“Love songs are one of the great essences of life, the only thing that’s lasting.” – George Benson
They say the only things guaranteed in life are death and taxes, but I would beg to differ. Love is one of the greatest feelings/emotions a human being can experience. I’m not talking necessarily about happy endings, nor am I denying love can be an emotional roller coaster. The songs on this list run the gamut from love won to love lost, but in every case love is immortalized. Whether “Love Stinks” for us or we are growing old with our high school sweethearts, music has always spoken of that magical mystery we call love. Everyone remembers the song that played when they met their first loves, or the first song you danced to, or the song they played at your wedding. Maybe you are longing for love, just like the kind you hear in “Just An Old Fashioned Love Song.” Wherever you are on your love journey, here are ten songs guaranteed to make your heart swell and bring tears to your eyes.
“My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion: No list of love songs would be complete without this classic from the epic 1997 romantic retelling of the Titanic disaster. Who will ever forget the scene where Rose says, “I’ll never let go, Jack. I’ll never let go.” This song brings me to my emotional knees every time I hear it. It must have that effect on the people I live with, because I’m being told to turn it off. “You just can’t do this to us.” Sad for them, because I’m never letting go of Titanic, and this list is just getting started.
“My Immortal” by Evanescence: From the band’s first wide release in 2003, this is one of those not-so-happy ending songs, but it does address the eternal connection we have with those we love. Co-written by Amy Lee and Ben Moody, the song is based in part on a story Moody had previously written. Love truly never dies, it simply becomes immortal. This one is for my late husband, Scott. I feel every lyric of this song. “You still have all of me.”
“All I Want Is You” by U2: This poignant song full of longing is from U2’s 1989 album Rattle and Hum. Bono’s voice is full of longing and when he sings the chorus, “All the promises we make from the cradle to the grave, when all I want is you” you feel it. As an extra, this video is one of Peter Dinklage’s first film appearances. There’s nothing like love and a little Game of Thrones trivia. After performing this song with a blind fan who accompanied him on one of Bono’s guitars, to honor the fan’s wife, Bono gave him the guitar. That’s love of a different kind.
“Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers: This song was first released in 1955 but gained a whole new following when the song was used in the 1990 film Ghost. If you haven’t seen this film, you should, and I guarantee you will not be dry-eyed as the ghost of the heroine’s dead love cradles her in his arms from the spirit world. This is eternal love at it’s finest.
“If” by Bread: This is another classic and the #1 wedding song of it’s time. Written by David Gates, performed by his band Bread, and released in 1971, this song has been covered by dozens and dozens of artists, including Frank Sinatra, Dolly Parton, Westlife, and hundreds of YouTubers. Grab your love and fly away.
“Iris” by The Goo Goo Dolls: “I’d give up forever to touch you,” sings Johnny Rzeznik, “you’re the closest to heaven that I’ll ever be.” The song was written for the 1998 film City of Angels, but ended up unused until the band put it on their sixth album. The film is about an angel who chooses to fall from heaven to be with the mortal he loves. How can you top that?
“Palace” by Sam Smith: This is another song of love gone wrong, but as he crooned in 2017, “real love is never a waste of time.” With his soft voice and beautiful musical composition, this has been my go-to love song since it’s release in 2017. “But I still own the ghost of you.”
“I’ll Follow You” by Shinedown: If you know anything about me at all, you know I’m a die-hard Shinedown fanatic and no list of my favorite love songs would be complete without this rock ballad from the band’s 4th album, Amaryllis. A hit at modern rock weddings, this song is about going to the ends of the earth for and with your love, even into the “eye of the storm.” Singer Brent Smith has said of this song, “The battles you face together are nothing compared to your feelings for one another. You’ll always be there for them as they will for you.”
“Love Story” by Taylor Swift: Written by Swift for her second studio album Fearless, this song is based on an early love of hers that was not well liked by her family and friends, so she turned to classic Shakespeare to create a wonderful ode to frustrated teen love. I mean, we’ve all been there, right? Despite the heavy theme, the song is positive and upbeat, and catchy enough to become your favorite earworm.
“I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston: The one, the only, the classic. The song was written by Dolly Parton in 1973; Whitney recorded it for her 1992 film, The Bodyguard. The song charted again in 2012, shortly after Whitney’s untimely death. There will never be another voice like Whitney’s. Enough said.
These are my own top ten favorites; please share yours in the comments below! Here’s wishing you and yours a musical and love filled Valentine’s Day.