I am back with another blog sharing love songs I love. If the previous post with 12 randomly selected titles was missed, the link is here: Romantic Love Songs ~ Blog One. As I noted in the prior blog, a comprehensive and definitive list of “best romantic love songs” is literally impossible to compile, for me or anyone. There are far too many great ones, for one reason, but music as an art form is extremely subjective. Secondly, aside from the widely varying personal sensations elicited by music, defining what constitutes a “love song” isn’t straightforward either.
Obviously LOVE is the key element, specifically love of a romantic nature (as opposed to love for one’s car or dog, for instance, or only sexual attraction or sex itself). Beyond that, “love songs” cover diverse themes, including but not limited to the following:
- brand-new love
- falling in love
- pinning for an unrequited love
- love that’s stood the test of time
- breakup songs
- make-up songs
- songs that express love as something selfless and noble
- songs that express the physical side of love
- sad songs about a lost love
Nor do love songs have any standardizations of melody or musical genre. We may tend to immediately think of the slow, dreamy, soothing songs voiced by silky crooner-like singers as the quintessential “love song” but as we all know there are a plethora of upbeat, funky love songs. Even the lyrics, while perhaps typically deep and inspiring, can be whimsical and downright silly. It is probably easier to define what ISN’T a love song!
Here are 12 more of my favorite songs, again in no particular order, each one including a YouTube video, a tidbit of history, rankings and sales, and snippet of lyrics. Enjoy!
“God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys (1966)
Written by Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys and Tony Asher, the love song is distinguished amongst composers as an innovative piece of music and the Beach Boys’ finest recording. Interestingly, at the time, referencing “God” in a pop song was considered taboo with the very real possibility of being banned from radio stations. In hopes of avoiding extreme controversy, it was placed on the B-side of the single, and was never banned outright but some stations hesitated playing it. Luckily, radio in Canada, the UK, and Europe had no problems with God! It swiftly rose in international charts, catching up in the US eventually. To this day, “God Only Knows” is considered one of the greatest songs ever written.
God only knows what I’d be without you
If you should ever leave me
Though life would still go on, believe me
The world could show nothing to me
So what good would living do me
“(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” by Bryan Adams (1991)
Written by Bryan Adams, it was the lead single on the soundtrack album of the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. A #1 Billboard hit in the US for 17 consecutive weeks, it set the UK record for the longest uninterrupted #1 run at 16 weeks! It has sold over 15 million copies, making it Adams’ most successful song and one of the best-selling singles of all time.
Side Note: The original music video filmed with Bryan Adams and his band on location in England, and then intercut with clips from the movie, has since been erased from existence. I literally spent an hour searching, beginning to believe my memory was faulty until finding several articles on the filming of the video in 1991. However, I never uncovered when the video was removed or what happened, other than a handful of references to “copyright issues” on Reddit, etc. It is a bizarre mystery, and frankly very tragic as it was a beautiful video and much better than the too-long black and white “official version” I’ve included below.
Look in to your heart, you will find
There is nothing there to hide
Take me as I am, take my life
I would give it all, I would sacrifice
“The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” Roberta Flack (1969)
The song was written in 1957 as a folk song, and recorded by several artists including Peter, Paul and Mary, the Kingston Trio, and Gordon Lightfoot before Roberta Flack’s version in 1969. Altering the pace to a slow and sensual ballad, the song was included on Flack’s debut album First Take but was not released as a single. True success came when Clint Eastwood heard the song on the radio and immediately called Flack on the phone, asking to use the song in his 1971 directorial debut film Play Misty For Me. Two months following the film’s release, the song was issued as a single and skyrocketed to #1 on the charts. It won the 1972 Grammy awards for Record and Song of the Year.
And the first time ever I lay with you
I felt your heart so close to mine
And I knew our joy would fill the earth
And last ’til the end of time my love
And it would last ’til the end of time
“Take My Breath Away” by Berlin (1986)
The song was written specifically for the movie Top Gun per request of power producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Composer Giorgio Moroder first wrote “Danger Zone” which was recorded by Kenny Loggins, and while happy with the song, Bruckheimer wanted a slower, romantic song for Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis. American new wave band Berlin was selected to record, and the rest is history!
Watchin’ every motion in this foolish lover’s game
Haunted by the notion, somewhere there’s a love in flames
Turning and returning to some secret place inside
Watchin’ in slow motion as you turn my way and say
Take my breath away
My love, take my breath away
“Something” by the Beatles (1969)
Written by Beatles guitarist George Harrison, the song is generally considered a love song to Harrison’s first wife Pattie Boyd, although he offered alternative sources of inspiration in later interviews. Released on the album Abbey Road, it was the A-side single coupled with “Come Together”. By the late 1970s, it had been covered by over 150 artists, making it the second-most covered Beatles composition after “Yesterday”.
