The Top 100 Best Love Songs Of All Time

The 100 best love songs for all occasions. The most common topic for pop songwriters is love. However, the perfect love song is probably the most difficult to write. The 100 presented here range across all types of relationships and emotions.   

Steve Winwood's #1 pop hit single "Higher Love" works on one level as seeking a deeper connection between individuals but co-songwriter Will Jennings also sees it as a hymn to the higher love that can come from beyond human existence. The song was Steve Winwood's first chart-topping pop hit. It also earned him Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal.

Watch Video

Goo Goo Dolls leader Johnny Rzeznik claims he broke a difficult period of writer's block by delivering this song. He was originally approached to write a song for the film soundtrack City Of Angels, and the result was "Iris." It spent a record-breaking 18 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 Radio Airplay chart. It ranks as the most played song on radio overall for the year 1998. "Iris" received Grammy Award nominations for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

Watch Video

This powerful expression of romantic appreciation is Anne Murray's only #1 pop hit in the US. Songwriter Randy Goodrum says the topic of the song is, "unconditional, undeserved love." Anne Murray won the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal with "You Needed Me." British boy band Boyzone covered the song in 1999 and went to #1 on the UK pop singles chart.

Watch Video

Amy Grant's effervescent, ebullient expression of love became a #1 pop smash. She was inspired by her six-week-old daughter Millie in writing the lyrics. The accompanying music video was so successful that many viewers believed that Amy Grant had a real life relationship with her video partner model Jme Stein. The clip received an MTV Video Music Award nomination for Best Female Video. In addition to the Billboard Hot 100, "Baby Baby" also went to #1 on the adult contemporary chart.

Watch Video

Legend has it that this song was written in romantic appreciation for actress Rosanna Arquette. However, songwriter David Paich says it is based on multiple girls that he knew. The hit came four years after Toto first reached the top 10 with their 1978 hit "Hold the Line."  It spent five weeks at #2 on the US pop chart. "Rosanna" won the Grammy Award for Record Of the Year, was nominated for Song of the Year, and features a drum pattern that has come to be known as a "half time shufffle." 

Watch Video

Best known as a songwriter and stage composer, Rupert Holmes became an unlikely pop star with this clever tale of love and personal ads. The lighthearted look at a troubled relationship saved by the personals has drawn both praise and derision.  It went to #1 on the pop singles chart in both the US and Canada. "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" has been used frequently in films. Six years later Rupert Holmes' musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood won five Tony Awards including Best Musical.

Watch Video

Kenny Loggins wrote "Danny's Song" as a gift to his brother Danny on the birth of his son Colin.  The original Loggins and Messina version of the song remains a radio favorite. In early 1973 Anne Murray took her cover version to the pop top 10 and topped the adult contemporary chart. For her performance she earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal.

Watch Video

In Rihanna's long list of major pop hits, "What's My Name?" stands out for its unabashedly romantic approach.  Rihanna had been wanting to record with Drake, and it proved a perfect match both on record and in the accompanying music video. The song became Rihanna's eighth #1 pop hit single in the US and also went to #1 on the UK pop singles chart. "What's My Name?" earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.

Watch Video

Read Review

Robert Smith, leader of the pop new wave band the Cure, wrote this song as a wedding gift to his future wife. This has been the most successful song by the band reaching #2 on the US pop chart. It also reached #2 on the modern rock chart. "Lovesong" has been covered by a wide range of artists. The band 311 topped the alternative chart with their 2004 version from the soundtrack to the movie 50 First Dates.

Watch Video

Barbra Streisand took home both an Academy Award for Best Original Song and Grammy Award for Song of the Year for this record. "Evergreen" was co-written by Barbra Streisand and successful pop songwriter Paul Williams. The song spent three weeks at the top of the US pop singles chart and topped the adult contemporary chart as well. The soundtrack album for A Star Is Born also went to #1 on the album chart and sold more than four million copies in the US.

Watch Video

John Lennon finished writing "(Just Like) Starting Over" while he was on a holiday in Bermuda and recorded it just weeks later. John Lennon says the he was inspired by such classic rock and roll performers as Roy Orbison, Eddie Cochran, Buddy Holly, and Elvis Presley. It was the first single released after he had taken a five year hiatus from the music industry. The song was already a top 10 pop hit when he was tragically murdered. "(Just Like) Starting Over" then topped the pop charts and the celebration of his relationship with wife Yoko Ono became the biggest pop hit of his career.

Listen

Elvis Presley's signature love song is based on the Civil War era folk tune "Aura Lee." Ken Darby, who earned Academy Awards for his scores to the films The King and I, Porgy and Bess, and Camelot, wrote the lyrics for "Love Me Tender." Elvis Presley performed the song live on the Ed Sullivan Show just before it's official release and about a month before release of the movie of the same name.  The following day RCA received more than a million advance orders making the song a gold record upon release. "Love Me Tender" spent two weeks at #1.

