Songwriters have explored countless themes and emotions over the years, but one subject stands out above the rest: love. The most powerful, varied, and life-changing experiences of all, being in love, can create all kinds of emotions, both positive and negative, and countless love songs throughout the years have explored the many ups and downs of romance, passion, and intimacy. Some of the best love songs make us feel so happy to be alive and in love ourselves, while others remind us of how painful it can be to lose a lover. Here are 50 of the best love songs ever written.
The debut single from Sara Bareilles, Love Song, was released in 2007 as part of the singer’s Little Voice album. It earned a nomination for the ‘Song of the Year’ award at the Grammy Awards for 2009 and made it to number four on the Hot 100.
Bareilles says she wrote the song after getting frustrated with trying to write things purely satisfy her label rather than being herself. She then decided to stop worrying about the critics and simply sat and wrote an honest song, straight from the heart.
Recorded in 1964 as part of The Supremes’ second album, Where Did Our Love Go, Baby Love is a funky and upbeat Motown classic that still endures to this day.
It topped the pop charts for several works on release. It was also nominated for a Grammy and has been listed as one of the best songs ever written across any genre. With Baby Love and Where Did Our Love Go at number one, the Supremes were the first Motown act to have simultaneous chart-topping hits.
One of Swift’s biggest hits, Love Story, was written and recorded by the pop and country sensation and released in 2008. It was the standout single from her second album, Fearless, and is generally known as Swift’s signature track.
Swift allegedly wrote the song about a lover who didn’t earn the approval of her nearest and dearest. She also took inspiration from the classic Shakespeare romance, Romeo and Juliet.
Featured on Stevie Wonder’s 1985 album, In Square Circle, Part-Time Lover was one of the singer’s many chart-topping hits. It made it to number one on the Hot 100, as well as the adult contemporary, dance, and R&B charts.
Luther Vandross appears on the track, along with Syreeta Wright and Philip Bailey, and Wonder earned a Grammy for his own vocal performance. He later called the song an ode to ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’ by The Supremes.
Featured on Minnie Riperton’s second album, Perfect Angel, Lovin’ You was released in 1975 as a single and was written by Riperton and Richard Rudolph, being produced by Stevie Wonder.
Certified Gold, after selling more than a million copies, Lovin’ You is a classic love song that took a few years of work. Riperton began the composition in 1971 but didn’t finish until a few years later.
First recorded by The Righteous Brothers in 1964 and produced by Phil Spector, this song was written by Spector, along with Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. It’s been covered by many artists worldwide.
You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ was a number one, chart-topping hit in both the US and the UK, and it’s one of those classic love songs that shows how love can change and fade over time.
Written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David and released by Herb Alpert in 1968, This Guy’s In Love With You is a beautiful and charming song that Alpert was seen singing to his wife on a TV special.
The next day, the network received countless calls from people asking where they could buy the track. A&M, therefore, decided to produce it, and the single was a huge best-seller, heading straight to number one.
Written by Ivan Matias, Andrea Martin, and Marqueze Etheridge, Don’t Let Go (Love) was featured on the Set It Off soundtrack, along with En Vogue’s third album, EV3.
It was the final time we’d get to hear Dawn Robinson’s vocals on an En Vogue single, and it was also the group’s biggest hit. The video had a couple of different music videos, including one featuring clips from Set It Off.
One of Madonna’s best love songs, Justify My Love, was released in 1991 and spent a couple of weeks at the top of the charts. The most exciting thing about this song was its music video.
MTV, which was renowned for pushing boundaries, said the clip was simply too steamy to air. In response, Warner and Reprise Video announced that Justify My Love would become the world’s first commercially available video single.
That’s The Way Love Goes spent eight whole weeks at number one on the Hot 100 in 1993. It was the singer’s first-ever song for Virgin, based on a sample from James Brown’s ‘Papa Don’t Take No Mess.’
When she first heard the song played back, Jackson wasn’t happy with how it had turned out. The producers told her to give it a little more time, and it really started to grow on her.
Celine Dion has given us some of the most powerful love songs ever made, so it only fits that one of her best ever tracks was entitled The Power of Love. It sat at number one in the Hot 100 for a whole month.
The song was originally recorded by NY singer Jennifer Rush and did well in Europe, but couldn’t break into the American market. Dion worked her magic and made it a smash of US success.
British pop star Donna Lewis gave us I Love You Always Forever in 1996 on her debut album, Now in a Minute. She wrote and produced the track, and it was her first major single worldwide.
