The best love songs tell stories that touch your heart in such a way that they are never forgotten. They spark memories of the joys, fears, pains, heartbreak, and passions of love. Of course, your all-time love song could depend on your age, but those listed below have spent weeks at the top of the charts, won awards and span many years and genres.
1. “When a Man Loves a Woman”
Percy Sledge’s 1966 R&B hit “When a Man Loves a Woman” became an instant standard love song. It made number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B singles charts. It was listed 54th in the List of Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 greatest songs of all time. Many artists have covered it, including Bette Midler and Michael Bolton.
2. “The Way We Were”
“The Way We Were” tugs at your heartstrings every time you hear it. Who doesn’t want to forget the pain of love and remember the laughter? It was Barbara Streisand’s first #1 hit; it won the Academy Award for Best Song in 1974 and a Grammy for Song of The Year in 1975.
3. “Let’s Stay Together”
Al Green’s 1972 song, “Let’s Stay Together,” is about unconditional love. It was at the top of Billboard Hot Soul Singles chart for nine weeks. When Tina Turner covered it in 1983, the cover revitalized her career. It has also appeared in many movies; perhaps the most famous cinematic use of the song was a scene from the film Pulp Fiction.
4. “I Just Called to Say I Love You”
Stevie Wonder’s “Just Called to say I love You” is about a guy who calls his special someone with a simple message of love. It won the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1984, and that same year reached the top of three different charts: Hot 100, Adult Contemporary and R&B.
5. “Annie’s Song”
John Denver wrote “Annie’s Song” for his wife after their first separation in 1974. It expressed his joy and relief that they were back together. It became one of Denver’s biggest international hits, topping the charts in the United Kingdom in 1974 and again in 2012. Annie’s Song is so popular in England that the Sheffield United Football Cub plays it at the beginning of games and the fans sing along.
6. “With or Without You”
If you’ve ever been in love with someone and been unsure if you could give up your single life, “With or Without You” is a love song that will speak to you. It was sung by Irish rock band U2 on their album “The Joshua Tree” and released as a single in March 1987. It was voted best single in a Rolling Stone magazine reader’s poll and won an MTV Viewer’s Choice award in 1987.
Rapper Kendrick Lamar’s “Love” is ear candy that muses on the highs and lows of romance, lust, love, and marriage. It peaked at #11 on the Hot 100 charts in January 2018. At this writing, the video has received almost 60 million views.
8. “I’ll Stand by You”
“I’ll Stand by You” is a reminder that everyone needs someone to love them enough to stand by them through thick and thin. Originally recorded by The Pretenders, it spent 29 weeks on the charts but has returned again and again with different cover versions. In 2004 the Girls Aloud version spent six weeks in the top 10, and in 2007 Carrie Underwood’s version debuted in the Hot 100 at #6.
9. “I Will Always Love You”
“I Will Always Love You” sung by Whitney Huston is one of everyone’s favorite love songs. It peaked #1 for 14 weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 1992, won a Grammy for Record of the Year in 1993, and returned to the Hot 100 in 2012. However, before Whitney, it was a #1 hit for Dolly Parton, the woman who composed the tune. Dolly’s version topped the Hot Country Songs chart in 1974 and again in 1982.
10. “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything”
Barry White’s “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything,” one the greatest disco love songs, is about the joys of being in love. It reached number one R&B and number two Pop for two weeks in early 1975.