Watch Video

"Hey There Delilah" was written by Plain White T's frontman Tom Higgenson about steeplechase and cross country runner Delilah DiCrescenzo. The pair were introduced by a friend. Delilah already had a boyfriend, but Tom Higgenson wrote a song about her anyway, and the heartfelt ballad eventually climbed all the way to #1. "Hey There Delilah" was nominated for Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Best Pop Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocal. The real life Delilah attended the Grammy Awards celebration with Tom Higgenson.

Watch Video

Taylor Swift wrote "Love Story" after an experience with a boy who never officially became her boyfriend.  Her introduction of him to family and friends did not go well. She says that it was the first time she ever truly related to Romeo and Juliet.  Everything in the song except for the happy ending was drawn from the personal story. "Love Story" received strong acclaim from critics. Peaking at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, it was Taylor Swift's biggest pop hit to date. "Love Story" went to #1 on the adult contemporary and country charts. 

Watch Video

Folk-pop singer Melanie hit #1 on the pop singles chart with this clever romance. Some radio stations banned it claiming sexual implications in the lyrics. The idea of the skate key in a lock was seen by some as a metaphor for sexual acts. However, Melanie says the inspiration came from a situation in which she had been fasting for 27 days and upon breaking the fast came upon a McDonald's restaurant, and the aromas took her back to earlier memories of rollerskating and learning to ride a bike. 

Watch Video

Jim Yester of the vocal group The Association has said in recent years that the record label originally did not want to release "Cherish" because the lush sound was "too old and archaic."  Pop fans thought otherwise sending the song to #1 on the US pop chart. "Cherish" was covered by David Cassidy in 1972. His version hit the pop top 10 and topped the adult contemporary chart. 

Watch Video

"Truly Madly Deeply" began life as a song called "Magical Kisses." Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones of the Australian duo Savage Garden reworked the song and it became an international smash hit. It topped the Billboard Hot 100, and also spent 11 weeks at #1 on the adult contemporary chart. "Truly Madly Deeply" went on to spend a full year on the pop chart and 123 weeks, more than two years, in total on the adult contemporary chart. The dance group Cascada covered "Truly, Madly, Deeply" in 2006 and hit the dance radio chart.

Watch Video

"Saved the Best for Last" was turned down by a number of other singers before Vanessa Williams recorded it for her album The Comfort Zone. The song then topped the pop, adult contemporary, and R&B charts. It became widely considered to be the singer's signature song. The themes of redemption in the song are sometimes connected with Vanessa Williams' own story of comeback following her resignation as Miss America amid scandal. 

Watch Video

The song "The Best" was first recorded by singer Bonnie Tyler on her 1988 album Hide Your Heart. It was a minor chart hit in the UK. In 1989 Tina Turner covered it for her album Foreign Affair. The result was a top 10 hit around the world and a recording that was frequently used on soundtracks accompanying coverage of sports events and awards shows. "The Best" was co-written by Mike Chapman, known for his pop success with Exile, Nick Gilder, and Toni Basil, and Holly Knight, his co-writer on "Love Is a Battlefield" and "Better Be Good To Me."

Watch Video

Jodeci members K-Ci and JoJo struck out on their own as an R&B duo in 1997. They had only moderate chart success until the release of "All My Life." Joel "JoJo" Hailey wrote the song initially with his daughter as inspiration. He intended to offer it to another artist but then decided to keep it for a K-Ci and JoJo record. It became a smash hit across pop and R&B charts. It also earned the pair two Grammy Award nominations.

Watch Video

Best known at home in the US for her role as Leather Tuscadero on the TV sitcom Happy Days, Suzi Quatro had a string of hits in the UK. This is her only hit single in the US and her final top 10 pop hit in the UK. "Stumblin' In" is a duet with British singer Chris Norman who was lead vocalist for the glam rock band Smokie, best known for their hit single "Living Next Door to Alice."

Watch Video

Don Simpson, producer of the film An Officer and a Gentleman, heard "Up Where We Belong" and wanted it cut from the movie because he believed it wasn't a hit. However, the song, co-written by Jack Nitzsche, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Will Jennings, turned into a #1 smash hit. It is the only #1 pop hit in Joe Cocker's career and the first of two chart-topping duets for Jennifer Warnes. It later took home the Academy Award for Best Original Song and a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal. The American Film Instituted included "Up Where We Belong" in its survey of the 100 best songs from films.

Watch Video

Although best known for instrumental hits with his band the Tijuana Brass, Herb Alpert went to #1 on the pop chart for the first time by singing this Burt Bacharach and Hal David classic. Although normally not a vocalist, Herb Alpert sang the song on the TV special The Beat of the Brass, and, in response to viewer calls, he decided to release the song as a single. It became the first #1 hit single on his label A&M. 11 years later when his disco single "Rise" hit #1, Herb Alpert became the only artist to hit #1 with both a vocal and an instrumental recording.

Watch Video

Peter Frampton first released a recording of "Baby, I Love Your Way" on his 1975 solo album Frampton. However, it was his live recording on the smash double album Frampton Comes Alive! in 1976 that became a hit single. His breakthrough album was the bestselling album of the year for 1976 and ranked #14 in 1977. The reggae pop band Mountain released a cover version of "Baby I Love Your Way" in 1994, and it became a top 10 pop and adult contemporary hit.

