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Top 20 Greatest Love Songs

Heroajax

Human beings have an amazing ability to express love which can form itself in many different ways. Oftentimes, between two people those ways are shown through looks, touches, gestures, etc. Sometimes those shared feelings are expressed media such as writing, painting or sculpture. One amazing expression of love we share comes through music. Music, unlike other mediums evokes a passion and feeling absent in other media. The feelings of not only the singer, but the music come together in a form of expression the other methods lack. Best of all, it can be shared. Others gain an opportunity to feel those shared emotions. Sometimes so much so, that it brings one to tears. It’s one of the most beautiful expressions we have available. Excluded entries are lust songs, songs where people are not yet in a relationship, and breakup songs.

20

Fever
Peggy Lee

Written in 1956, this song was a rhythm and blues hit for Little Willie John that crossed over and became a pop standard after being transformed, with additional lyrics, by Peggy Lee and became her signature song.

Although this song and the next on the list are borderline on the “lust” rule, Peggy clearly expresses her passion for her man in a way she knows how. Her love is burning up inside.

19

Love to Love You Baby
Donna Summer

This song by American singer Donna Summer was one of the first ever disco hits. It climbed to number two on the U.S. singles chart and also made the UK Top 5 (despite the BBC’s refusal to promote it). Summer would be named “the first lady of love,” which labelled her with a sexual-oriented, fantasy image that she would struggle to rid herself of.

Definitely on the lusty side of the love song genre, but it’s clear she truly, deeply and passionately loves her man with every fiber of her being. Fantastic expression of her love.

18

Truly, Madly, Deeply
Savage Garden

It is a cover of an older song of theirs called “Magical Kisses” and was the third single from their debut album. The song was a success in the U.S. in 1998, topping the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart for two weeks and the Adult Contemporary chart for eleven weeks. The song has two videos. One of them was filmed in the Sacre-Coeur area of Paris, because it is said to be the most romantic city in the world.

An amazingly emotional duet from these two lovers. They never want to leave each other. They are willing to do anything just to be together, even lay together on a mountain until the sky falls down. How’s that for another expression for “forever.”

17

You’re My Best Friend
Queen

This song was song penned by John Deacon and performed by British rock band Queen. It was originally included on the A Night at the Opera album in 1975 and later released as a single. This song also appeared on the Greatest Hits (1981) album. Deacon wrote the song for his wife, Veronica, to whom he remains married to this day. In this song, he plays a Wurlitzer electric piano in addition to bass guitar. The characteristic “bark” of the Wurlitzer’s bass notes plays a prominent role.

Freddie’s tragic death left a void of unmatch musical talent in the world, but at least he left us many great songs. This is one of the best. It’s clearly a love song. Although the idea of a “best friend” isn’t always automatically thought of a love, it is in this case. Freddie (yes, Deacon, but Freddie is doing the expressing here) is clearly in love. This song is his expression and realization that not only is he in love; he knows that already as does the object of his affection; but his love is also his best friend. How fantastic is that to have your best friend and your best love be the same person.

16

#1 Crush
Garbage

This was originally released as a “b-side” to Garbage’s debut release “Vow.” It was appropriately given the theme position for the 1996 movie Romeo and Juliet, starring Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Although initially, this would seem to violate rule six. A closer analysis of the lyrics indicates something a bit different. I feel this is more of a confession of her love. I always envisioned the two sitting quietly together. He asks Shirley how she feels about their relationship. She’s been struggling with the right words for a long time. His question opens the floodgates and out pours her soul to her love. She loves him so much she’s willing to die for him. She would give him her soul if he but asked for it. Sure, it’s a bit scary to be that obsessive, but that’s usually what happens at the start of a relationship when the two are falling in love. To me, this is the ultimate expression of love and personally holds a much higher place on my own list. How many can say they’ve ever felt that much in love with anyone?