Somewhere in her smile she knows
That I don’t need no other lover
Something in her style that shows me
I don’t want to leave her now
You know I believe and how
“Maybe I’m Amazed” by Paul McCartney (1970)
Written by Paul McCartney for wife Linda, specifically as she supported him during the traumatic end of the Beatles. The song was included on McCartney’s first post-Beatles break-up solo album McCartney. Recorded at the Abbey Road studio, McCartney played all the instruments heard in the song. McCartney did not release it as a single, however the album was a huge success and the song has been consistently ranked among the greatest songs of all time. Paul and Linda married in 1969 and were together until her tragic death from breast cancer in 1998.
Maybe I’m amazed at the way you love me all the time
Maybe I’m afraid of the way I love you
Maybe I’m amazed at the the way you pulled me out of time
And hung me on a line
Maybe I’m amazed at the way I really need you
“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith (1998)
Hard rock band Aerosmith does not instantly come to mind for a great love song, which was the case with songwriter Diane Warren who envisioned it would be performed by “Celine Dion or somebody like that” when she composed the ballad for the movie Armageddon. Aerosmith was already involved in writing and recording songs for the movie —which co-starred Steven Tyler’s daughter Liv Tyler— so adding this one to the other three made sense in one respect, although drummer Joey Kramer said it was “difficult to imagine what kind of touch Aerosmith could put on it.” Well, they did such a fabulous job, the song became their biggest hit! It debuted at #1 in the US and stayed for four weeks, following with similar stats worldwide.
Lying close to you feeling your heart beating
And I’m wondering what you’re dreaming
Wondering if it’s me you’re seeing
Then I kiss your eyes
And thank God we’re together
And I just want to stay with you
In this moment forever
Forever and ever
“Always and Forever” by Heatwave (1978)
Written by Rod Temperton, the song has become a standard recorded by numerous artists but was originally released by British funk-disco band Heatwave. A standout amongst the band’s predominantly disco repertoire, the ballad was an essential slow dance song throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In 1994, soul singer Luther Vandross released a new version, which earned him a Grammy nomination.
And every day love me your own special way
Melt all my heart away with a smile
Take time to tell me you really care
And we’ll share tomorrow together
I’ll always love you, forever, forever
“A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri (2011)
This song is one of the few released after about 2000 that I am very familiar with and that is because it is from The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. Yes, I am a Twilighter and make no apologies! In this case, I am glad as it means I heard this incredible song. Written for the movie and recorded by Christina Perri, this is an extremely romantic song for any lovers, even if both are human! The single has sold over 9 million copies, bringing it very close to RIAA Diamond status!
Time stands still
Beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything, take away
What’s standing in front of me
Every breath, every hour has come to this
“Too Much Heaven” by the Bee Gees (1978)
Written jointly by the Bee Gees, that being Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb. Early in the summer of 1978, the brothers had promised that all the proceeds of their next single would go to UNICEF to celebrate the 1979 International Year of the Child. This song was that single, and earned over $7 million dollars.
You’re my life, I can see a new tomorrow
Everything we are will never die
Love is such a beautiful thing
When you are to me the light above
Made for all to see our precious love
“You Make My Dreams” by Hall & Oates (1980)
Written by the awesome pop duo Daryl Hall and John Oates, this bouncy tune is a blend of “delta blues” and “Texas swing” according to Hall. It only reached #5 on the Billboard chart, but has appeared in dozens of movies, TV shows, ball games, commercials, and other pop culture places. I defy anyone’s toes not to tap when it plays!
On a night when bad
Dreams become a screamer
When they’re messing with the dreamer
I can laugh it in the face
Twist and shout my way out
And wrap yourself around me
‘Cause a-I ain’t the way you found me
And I’ll never be the same
“The Lady in Red” by Chris de Burgh (1986)
Written by British-Irish singer Chris de Burgh for wife Diane, inspired by the memory of when he first saw her. Released as a single, it quickly became a massive hit and de Burgh’s best-selling, signature song. Apparently, if Wikipedia can be trusted (grain of salt) the song is disliked by many critics. Frankly, I cannot fathom that as I love this song, and I tend to trust the multiple high chart statistics as the real indicator: #1 spot on six international charts, #2 US Billboard Contemporary, and #3 US Billboard Hot 100. Chris and Diane de Burgh have been married since 1977.
I’ve never seen you looking so gorgeous as you did tonight,
I’ve never seen you shine so bright, you were amazing,
I’ve never seen so many people want to be there by your side,
And when you turned to me and smiled, it took my breath away,
And I have never had such a feeling,
Such a feeling of complete and utter love, as I do tonight
I’ve so enjoyed compiling these musical blogs and plan to continue the series for sure!
Tell me which are your favorites from the list above?
What love songs top your personal favorite list?