Watch Video

Rocker Bryan Adams co-wrote and recorded the big power balled "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" for the soundtrack to the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. It turned into a big #1 pop hit single. In the US the song was certified three times platinum for sales. In the UK it spent 16 consecutive weeks at #1 setting an all time record. The song was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song and won the Grammy Award for Best Song For a Motion Picture or Television.

Watch Video

Although originally co-written and recorded by Neil Sedaka, the song "Love Will Keep Us Together" has come to be most closely associated with the relationship between husband and wife pop duo the Captain & Tennille. It became the pair's debut single. Daryl Dragon, aka The Captain, hoped their version of "I Write the Songs" would be the first single. "Love Will Keep Us Together" became the duo's breakthrough pop hit and went all the way to #1. It was the bestselling song of 1975 and also won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year. Neil Sedaka is acknowledged on the hit record when Toni Tennille sings, "Sedaka is back" in the fadeout.

Watch Video

Written and produced by Lionel Richie while he was still a member of the Commodores, the title song for the soundtrack to the film Endless Love ultimately created Diana Ross' 18th trip to #1 counting her records with the Supremes. The song spent nine weeks at the top of the pop singles chart. It also went to #1 on both the adult contemporary and R&B charts. "Endless Love" was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. In 1995 Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey took the song back to #2 on the pop singles chart. "Endless Love" made another trip back to the charts when Lionel Richie recorded a duet version with country singer Shania Twain for his album Tuskegee. Their version climbed to #12 on the adult contemporary chart.

Watch Video

"I Think I Love You" was released as the debut single by the fictional TV family The Partridge Family as their show began. It was featured twice on the show itself. David Cassidy and Shirley Jones are the only stars of the show who sing on the record. The rest of the music was provided by studio musicians and session singers. The recording became a #1 pop smash and helped turn the show into a hit. "I Think I Love You" was written by Tony Romeo who wrote songs for a number of other artists including Al Martino, Lou Christie, and Paul Anka. 

Listen

This R&B classic had its beginning as a country song titled "You're My First, You're My Last, My In-Between." It was not recorded for more than 20 years. However, after rewriting the lyrics, romantic R&B singer Barry White turned it into a disco classic peaking at #2 on the pop charts and #1 on the R&B chart. It was the second of three consecutive top 10 pop hits for Barry White.

Watch Video

Written and produced by Babyface, "I'll Make Love To You" is one of the biggest hit singles of all time. It spent a phenomenal 14 weeks at the top of the pop singles chart. At the time it tied Whitney Houston's recording of "I Will Always Love You" for the longest stay at the top. It also spent nine weeks on top of the R&B singles chart and went to #1 adult contemporary. Two years later Boyz II Men broke their own record on the pop chart when they spent 16 weeks at #1 on the Mariah Carey collaboration "One Sweet Day." Boyz II Men won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for "I Will Always Love You."

Watch Video

Co-written by legendary Philly soul architect Thom Bell and Linda Creed, this song was first recorded by actress and singer Connie Stevens under the title "Keep Growing Strong." However, it's the version recorded by male R&B vocal group the Stylistics that became a romantic classic. It was a #3 smash chart hit. Prince took the song back into the charts in 1997 reaching the top 30 at mainstream pop radio.

Watch Video

Delaney and Bonnie are the married duo of Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett. Their collective called Delane and Bonnie and Friends at times include such other musical luminaries as Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, Leon Russell, Rita Coolidge, and Eric Clapton. The collective were near their commercial peak in 1971 when they released the mostly acoustic album Motel Shot. It included the memorable "Never Ending Song of Love" which became a pop hit.

Listen

Anita Baker was a moderately successful r&b singer until the release of her second solo album Rapture in 1986. It included the soaring hit "Sweet Love." The song peaked at #8 on the pop singles chart #3 adult contemporary, and #2 R&B. It took home two Grammy Awards including Best R&B Song and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. "Sweet Love" was the first in a series of four consecutive top 10 R&B hits for Anita Baker.

Watch Video

The group Bread helped define 1970s soft rock. The song "If" has become one of their most covered songs and is a perennial wedding favorite. With its original release, "If" went to #4 on the pop singles chart and reached #1 on the easy listening chart. In a bit of trivia, "If" was the shortest title of a song to hit the pop top 10 until Prince reached the top 10 in 1993 with "7." "If" was written by Bread lead vocalist David Gates.

Listen

"Wouldn't It Be Nice" kicks off the Beach Boys' legendary album Pet Sounds. The song presents a couple who are in love but too young to get married. They daydream about how wonderful it would be to be adults in love. The single went to #8 on the pop singles chart and has been lauded as one of the greatest of the Beach Boys' creations. Among the unusual instruments for a pop recording are accordions and twelve-string guitar. 