It got to number two on the Hot 100, sitting there for nine whole weeks. The song, as the title implies, is all about endless, boundless love, and the lyrics were inspired by an H.E. Bates story called Love for Lydia.
Stevie Wonder’s smooth voice and moving performances match so well with love songs, and I Just Called to Say I Love You is one of his very best works. It got to number one on the Hot 100 and stayed there for three weeks in 1984.
The song also won an Academy Award. It was composed for the movie ‘The Woman in Red’ and earned the Best Original Song Oscar.
Spending three whole weeks sitting proudly on top of the Hot 100 in 1986, Greatest Love of All was one of Whitney Houston’s many successful racks. It was written for the movie. The Greatest, all about Muhammad Ali.
The original single version barely made a dent on the charts, but when Houston gave it a try, it became much more successful, with her powerful voice and moving performance giving the lyrics a lot more life and vibrancy.
The Power of Love is one of those staple love songs everyone always recognizes just from hearing a couple of beats or lyrics. It’s a bold statement on love as an unstoppable, uncontrollable, almost incomprehensible force, and we have Back to the Future to thank for it.
Huey Lewis was asked to make a song for the movie. He created The Power of Love for the soundtrack, as well as ‘Back in Time,’ with the former proving to be the biggest hit.
Dreamlover made it to the number one spot in the Hot 100 and held onto the crown for eight whole weeks in 1993, making it one of Carey’s most successful tracks and the longest-running number-one hit in her entire career.
She and her producer, Dave Hall, weren’t sure what to call the song for quite a while, leaving it as simply ‘Untitled’ before eventually deciding on Dreamlover.
Love Hangover got to the top spot of the Hot 100 for two weeks in 1976. At the time, disco was all the rage, but Motown acts hadn’t really been associated with the genre.
It came as a bit of a surprise, therefore, when Ross released this groovy number, which starts off slow and keeps on building up as time goes by. She allegedly didn’t think she was fast enough to keep up with the rhythm but eventually managed to get into it.
Sitting at number one for no less than seven weeks, Can’t Help Falling in Love by UB40 is a timeless classic that honestly and accurately portrays the wonderfully uncontrollable way in which people can fall in love and develop powerful feelings for one another.
The song was made famous by Elvis Presley back in the 60s, and UB40 were asked to re-record it for Honeymoon in Vegas. They complied, but their version was sadly left unused until being released for the movie Sliver.
I Knew I Loved You spent four weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 in the year 2000. Incredibly, this song would not have existed without the interference of a record label executive. Savage Garden had wrapped up work on their second album and handed it into the label, Columbia.
A message came back, stating that the album was great, but it needed another ‘Truly Madly Deeply.’ Enraged, the band spent 10 minutes putting together this catchy love song, and it ended up being their second number one hit.
Classic rockers Foreigner were a little worried about even releasing this song to the world. They had fears that it might sound a little too much like a pop song or romantic ballad and just didn’t jive with their hard rock image.
Fortunately, they did decide to release it in the end, and it proved to be one of their best known and most successful songs, going all the way to the top of the Hot 100 for two weeks.
Tina Turner had only just joined Capitol when she delivered her first single, a poorly performing cover of ‘Let’s Stay Together’ by Al Green. She went back to the drawing board and came up with What’s Love Got to Do With It, which had also been recorded by the British band, Bucks Fizz.
The Bucks Fizz version never actually got released, so Turner claimed the song as her own, and it became her first chart-topping single, enjoying three weeks in the number one spot.
The early years of The Beatles were absolutely filled with romantic ditties and love song classics. She Loves You was one of the band’s best and earliest hits, being released in 1964.
Like so many of The Beatles best songs, She Loves You was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney together while enjoying a tour bus journey in the north of England. The song initially had an opening verse, but producer George Martin decided it should kick straight into the chorus.
The Gibb brothers were all blessed with incredible musical talent, and while Barry and Robin got a lot of the headlines and hype, Andy quietly helped to write and perform some sublime songs too, including this one.
(Love Is) Thicker Than Water was Gibb’s second number one hit on the hot 100. He wrote it together with Barry, with Andy coming up with the title, which served as the main inspiration for the lyrics.
Released as The Partridge Family’s very first single, I Think I Love You featured David Cassidy as the lead and Shirley Jones as a back-up. It was composed by Tony Romeo, and it made it to the top of the Hot 100.
The song was released a month in advance of The Partridge Family’s TV sitcom. It featured a couple of times on the show itself, and Shirley proudly displays her gold record at home.
