Top 14 Best Love Songs of All Time You Don't Want to Miss
|Greatest love songs that stand the test of time (Photo: Parade)
Here are the list of best love songs of all time, which will never fail to win the heart of every music lovers on Earth.
1. “This Magic Moment” by the Drifters
A standout even among the other classics written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, ”This Magic Moment” is gloriously cinematic: You can almost picture the camera slowly zooming on the two sharing that mind-blower of a first kiss, as Ben E. King wails reverby lead vocals against beautiful swirling strings.
2. “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers
It's the mushy definition of a love song that becomes all the more powerful for it. “Unchained Melody” has all the corny trappings of a by-the-numbers ballad: the swooning, arpeggiated opening, the crescendo to an epic orchestral finale, lyrics whose blatant emotional manipulation ought to fall right apart under scrutiny. But there's real, undeniable hunger in Bobby Hatfield's luminous and raw vocal, the push and pull of the instrumentation is subtler than expected, and the words reveal layers where true fidelity fights to overcome lingering doubt. The world seems to agree: The Righteous Brothers version of the song remains the most popular and well-loved out of hundreds of recordings from around the globe.
3. “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King
Speaking of Ben E. King, his crowning achievement remains this timeless, apocalyptic wonder, which he co-wrote with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Hear the simple bass line, followed by that percussion, then King’s frayed vocals and then those strings and just try to let that cold heart of yours melt like butter. “Stand by Me” even made its way onto the Top 10 on the U.S. charts twice, first upon its release in 1961 and then 25 years later after the film of the same name hit theaters.
4. “At Last” by Etta James
The most unapologetically romantic slow-dance–wedding–love-scene song in history, Etta James’s 1960 cover of “At Last” may seem a bit cliché. But from the first note, we all know what’s coming (love! finally!), and James’s soulful crooning induces a shiver every time, whether we expect it to or not. Case in point, pretty much everyone lost it during Beyoncé’s rendition at the 2009 presidential inauguration ball, including the First Lady and President Obama himself.
5. “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green
The lyrics to the Reverend’s landmark 1971 hit, “Let’s Stay Together,” articulate the solemn vows of marriage: “Whether times are good or bad, happy or sad.” But sung by Green, these promises are given wings. Covered multiple times since its release, Green’s gorgeous original was given a new lease on life in ’94, when Quentin Tarantino featured it in Pulp Fiction. But our favorite boost for the song has to be when it was sung by President Obama at a fund-raising event in 2012.
6. “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys
In 1963, Brian Wilson was so obsessed with Phil Spector’s orchestral vision for the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” that he purportedly took to listening to it 100 times a day. Three years later, Wilson and the Boys would surpass the master with a song that lifted the notion of the sophisticated love song clean into the heavens. The uncertainty of the first line (“I may not always love you”) is a classic pop curveball, which works with the swooping transition from intro to verse. Once that miasmic mix of harpsichords and celestial brass clears, and that opening caveat is laid bare, we’re left with a heartbreakingly tender song of yearning, of devotion and of fidelity. Combining the fatalism of lines like “what good would living do me” with the use of God in the title was risky business back in the mid-’60s. There was no need to worry. In fact, the song’s universality has turned it into an almost nondenominational and humanist hymn, blessed with an equivocal outlook that can magically give succor to all forms of love.
7. “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes
Lennon covered it, Scorsese used it to announce his directorial arrival in Mean Streets, and, as discussed, Brian Wilson was so in awe of its orchestral drive, he famously listened to it 100 times a day. With 1963’s “Be My Baby,” Phil Spector put a bowtie on the bubblegum love song—conveying love’s urgency and sweaty-palmed excitement.
8. “Something” by the Beatles
“Something” was the first George Harrison-written song to occupy the A-side of a Beatles single (though it did share the accolade, appearing as a double A-side with unifying call “Come Together” in 1969). Capturing the swirling triumph of infatuation, the tune would become the second-most-covered song of the Beatles’ canon (“Yesterday” is the first). More than 150 artists have tried the dreamy, swooning ode on for size, including James Brown, Elvis Presley, Phish, Isaac Hayes and Frank Sinatra, who famously christened it the “greatest love song ever written.”
9. “Wonderful World” by Sam Cooke
If there’s anyone out there whose heart doesn’t melt just a little bit when they hear the drum flutter that opens this 1960 swoon of a song, we’ll eat our hat. “Wonderful World” is lullaby-simple in its structure—of course one and one is two! of course this one should be with you!—echoing the way that when love feels right, it’s somewhere between a no-brainer and a miracle. And no, we still don’t know what a slide rule is for.
10. “My Girl” by the Temptations
This sugary ’64 chart-topper (the Temptations’ first) might be the best puppy-love song ever. Penned by fellow Motown signees the Miracles, its instantly recognizable guitar riff (right up there with the one from “Satisfaction”), peppy finger snaps, unabashed optimism and comforting-as-a-much-needed-hug harmonies can make even the most jaded downer feel all warm inside.
11. “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” by Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder was a mere 20 years old when he released his apologetic anthem “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours.” Even at that tender age, the Detroit prodigy had done a lot of foolish things that he really didn’t mean, but making that record wasn’t one of them: It spent six weeks atop the U.S. R&B chart and garnered Wonder his first Grammy nomination.
12. “It Had to Be You” by Harry Connick Jr.
Flirtatiously wry in its acceptance of the singer’s perfectly imperfect match (“For all your faults I love you still”), this 1924 Tin Pan Alley ditty has been a Hollywood staple for generations, in films ranging from Casablanca to Annie Hall. For many modern listeners, though, “It Had to Be You” is indelibly linked to the 1989 rom-com When Harry Met Sally…, a movie that perfectly captures its sense of romantic inevitability. Harry Connick Jr. recorded the soundtrack when he was just 21, with a mix of youthful freshness and retro finesse that deservedly made him an instant star.
13. “I Will Always Love You” by Dolly Parton
|Photo: Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton’s farewell to her long-time partner and mentor, country legend Porter Wagoner, when Mr. Grand Ole Opry decided to pursue a solo career, became quite the sensation in 1974. It’s hard to think of a better song in pop culture that captures the “if you love something, set it free” sentiment. While few of us—save Whitney Houston—can belt those high notes like Parton, that doesn’t stop us from wanting to sing along with the chorus, with all the same pent up passion.
14. “Hello” by Lionel Richie
Banish from your mind’s eye the meltingly cheesy and vaguely creepy video for Lionel Richie’s 1984 No. 1 hit, with its plot about a teacher, a blind girl and the clay bust she molds of him. But give yourself over to the softer kitsch of the song itself—the slow build of anticipation, the rise and fall of the guitar solo, Richie’s tender vocals as he imagines spilling his heart out—and you may be surprised to find how well it has held up in the years since that rather unfortunate introduction.
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