Watch Video

Originally inspired by a story of a convict returning home, this song has become best known as a tribute to overseas soldiers and their ultimate return home. The story immortalized in "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" dates back decades before the hit song. The songwriters said they heard the story while serving in the military. It became a #1 pop smash for the pop act Tony Orlando and Dawn. At the same time a country version of the song by Johnny Carver reached the top 10 on the country chart. 

Watch Video

Paul McCartney successfully answered his critics with this #1 pop smash. Since the breakup of the Beatles, many critics accused Paul McCartney of being satisfied with just writing simple love songs. He had the last laugh when this song spent five weeks at #1 on the pop chart and also topped the adult contemporary chart. Billboard ranked "Silly Love Songs" as the biggest hit single of 1976. It has since been praised for its intricate instrumental arrangement.

Watch Video

George Michael's #1 smash hit "Father Figure" was released before he came out publicly as gay which has led to speculation through the years about the specific intended meaning of the intensely romantic song.  The accompanying music video depicts a heterosexual relationship. "Father Figure" was George Michael's third #1 pop hit single, and it also climbed to #3 on the adult contemporary chart while also crossing over to be a top 10 R&B hit.

Watch Video

Singer-songwriter Dan Fogelberg was known for more rock-oriented songs before he released the romantic ballad "Longer." He wrote the song while vacationing on the island of Maui in Hawaii. The instrumental arrangement is noted for a flugelhorn solo. "Longer" turned into Dan Fogelberg's biggest hit peaking at #2 pop and #1 on the adult contemporary chart. In later liner notes for one of his compilation albums, Dan Fogelberg said it was "the song that put me on the elevators."

Listen

INXS' dramatic ballad "Never Tear Us Apart" is written with a distinctive waltz beat. It also contains distinctive dramatic pauses. The song was originally composed as a bluesy track in the style of Fats Domino. It turned into a top 10 pop hit in the US while also climbing rock and alternative radio charts. The song was played at the funeral of INXS lead vocalist Michael Hutchence.

Watch Video

Joni Mitchell's "Help Me" is included on the album Court and Spark and became the singer-songwriter's only top 10 hit. The song marked some of the artist's early jazz experimentation. It was recorded with the jazz band Tom Scott's L.A. Express. "Help Me" went all the way to #1 on the easy listening chart.

Watch Video

Included as the memorable love them for the hit film Titanic, "My Heart Will Go On" turned into one of the biggest hit singles of all time. It went to #1 on pop charts around the world. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and took home four Grammy Awards including Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Reportedly, the film's director James Cameron did not want the song included with vocals in end credits, and Celine Dion was reluctant to record it. Fortunately for pop history, both changed their minds.

Watch Video

John Mellencamp wrote the song "Jack & Diane" basing it on Tennessee Williams' 1959 play Sweet Bird of Youth.  He has also said the distinctive clapping in the song was not meant to be in the final recording. It was first included to help keep tempo. The rock song turned into a #1 pop smash and the biggest hit single of John Mellencamp's career. Guitarist Mick Ronson, best known for his work with David Bowie, helped in the song's arrangements.

Watch Video

Johnny Cash's wife June Carter Cash wrote "Ring of Fire" with singer-songwriter Merle Kilgore. She wrote it to describe her experience of falling in love with her future husband Johnny Cash. June's sister Anita released the first recording of the song. Johnny Cash's distinctive version including mariachi horns hit the top 20 on pop charts and hit #1 on the country chart. Members of the Carter Family provide vocal harmonies.

Watch Video

Stevie Wonder's ballad "You Are the Sunshine Of My Life" is a contemporary pop standard. It topped both the Billboard Hot 100 and the easy listening chart. The song was nominated for both Record of the Year and Song of the Year Grammy Awards and won Best Pop Male Vocal. It was the second single from the album Talking Book. Session singer Jim Gilstrap sings the opening of the song and he is followed by Lani Groves until Stevie Wonder takes over.

Watch Video

This song refers to the love between Aladdin and Jasmine, the two primary characters in the hit Disney animated film Aladdin. In the film the song is sung by Brad Kane and Lea Salonga. However the R&B inflected version by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle became a #1 pop hit. It was the first song from a Disney movie to hit #1 on pop charts. "A Whole New World" won both the Academy Award for Best Original Song and the Grammy Award for Song of the Year. It was included in the 2014 Broadway adaptation of Aladdin.

Watch Video

"Nobody's Supposed To Be Here" was co-written by R&B star Montell Jordan. Canadian singer Deborah Cox took it all the way to #2 on the pop singles chart where it stayed for eight weeks but failed to reach the top. The song was also Deborah Cox's third #1 dance hit via a popular dance remix from Hex Hector.

Watch Video

Co-written by the Pretenders Chrissie Hynde and pop songwriting team of Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg, "I'll Stand By You" has become a standard for expressing support when times are difficult. Girls Aloud took the song to #1 in the UK as a charity single in 2004 and Carrie Underwood recorded it in 2007 as part of the American Idol charity event Idol Gives Back. Shakira recorded a version of the song for charity in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

Watch Video

Rod Stewart says that "Maggie May" was written based on a true story about the first woman he went to bed with in 1961. Buried within the frustrations, is an emotional statement of appreciation and long-term connection. Originally released as the B-side for the "Reason To Believe" single, "Maggie May" was the preferred song by radio programmers and became Rod Stewart's first solo #1 hit in the US. The success of the song helped the album Every Picture Tells a Story hit #1 as well.