Ohio Players had been struggling for success for more than a decade in the build-up to Love Rollercoaster, but suddenly, everything started to go right for them.
They had a number one hit single in 1975 in the form of Fire and then topped the charts once again, just a year later, with Love Rollercoaster. The song was part of the band’s Honey album and was famously covered by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
A groovy, upbeat, funky jam that married so seamlessly with Houston’s powerful voice and dynamic nature, I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) is a fun song about the simple pleasures of dancing with someone you love.
This song spent a couple of weeks at the top of the Hot 100. It was written by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam in just two days. It has been covered by various artists, including Fall Out Boy.
Love Will Keep Us Together sat atop the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks upon its release in 1975. It was written by Neil Sedaka, who had already had a chart-topping hit earlier that year as a singer with Laughter in the Rain.
Sedaka did record the song in 1973, but it was Captain and Tennille who made it such a great tune. The pair even released a Spanish-language version entitled Por Amor Viviremos.
Times were tough, and the pressure was building on Bobby Vinton as he came to the end of his contract with Epic. The label was getting ready to drop him after a series of disappointing tracks.
Then, in a moment of pure inspiration, he turned to this song, which had already been rejected, and asked for another shot. He stylized it as an R&B number at first, before changing it to incorporate strings and choir music.
Beyoncé proved she was ready to set the world on fire as a solo artist with this 2003 love song, the first of her many singles to be released after leaving Destiny’s Child. It was also her first solo number one.
The song originally only had her vocals, but she insisted that Jay-Z feature on the track at the last minute and his contribution helped to make it extra special.
To Sir With Love served as the title track to a 1967 movie of the same name. Scottish singer Lulu was given a few possibilities for the song but hated all of them.
She asked a close friend, Mark London, to write to her something that she could really get into. In literally five minutes, London had written the melody for the track, with Don Black adding the lyrics a day later.
Mariah Carey announced herself to the world with this, her debut single, in 1990. It was the lead single from her self-titled first album and was part of the demo tape that got her signed with Columbia.
A slow dance classic, Vision of Love is best remembered for Carey’s powerful vocal performance and distinctive use of melisma, changing the whole pop genre in the process and inspiring legions of other singers.
It Must Have Been Love claimed the top spot on the Hot 100 for a couple of weeks for Roxette. Interestingly, it was first recorded in the late 80s in Sweden as a song for the holidays.
Per Gessle was asked to give it a makeover as part of the Pretty Woman soundtrack. According to Gessle, the movie’s director, Garry Marshall, actually edited the film itself just to get the song in there as he loved it so much.
An inspiring and, in many ways, educational song about the realities of love, Love Takes Time was recorded by Mariah Carey in 1990 and earned her yet another number one hit.
The song originally wasn’t going to feature on Carey’s opening album, but she played a demo of it to Sony’s record label leader Don Ienner. Ienner called the song a ‘career maker’ and ordered that it be added to the album.
Barry and Robin Gibb, of Bee Gees fame, wrote this song, but even they later admitted that a huge part of its success is down to the way Streisand sings it.
Woman in Love won the 1980 Ivor Novello award as the Best Song Musically and Lyrically. It was one of Barbra’s four platinum records and is regarded as her best ever hit. It came after Streisand specifically asked Barry Gibb to write her an album.
In its native French, this song is entitled ‘L’amour est bleu.’ It was composed by André Popp, with lyrics by Pierre Cour. Bryan Blackburn penned an English version of the lyrics later on.
The song was originally used as an entry in the Eurovision Song Contest of 1967, but it was the version of French orchestra maestro, Paul Mauriat, that really stood out and became the only ever French song to hit the top spot on the Hot 100.
To Know Him Is to Love Him made it to number one on the Hot 100 and stayed there for three weeks in 1958. This song was written by Phil Spector.
The story goes that Spector saw a picture of his own father’s grave at a New York cemetery. The inscription simply said ‘To Know Him Is to Love Him,’ and that was all Spector needed to start penning an unparalleled masterpiece.
Queen were responsible for some bombastic anthems and soulful classic rock tunes, but Crazy Little Thing Called Love showed a different side to the band. Their label didn’t even want to release the song in America, but it was a big hit.
Flamboyant frontman Freddie Mercury lent his powerful vocals to this iconic track, breathing life into each word and cleverly conveying the often incomprehensible and sometimes crazy nature of love.