15

In Your Eyes
Peter Gabriel

From the 1986 album, So, it reached number one on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks and number 26 on the Billboard Hot 100. Gabriel later released an extended version of the song which was nearly nine minutes in length (as compared to the original 5:29). In 1989, the song appeared in the Cameron Crowe film, Say Anything, in a scene where broken-hearted Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) serenades his former girlfriend (Ione Skye) outside her bedroom window by holding up a boombox above his head and playing the song for her. This scene has become a standard pop culture reference for romance. Although this re-popularized the song, it charted but failed to crack the top 40 in its second run.

It seems Peter is at a loss for words here. He wants to express how much he loves his girlfriend and is desperately trying to say anything but “love.” It’s too common. He feels a simple four-letter word does not do all of his feelings justice and he’s right in this case. I find it somewhat fitting Peter is “naked” in this video; as it’s a parallel for his feelings. He’s laying out all his feelings for her and stripping off every shell of protection he has. His love for her is, to him, holy.

14

You Are So Beautiful
Joe Cocker

Written by Billy Preston and Bruce Fisher, it was first recorded by Preston and made popular in this version by Joe Cocker. Producer, Jim Price created a slowed-down arrangement for Cocker’s version, which first appeared on the album I Can Stand a Little Rain (released later in 1974). Released as a single, this Joe Cocker version reached number five on the 1975 Billboard pop single charts and helped the album become a hit.

Beauty is sometimes in the eye of the beholder. That can be easily said of anyone who loves someone else. When you truly love someone, it dosen’t matter what he/she looks like. You are beautiful to the beholder. Joe said it best here in this fantastically soulful rendering of this song.

13

I’ll Make Love to You
Boyz II Men

This was a number-one hit single by R&B group Boyz II Men for the Motown label. The song, which was written by Babyface, was the lead single from their second album II. As the lead single raced up the charts, it was at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for fourteen weeks, from August 27 to November 26, 1994. The song set a record for the most weeks at number one at the time. A platinum-selling single, it won the 1995 Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and two American Music Awards for Favorite Pop/Rock Single and Favorite Soul/R&B Single.

Sometimes we men can be a bit neglectful in our expressions of love. We can take it for granted and it can get lost in all the work and stress in our lives. This song is an emotional outreach to all men to remember to sometimes take it slow and rekindle the passion two people feel. Boyz II Men did a spectacular job of giving us one way to express love for another.

12

Witchcraft
Frank Sinatra

A popular song from 1957 composed by Cy Coleman with lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, it was released as a single by Frank Sinatra and reached number twenty in the U.S., spending sixteen weeks on the charts. Composed as an instrumental piece by Coleman for the revue Take Five, lyrics were added by Leigh and “Witchcraft” was subsequently recorded by Sinatra in May 1957.

Is this the king of romance or what? This man is simply so in love with being in love it’s staggering. This is not “witch” in any stretch of a bad sense. She’s cast such a spell on him, he’s completely helpless. Not only is the object of his affection his deepest love which he knows. He also realizes so many of those little things about her that he loves and he tells her. Sometimes the little things do matter.

Honorable Mention: To the Moon and Night and Day

11

Let’s Stay Together
Al Green

On the 1972 album of the same name, it reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained on the chart for 16 weeks. It also topped Billboard’s R&B chart for nine weeks. The song later appeared on the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction. It was ranked the 60th greatest song of all time by Rolling Stone magazine on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Al knows he needs no other, it seems based on the title and lyrical hints he may have thought about leaving, but ultimately decided she’s what he needs and wants in his life. The reasons he thought he needed to break up did not exist. Al wants to be with his woman no matter what. “When times are good or bad, when happy or sad.” I think that sums up what love is.

10

Wonderful Tonight
Eric Clapton

Written by Eric Clapton about his then-love, Pattie Boyd, it was included on Clapton’s 1977 album Slowhand and released as a single the following year. The song is a narrative, dealing with a party the pair attended. Each of the three verses is a scene from a part of the night: preparing for the party, going to the party and coming home from the party. In each scene, he mentions how wonderful she is, how beautiful she looks while preparing for the party, how happy he is to be at the party with her and how grateful he is that she puts up with him after he drinks a bit too much.