Watch Video

Polish-born singer Basia Trzetrzelewska soared into the pop charts in 1988 with her pop hit "Time and Tide." Her album of the same name topped the jazz album chart as well as hitting pop charts and receiving a platinum certification for sales. 

Watch Video

The Turtles' "Happy Together" has the distinction of knocking the Beatles' "Penny Lane" off the top of the pop singles chart. The song was rejected a dozen times by various recording acts before the Turtles decided to record it. It has been featured extensively in TV shows and movies since first hitting the charts in 1967. Turtles member Mark Volman "played" a different instrument not included on the recording for each TV performance of the song by the group as a winking recognition of lip-synching for TV. Among the instruments were trumpet, piano, and French horn.

Watch Video

Sam Cooke wrote his legendary hit "You Send Me" himself, but he gave the label credit to his brother L.C. to avoid his own publisher profiting from the song. It was part of a set of songs recorded that moved Sam Cooke from the gospel arena to mainstream pop and R&B. "You Send Me" was originally considered the B-side to Sam Cooke's version of "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess, but disc jockeys preferred "You Send Me." The beautiful love song went all the way to #1 on the pop chart.

Watch Video

Beyonce's solo career kicked off with a bang when she released the single "Crazy In Love." Receiving widespread praise for the energetic performance and arrangement featuring horns and rapping from Jay-Z, the song went to #1. The instrumental hook is sampled from the 1970 "Are You My Woman? (Tell Me So)" by the Chi-Lites. Producer Rich Harrison introduced the hook to Beyonce, and she was initially wary of the retro horn sound. However, she finally warmed to it and "Crazy In Love" won Grammy Awards for Best R&B Song and Best Rap / Sung Collaboration.

Watch Video

Singer-songwriter Minnie Riperton went all the way to #1 on the pop singles chart in 1975 with "Lovin' You." Tragically, less than a year later she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She died at age 31 in July 1979. Minnie Riperton married songwriter and producer Richard Rudolph and is the mother of comic actress Maya Rudolph. "Lovin' You" is notable for including singing in the high whistle register during the bridge and the inclusion of chirping bird songs in the background. The song was co-produced by Richard Rudolph and Stevie Wonder.

Watch Video

The soul / funk band Heatwave broke into the mainstream pop charts in the mid-1970s. "Always and Forever" is a track from their debut album Too Hot To Handle. It was written by group member Rod Temperton who later wrote "Rock With You" and "Thriller" for Michael Jackson. The song landed in the top 20 of the pop chart, but it soon became a slow dance fixture at high school proms. Today it remains very popular as a wedding song.

Watch Video

Jason Mraz performed the love song "I'm Yours" live multiple times before recording it for his 2008 album We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. "I'm Yours" set a record for the most consecutive weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 remaining for 76 weeks and peaking at #6.  The longevity record was broken in 2014 by Imagine Dragons with their hit "Radioactive." "I'm Yours" received Grammy Award nominations for Song of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal. It reached #1 on both the adult contemporary and adult pop charts.

Watch Video

Read Review

Al Green is one of the most celebrated soul singers of all time. "Let's Stay Together" became his first top 10 pop hit and it went all the way to #1 in 1971. The song was named to the National Recording Registry in 2010 by the Library of Congress. A cover of the celebration of remaining in relationships became Tina Turner's comeback hit in 1983. In 2012 President Barack Obama performed a segment of "Let's Stay Together" during a fundraiser at New York's legendary Apollo Theater.

Watch Video

Kris Kristofferson, allegedly a lover of Janis Joplin, co-wrote the love ballad "Me and Bobby McGee," and it was first recorded in 1969 by country-pop singer Roger Miller. Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot took the song to #1 on the Canadian country chart in 1970. However, the best known version was Janis Joplin's recording for her album Pearl which became a posthumous #1 smash hit. It was the second posthumous #1 pop hit after Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay."

Listen

R&B musician Billy Preston originally wrote "You Are So Beautiful" in reference to his personal image of God. Reportedly, Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys was also involved in the creation of the song. It appeared on Billy Preston's 1974 album The Kids & Me. Joe Cocker's slowed down recording of the song became a top 5 pop hit and is now revered as one of the most moving love songs of all time.

Watch Video

In speaking about his debut hit as lead artist, Bruno Mars said he was looking to classics like Joe Cocker's "You Are So Beautiful" and Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight" when he wrote "Just the Way You Are." The result was a #1 pop smash and a Grammy Award winner for Best Pop Male Vocal. "Just the Way You Are" also topped both the adult contemporary and adult pop charts.