Celine Dion appears again with this entry, which held the top spot on the Hot 100 for six whole weeks in 1996. The song was written by Diane Warren for the movie Up Close and Personal with Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Because You Loved Me became an instant hit for Celine Dion, breaking into the top ten in many countries and winning a Grammy Award and an Oscar nomination.
The lead single from Paul McCartney and Wings’ 1973 album, Red Rose Speedway, My Love, was written as a love song from Paul to his bandmate and wife, Linda. Many years later, the song was performed at Linda’s memorial services.
It made it to number one and held the crown for four weeks in total, having been recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London. Many critics didn’t like My Love, but it was a commercial success.
Bleeding Love was written by American duo Jesse McCartney and Ryan Tedder, but ended up being used as the second-ever single of British pop star, Leona Lewis.
The story goes that Jesse McCartney really liked the song and wanted to use it himself, but the label wasn’t happy, and Leona Lewis was deemed to be a better fit. The song did brilliantly, earning Leona a couple of Grammy nominations and the number one status around the world.
I Can’t Stop Loving You was written by Don Gibson in the summer of 1957. A few years later, Ray Charles heard just a small snippet of the song and knew he simply had to record it.
He released a cover in 1962 as part of his Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music album. The song made it to number one on the Hot 100 for five weeks.
There’s no better band than The Emotions when it comes to capturing the essence of something as complex and beautiful as love. Their song, Best of My Love, was featured on the band’s fourth album, Rejoice.
Maurice White and Al McKay from Earth, Wind & Fire wrote the track. It got to the top of the Hot 100 and broke into the top 10 in several other countries too. It also won a Grammy Award and an American Music Award.
Stevie B The King of Freestyle earned a number one hit with this classic love song, released at the end of 1990. It spent four weeks atop the charts in total and broke into the top 10 all over the world.
The song was written by Warren Allen Brooks, who said that it had always felt like a “spiritual” song, written to convey the relationship between the writer and God, rather than the love between two people.
Released on Mario’s second album, Turning Point, this 2004 classic was written by Scott Storch, Kameron Houff, and Ne-Yo. It earned a Grammy Award nomination. Rappers Jadakiss and TI feature on the track too, with Mario’s strong vocals leading the way.
The song also had a popular music video, directed by Little X, and has been covered by everyone from country artist Chris Lane to former One Direction star Zayn Malik.
Arguably the ultimate benchmark for any powerful female singer to try and live up to, the booming chorus of I Will Always Love You, was flawlessly delivered by Houston, time and time again.
This essentially became her signature song but was also a huge hit for its original writer, Dolly Parton. Parton’s version topped the country charts, while Houston’s re-recording peaked at number one on the Hot 100 for 14 weeks.
Paul McCartney and his wife, Linda, teamed up to write Silly Love Songs as part of Wings’ 1976 album, Wings at the Speed of Sound. It made it to number one of the Hot 100 and stayed there for five whole weeks.
The song was written as a clear response to John Lennon, McCartney’s former Beatles bandmate, and other critics who accused him of constantly writing sentimental and silly love songs.
The Gibb brothers of the Bee Gees were so consistent and prolific in their writing, and How Deep Is Your Love is one of the best songs the group ever made, having been written as part of the soundtrack for Saturday Night Fever.
It made it to the top of the hot 100 and stayed in the top 10 for 17 whole weeks, which was a record at the time. It has been officially voted as the best Bee Gees song by British fans of the band and is also Barry Gibb’s favorite song.
Released in 2011, We Found Love is a catchy and moving love song, telling the tale of a couple who managed to find their love where it didn’t seem possible, proving that live can always survive and thrive, even against the odds.
This song is still one of Rihanna’s most iconic and successful tracks and is arguably the ultimate love song of the 21st century so far.
Babyface, also known as Kenneth Brian Edmonds, wrote this song as the lead single for Boyz II Men’s second album, II. It was released in 1994 and held the top spot on the Hot 100 for 14 weeks.
The song’s accompanying music video features a security worker fitting a new system in a woman’s home. She offers him a drink, but he refuses, despite their mutual attraction. The man ultimately writes a love letter to the woman, featuring the lyrics of the song.
Released in 1981 and holding the pole position on the Billboard Hot 100 for nine consecutive weeks in 1981, Endless Love saw two titans of love songs team-up.
Diana Ross and Lionel Richie came together to record this song, which was used as the theme for the movie of the same name. The likes of Luther Vandross, Mariah Carey, and Shania Twain have all recorded covers over the years.