Although the inspiration for this song is decidedly somewhat less than romantic, what comes out is Eric’s realization of how much he truly loves his wife. I imagine, like some men, he doesn’t often tell his wife exactly how much he loves her. Not only that he loves her, but in this case, why he loves her. He appreciates everything she does. His tender words to his wife reveal how truly and deeply he loves her.

9

Fallin’
Alicia Keys

Written and produced by American singer-songwriter Alicia Keys for her debut album, Songs in A Minor (2001) it was released to radio and music video outlets in April 2001. It is generally considered her signature song. Fallin’ became Keys’ first number-one single in the United States and her first top five hit in several countries.The songwriting and production of Fallin’ is credited solely to Keys. The song’s lyrics find Keys lamenting on a relationship that fills her with confused and mixed feelings. Following the song’s a cappella intro, she proceeds to explain how her relationship with her man varies between happy times and painful conflict.

Sometimes loving someone hurts so much you don’t even know what to do. It can be an emotional rollercoaster. Up and down, back and forth, in and out; so much it just makes you sick. Alicia expresses it best here. Her emotional piano and vocals demonstrate the pain and pleasure of love that often exists between a couple who have had good and bad times. Not only does the ache and longing for her love come through, but she is just stunningly beautiful in this video. Her voice is simply amazing here.

8

My First, My Last, My Everything
Barry White

This song was White’s fourth top ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, reaching number two. It spent a week at number one on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles chart. In the UK it fared even better, spending two weeks at the top in December 1974

Nobody loves ‘em like Barry. She is everything to him, she’s his sun, his moon, his very breath in his body. She’s the only reason he continues to live. So, what does he do? He tells her just how completely and totally vital she is to him. She’s his “everything.”

7

Love Song
The Cure

Written by Robert Smith and originally released by The Cure on their Disintegration album. Smith originally wrote this song as a gift to his longtime girlfriend, Mary, shortly before their marriage. The title of this song is widely disputed, as it varies between “Lovesong” and “Love Song” on many official Cure releases. The artwork for the album Disintegration uses both, “Love Song” on the tracklisting and “Lovesong” on the lyrics sheet.

Robert is so deeply and passionately in love with his woman in this song that he can’t express his feelings to anyone but her. Even then, he doesn’t know how to tell her. He can’t truly express his feelings. Clearly the word “love” doesn’t cut it for him and he tries just to simply tell her what he feels when they are alone together. When he’s with her, he’s home, he’s young and she frees him emotionally to tell her his deepest feelings. It’s simply a beautiful song for his love.

6

Breathe
Faith Hill

Released as the first single from the album of the same name, the song was extremely successful in the United States and became Hill’s signature song. In November 1999, “Breathe” was released to Country and Pop radio. It spent six weeks at number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart, seventeen weeks at number one on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart, and one week at number one on the Adult Top 40 chart. The song also reached a peak of number two on the Billboard Hot 100. Even though “Breathe” never made it to number one on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 chart it was on the chart for 53 weeks and was thus named the Number One Single of 2000 on Billboard’s year-end countdown. It was only the second song in the history of the Hot 100 to be named the Number One Single of the Year without making it to the top of the chart on any of the weekly surveys.

Wow! Not only can she sing, she’s drop dead gorgeous as well. Tim’s a lucky man to have a woman who feels this passionately about him. Normally, I don’t particularly care for country music (okay, it’s a crossover), but Faith is simply amazing here. In one single moment, she realizes just how much she’s in love with her man. No words can express her feelings which instantly blossomed from her. She doesn’t truly want to change the moment she’s in with words. She just wants to feel him breathe. His breathing is her sign that he lives for her to love.

5

Love Me Tender
Elvis Presley

Elvis performed “Love Me Tender” on the Ed Sullivan show on September 9, 1956, shortly before the single’s release and about a month before the movie, Love Me Tender, was released, for which the song was originally recorded. On the following day, September 10, 1956, RCA received one million advance orders for the song, making it a gold record before it was even released. The studio, 20th Century Fox originally wanted to call the movie “The Reno Brothers,” but instead re-titled it to “Love Me Tender” to capitalize on the song’s popularity. Presley would go on to make more than 30 films over the next 13 years and release hundreds of soundtrack recordings; “Love Me Tender,” however, was the very first of these.