Watch Video

Olivia Newton-John's #1 smash hit was co-written by American songwriter Jeff Barry and Australian Peter Allen who also recorded the song for his album Continental American. Olivia Newton-John won two Grammy Awards for the song including Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. It is an unusual pop hit in its depiction of love between a pair who are already involved in other relationships. However, there is no indication the love will end in an affair. 

Watch Video

Singer-songwriter John Denver wrote "Annie's Song" as an ode to his wife Annie Martell Denver. He says that he wrote it in about 10 1/2 minutes on a ski lift to the top of the mountain in Aspen, Colorado. "Annie's Song" became a #1 smash on both pop and easy listening charts. It also hit the top 10 on the country chart. Flute player James Galway had a major British pop hit with his version of "Annie's Song."

Watch Video

Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison wrote "Have I Told You Lately" and recorded it for his 1989 album Avalon Sunset. He took it to #12 on the adult contemporary chart. In 1993 Rod Stewart's cover version became an even bigger hit going to #1 on the adult contemporary chart and the top 5 in pop radio airplay. Van Morrison and Irish band The Chieftains recorded a version of "Have I Told You Lately" in 1995 that won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. 

Watch Video

Songwriter Amanda McBroom did not originally write the song "The Rose" for the movie of the same name. Bette Midler selected it out of a pool of 30 possibilities of songs to include in her film. It was released as the second single from the movie soundtrack and climbed all the way to #3 on the pop chart while spending five weeks on top of the adult contemporary chart. Bette Midler won the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for her recording.

Watch Video

After he initially hit the charts with such rock songs as "School's Out" and "Elected," Alice Cooper began to storm the charts with ballads like "Only Women Bleed" and "I Never Cry." "You and Me" became his first ballad to hit the top 10. However, some believe it alienated his rock fans. Alice Cooper did not reach the top 10 again until 12 years later. A notable performance of "You and Me" by Alice Cooper and the Muppets appeared on The Muppet Show in 1978.

Watch Video

The love song of commitment "I'll Be There" became the Jackson 5's fourth consecutive #1 hit in 1970. Motown executive Berry Gordy wanted a ballad by the group after three consecutive upbeat pop hits. Michael Jackson's ad-libbed "Just look over your shoulders, honey" in the recording is an allusion to the Four Tops #1 smash "Reach Out I'll Be There." This is arguably the most covered of the Jackson 5's hits. In 1992 Mariah Carey took the song back to #1 on the pop chart in a version recorded with Trey Lorenz. They sang their version at Michael Jackson's memorial service.

Watch Video

Madonna recorded the love ballad "Crazy For You" for the soundtrack to the film Vision Quest. Initially her label Warner Bros. did not want the song released as a single because they thought it would distract attention from her album Like a Virgin. However, it was released and went to #1 significantly broadening the image of Madonna as a pop singer who could do more than uptempo dance songs. The ballad was also new territory for producer John "Jellybean" Benitez who is best known for his dance music. "Crazy For You" earned Madonna's first Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal.

Watch Video

Although originally written for Croce's son A.J. Croce, it has also gone down in a history as a romantic classic, hitting #1 on the pop singles chart 3 months after Croce's untimely death in a plane crash. It was the singer-songwriter's second #1 pop hit following "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown." "Time In a Bottle" also hit #1 on the adult contemporary chart.

Listen

Mariah Carey's #1 smash hit single "Fantasy" was built around a sample from the Tom Tom Club's 1981 hit single "Genius Of Love." It became only the second single of all time to debut at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It went on to spend eight weeks at the top. It earned Mariah Carey a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. The official remix of "Fantasy" includes an appearance from rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard. It confirmed Mariah Carey's growing interest in hip hop and successfully expanded her fan base.

Watch Video

The classic "My Girl" was co-written and co-produced by Smokey Robinson and one of his fellow members of The Miracles Ronald White. It was the first single release by The Temptations to feature David Ruffin on lead vocals. The result was the first #1 pop hit by the group and it became one of their signature songs. "My Girl" also topped the R&B chart and was recorded by Otis Redding for a 1965 single release.

Watch Video

Unusual among contemporary pop hits, "I'll Be" plays out as a lush, slow waltz. Singer-songwriter Edwin McCain says he wrote the song as a prayer at a moment of desperation.  He decided that perhaps if he wrote the future that he wanted, it would come true. "I'll Be" has become a popular wedding song. It reached the top 10 across mainstream pop, adult pop, and adult contemporary radio.

Watch Video

"Let's Get It On" was written by Marvin Gaye and Ed Townsend as a plea for sexual liberation. It became one of the biggest hits of the legendary soul singer's career going to #1 and giving him a reputation as a sex symbol in pop music. It was one of the top 5 pop hits of the year in 1973. Reportedly, Marvin Gaye's future wife Janis Hunter was in the studio while "Let's Get It On" was recorded.

