have anything to do with the idea of a guy going down a chimney and leaving behind gifts.

Maybe my titanium knee is sensitive to radio frequencies, and I keep getting the all-Head-East channel. Or maybe my mind is tangled up in a mangled reference to the Kings of Orient Are. Well, they headed west, but they were from the east.

Or maybe it’s one of those things you just can’t explain.

It’s not a great video, but you can hear “Love Me Tonight” while looking at a photo of guys with long hair, beards and shirts with big collars and open necks on You!Tube.

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