How many women at that time wished they could be the object of Elvis’ affections. He’s completely in love with his woman. Elvis’ voice is so loving and passionate in this gentle ballad that he just pours out his feelings for her. He tells her as expressively as he possibly can how he loves her and how he wants her to love him. It’s clear he already does love her this way and always will.

4

With or Without You
U2

This is the lead single from the 1987 album, The Joshua Tree. It has since become highly-acclaimed as one of the band’s most popular songs. Released as a single in March 1987, it became the group’s first American number one hit, spending three weeks at the top. It also reached number four in the UK. “With or Without You” is widely considered one of U2’s most overtly emotional songs. According to Bono, the song was heavily influenced by Scott Walker’s album Climate of Hunter. It was U2’s first single to be widely issued on CD. The song is U2’s second most frequently covered song. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine placed the single at number 131 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Bono is so in love with her he can’t decide what to do. He’s not sure of where she is in the relationship, but he decides to tell her how he truly feels. He loves her so much at this point he has nothing else to lose by telling her. It seems he’s waited for some time to know her feelings, perhaps she was hurt in a past relationship and is reluctant to reveal her feelings. He doesn’t know what she’s going to do or say, but with or without her he can’t continue to live and not know how she feels. It can be one of the hardest things in life to admit your true feelings to another who may or may not share them. It’s a risk Bono chooses to take because he can no longer live without knowing.

3

Lady
Styx

“Lady” was first released on Styx II in September 1972 and was a local hit in the band’s native Chicago, but failed to chart nationally. The song gained success when Styx left Wooden Nickel Records to move to A&M Records and the song was re-released in 1974, peaking at number six. It was written by Dennis DeYoung for his wife.

She’s Dennis’ everything, his love, his passion, his healer, his dream … his lady. Just being with her makes his heart smile. He loves her so much that her mere touch aleviates all his troubles. He knew from the instant he saw her many years ago he was in love. With this anthem to his abounding love, he’s finally able to express all those feelings he’s had for a long time. She is, simply, his lady, in every sense of the word.

Honorable Mention: Babe

2

Unchained Melody
Righteous Brothers

One of the most phenomonally popular love songs with music by Alex North and lyrics by Hy Zaret. It is one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century, by some counts having spawned over 500 versions in hundreds of different languages. In 1955, North used the music as a theme for the obscure prison film Unchained. Todd Duncan, the baritone who performed in the original Porgy and Bess, sang the vocals for the film soundtrack. The song regained popularity when another version was produced by Phil Spector in 1965, credited to the Righteous Brothers, but performed as a solo by Bobby Hatfield, who later recorded versions credited solely to him. It climbed to number four.

Bobby realizes how much he loves his woman in this beautiful ballad. It seems he’s been in a relationship with her for a long time and they’ve been separated by a bit of distance. They’ve been reunited recently and he wonders if she’s still in love with him as much as he is with her. He prays to everything he can think of from heavens, to rivers, to God to send her love to him. He needs her love in his live so much their time apart has been aching in him and he wants her to know just how much he loves her.

1

At Last
Etta James

“At Last” is a 1941 song written by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren for the musical film Orchestra Wives. It was first performed in the film and on record by Glenn Miller and his orchestra, vocal by Ray Eberle and Pat Friday. It was covered by blues singer Etta James in a performance that improvised on Warren’s melody. James was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 for her rendition of the song. The Etta James version is perhaps the most famous, and is known to performed at weddings and wedding receptions because of its romantic lyrics and sweeping orchestration.

This is it. Although this song has been covered repeatedly by many of the best vocalists in history, none do it better than Etta. She realizes all her dreams have finally come true and her love swells up within her igniting her passion for her man. He is her soulmate. His smile cast a spell on her when they met and now she realizes how deeply in love she is. She will be happy and in love forever with him. Etta’s passion and her love ring so true in this spectacular rendition that she stands alone atop the list of greatest love songs.

Love is extremely subjective please be respectful of others’ comments. Enjoy.

Contributor: Heroajax