Listen

The song "I Will Always Love You" was originally written and recorded by Dolly Parton in 1974 for her album Jolene. She wrote it about the professional split with fellow country performer Porter Wagoner. Released as a single, it went to #1 on the country chart. She then re-recorded the song for inclusion on the soundtrack to the 1982 film Best Little Whorehouse In Texas. The song went back to #1 on the country chart. Then Whitney Houston recorded the biggest version of the song for the soundtrack to the film The Bodyguard in 1992. She spent 14 weeks at #1 and won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year.

Watch Video

The power ballad "I Don't Want To Miss a Thing" is the biggest pop hit of Aerosmith's career having debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.  The song, recorded for the soundtrack to the movie Armageddon and written by Diane Warren, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. "I Don't Want To Miss a Thing" was a hit across pop, rock, and even Latin charts. 

Watch Video

Percy Sledge's recording of the legendary soul song "When a Man Loves a Woman" was a #1 smash hit, and it turned him into an R&B star. It also helped cement Atlantic Records' position as one of the top R&B record labels. Bette Midler took the song back to the pop top 40 with a version recorded for her film The Rose. In 1992 Michael Bolton went to #1 on the pop and adult contemporary charts with his version of "When a Man Loves a Woman."

Watch Video

Smokey Robinson wrote and produced "My Guy." It is an emphatic statement of dedication to a partner. Going all the way to #1, "My Guy" became Mary Wells' biggest hit and her signature song. Following the song's success Mary Wells left Motown for 20th Century-Fox, but she failed to have a major hit with the new label. "My Guy" has been re-recorded many times including an adult contemporary hit by Petula Clark and a top 25 pop version by Sister Sledge.

Watch Video

In a 1996 interview with British music magazine NME, Noel Gallagher of Oasis said that he wrote "Wonderwall" about his then girlfriend Meg Matthews. Later, after the pair were divorced, he changed his story and said the song is not about her. His brother Liam Gallagher is the lead vocalist on the song. The recording earned two Grammy Award nominations and became the group's only top 10 pop hit in the US and their sixth top 10 hit at home in the UK.

Watch Video

According to Robbie Grey, the vocalist for new wave group Modern English, "I Melt With You" is about a couple making love while nuclear bombs fall. The song was used in a "falling in love" montage in the hit 1980s film Valley Girl. "I Melt With You" hit the charts in both 1983 and 1990. 

Watch Video

Legendary songwriting team Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote "(They Long To Be) Close To You" in the early 1960s. It was recorded and released as the B-side to a single in 1963 by Richard Chamberlain. Later in the decade Herb Alpert considered recording it as a follow up to his #1 smash "This Guy's In Love With You." However, having concerns about some of the lyrics, he suggested it for rising duo The Carpenters. They turned it into a #1 smash hit and earned a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus.

Watch Video

"Get Here" was written by singer-songwriter Brenda Russell. She recorded it as the title song for her 1988 breakthrough album that also included "Piano In the Dark." Two years later singer Oleta Adams released her cover version of the song as a follow up to work she had done with the duo Tears for Fears. "Get Here" reached the top 5 on pop charts in both the US and UK and was adopted by families of military troops fighting the Gulf War. The song received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal.

Watch Video

Rock band Journey's keyboard player Jonathan Cain wrote "Faithfully" about the difficulties in maintaining a romantic relationship while working as a touring musician.  Sadly, he and his wife divorced a few years after the release of the song.  It peaked at #12 on the pop chart and also reached the top 25 on the adult contemporary chart. "Faithfully" remains a haunting emotional landmark in Journey's catalog.

Watch Video

While she was finishing her debut solo album She's So Unusual, Cyndi Lauper was introduced to songwriter Rob Hyman. Both songwriters were having difficulties in their personal relationships. "Suitcase of memories" is a line that Cyndi Lauper remembers as particularly grabbing her. The pair put together "Time After Time" as one of the last songs for the album. It was released as the second single from the project and became Cyndi Lauper's first #1 hit single. It earned a Grammy Award nomination for Song of the Year.

Watch Video

James Mtume and Reggie Lucas, two former members of jazz legend Miles Davis' band, wrote "The Closer I Get To You" while backing up Roberta Flack. The song brought Roberta Flack back to the pop top 10 for the first time in four years. It was also her second top 10 duet with Donny Hathaway following 1972's "Where Is the Love." Donny Hathaway died tragically less than a year after release of "The Closer I Get To You."

Listen

"(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" was the final top 10 hit by R&B legend Jackie Wilson. It is arguably his best remembered hit. The first recorded version of "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" by the Dells was not released. It was later included on their 1968 album There Is. In 1977 singer Rita Coolidge covered the song and took it all the way to #2 making her a pop star.

Watch Video

"Tonight I Celebrate My Love" was co-written by legendary pop songwriter Gerry Goffin and R&B songwriter Michael Masser. The duet followed Roberta Flack's return to the pop charts the previous year with "Making Love." It was the first recording by R&B singer Peabo Bryson to break into the pop top 40 after a long career of R&B hits dating back to 1975. "Tonight I Celebrate My Love" was a top 5 hit on both the R&B and adult contemporary charts.

Watch Video

Bob Dylan's song "Make You Feel My Love," originally recorded for his 1997 album Time Out Of Mind, has become something of a contemporary pop standard.  The gentle love song has been a chart hit for Billy Joel and Garth Brooks, but it is Adele's heartfelt reading that is most often recognized as the definitive recording. Her version has hit the UK pop charts multiple times when performed by contestants on and Britain's Got Talent. Its highest peak has been #4.

Watch Video

Married songwriting team Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson wrote the classic "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." British singer Dusty Springfield wanted to record the song, but the songwriting pair held it back as they were wanting to draw the attention of the Motown record label. The Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell recording of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" became their signature hit and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. Diana Ross covered the song in 1970 and it became her first #1 solo pop hit.

Watch Video

Married singer-songwriters Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson had been writing hits for other artists since the 1960s, but they had never created a major pop breakthrough of their own. In 1984, the emphatic declaration of committed love on "Solid" went to #12 on the pop chart and #1 R&B. The pair remade the song for President Barack Obama as "Solid (As Barack)" in 2009.

Watch Video

"The Letter" was written by Wayne Carson after his father Shorty Thompson suggested the line, "Give me a ticket for an aeroplane." A demo tape was sent to record producer and entrepreneur Chips Moman. He suggested the song be recorded by a new group The Box Tops. They were a Memphis, Tennessee based band in the 1960s. When the group recorded "The Letter," lead vocalist Alex Chilton was only 16. The song was the group's debut hit and went all the way to #1. It earned two Grammy Award nominations. Joe Cocker took "The Letter" back to the pop top 10 in 1970.

Watch Video

"Chasing Cars" first came to prominence through inclusion on the soundtrack of the TV show Grey's Anatomy but this song's words of devotion make it memorable well beyond it's inclusion on TV. It received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rock Song and went to #5 on the US pop charts. In the UK Snow Patrol has spent a total of more than two years on the pop singles chart with "Chasing Cars."

Watch Video

At the time that he wrote "I Got You Babe," Sonny Bono was working for Phil Spector as a songwriter and producer. It was released as the debut single for married couple Sonny and Cher. The song went to #1 and became a defining hit of the hippie counterculture. It went to #1 in Canada and the UK as well making Sonny and Cher pop stars.

Watch Video

Paul McCartney has said that "And I Love Her" is, "the first ballad I impressed myself with." Although it only reached #12 on the US pop chart, it has gone down in history as one of the group's greatest love songs. The song is included in the film A Hard Day's Night.

Watch Video

"In Your Eyes" was first released as a track from Peter Gabriel's 1986 album So.  However, it is the 1989 teen romance Say Anything that made the song one of the top classic love songs of all time.  The movie's character Lloyd Dobler serenading his ex-girlfriend with a boombox playing "In Your Eyes" is one of the iconic film scenes of the 1980s.

Watch Video

This song has a long and fascinating history beginning with its use as a theme from a prison movie Unchained in 1955. In 1955 it hit the US top 10 in three different versions by Les Baxter, Roy Hamilton, and Al Hibbler. The latter two went to #1 on the R&B chart. In 1965 blue-eyed soul duo the Righteous Brothers released the most enduring version and it peaked at #4 on the pop singles chart. However, when included in the hit movie Ghost in 1990, their recording returned to the pop charts in both the original form and new re-recorded version.

Watch Video

"Your Song" was originally released as the B-side of a single with "Take Me To the Pilot." However, DJs preferred "Your Song" and it ultimately became a top 10 pop smash. Elton John's classic was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998. Ellie Goulding took the song to #2 on the UK pop singles chart with a cover version in 2010.

Watch Video

Eric Clapton wrote his classic "Wonderful Tonight" while waiting for his then girlfriend Pattie Boyd to get ready for an annual Buddy Holly Party thrown by Paul and Linda McCartney in 1976. It was included on the album Slowhand and climbed into the top 20 on the pop singles chart in 1978. 

Watch Video

Billy Joel wrote "Just the Way You Are" was written for his first wife Elizabeth. It became his first top 10 pop hit and a major breakthrough. The song climbed to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the adult contemporary chart. It won Grammy Awards for Record and Song of Year.

Watch Video

Paul McCartney first recorded the song "Maybe I'm Amazed" on his debut solo album McCartney released in 1970. It is dedicated to his wife Linda McCartney. A live recording of the song from the album Wings Over America became a top 10 pop hit in 1977 and is the best known recording.

Watch Video

"The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" was written in 1957 by British singer-songwriter Ewan MacColl for Peggy Seeger who would later become his wife. Although played and recorded by a number of artists, it is Roberta Flack's 1972 version that has become the definitive interpretation. After being used in the film Play Misty For Me, the song went to #1 on the US pop chart.

Watch Video

This is the only song written by George Harrison to be released as the A-side of a single by the group. It also quickly became the most covered song by the group outside of "Yesterday." George Harrison said that James Brown's recording was his personal favorite. Released with "Come Together" on the single, the song went to #1 on the US pop chart. Frank Sinatra referred to "Something" as, "the greatest love song of the past 50 years."

Listen