50 Best Love Songs Of All Time Ranked

by Alex Harris

15th April, 2024

50 Best Love Songs Of All Time Ranked

Numerous songs have been composed on a vast array of subjects, but the most notable ones, ranging from emotional 1950s ballads to current club anthems, centre on the highs and lows of being in a romantic relationship.

Our countdown comprises the top 50 Hot 100 hits featuring variations of the word “love” in their titles.

This collection of romantic melodies spans across the entire history of the Hot 100, starting from the Teddy Bears’ 1958 hit “To Know Him Is to Love Him” to Lewis Capaldi’s 2019 chart-topper “Someone You Loved.”

Love is a multifaceted and exquisite emotion, and this list encompasses all types of love songs, from tracks like “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis to “The Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston to eternal love songs like Donna Lewis’ “I Love You Always Forever” and even NSFW love songs like Madonna’s “Justify My Love.”

The Billboard Top 50 Love Songs of All Time list is determined by the actual performance of songs on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 chart, which has been in existence since August 4, 1958, and will continue until February 10, 2024.

The songs included in this ranking all contain the word “love” in their title, or a variation such as “lover,” “loving,” or “lovely.”

A reverse point system is used to rank the songs, with the highest value given to songs that spent the most weeks at number one and the lowest value given to songs that ranked lower.

The weighting of different eras takes into account changes in chart methodology and the varying rates of chart turnover during different time periods.

50. “This Guy’s In Love With You” – Song by Herb Alpert | Reached No. 1 on the Hot 100 Chart for Four Consecutive Weeks in 1968

During a CBS special, Alpert performed a Burt Bacharach/Hal David song to his spouse at Malibu beach.

The following day, numerous viewers called the network inquiring about the availability of the song for purchase.

A&M quickly responded by releasing the single, which eventually reached the top spot on the label’s chart.

49. “Don’t Let Go” – En Vogue | Highest Position on Hot 100: Number 2 (1997)

The female vocal group from Oakland, Calif., had their 12th entry on the Hot 100 with this song, which became their most successful hit, holding the runner-up position for four weeks.

The track was originally recorded for the movie soundtrack to Set It Off, featuring Hollywood stars Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett.

48. “Justify My Love” by Madonna | Top 100 Summit: 2 Weeks at No. 1 (1991)

MTV deemed the music video for this song too provocative and decided not to broadcast it. Shortly after, Warner/Reprise Video declared that the video for “Justify My Love” would be the initial commercially available single.

As a response, “Nightline” on ABC aired the complete, uncensored version of the video.

47. Janet Jackson’s song “That’s The Way Love Goes” reached the top spot on the Hot 100 chart for eight consecutive weeks in 1993.

Virgin’s first release by Janet Jackson was inspired by a snippet taken from James Brown’s popular 1974 R&B chart-topper, “Papa Don’t Take No Mess.”

Initially, Jackson was not impressed with the track created by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

The producers suggested that she take it with her during her two-week holiday break. Upon her return, she exclaimed that it was “incredible.”

46. “Power of Love” by Celine Dion | Highest Position on the Hot 100 Chart: Number 1 for Four Consecutive Weeks in 1994

Jennifer Rush was born in Queens, New York, and was offered a contract by CBS in Germany. She achieved global recognition with her fourth release, which was inspired by her partner Steven.

Despite multiple attempts, the song was unable to gain traction in the United States, with underwhelming performances by Rush, Air Supply, and Laura Branigan.

However, it eventually became a chart-topping hit for Dion, who stated to Billboard that the song “Power of Love” was the perfect choice for showcasing strong and powerful vocals.

45. The song “I Love You Always Forever” by Donna Lewis reached No. 2 on the Hot 100 chart in 1996.

Donna Lewis, a musician from Wales, was unable to dethrone Los Del Rio’s “Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)” from the top spot.

As a result, her only single to enter the top 40 of the Hot 100 remained at No. 2 for nine weeks.

However, she had more success on the Radio Songs chart, where the song held the No. 1 position for 12 weeks.

44. The song “I Just Called to Say I Love You” by Stevie Wonder reached No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart for three consecutive weeks in 1984.

According to reports, Dionne Warwick suggested to the makers of the Gene Wilder movie “The Woman in Red” that they approach Wonder to create the soundtrack.

This decision ultimately led to the film’s success, as it won an Oscar, with the song composed specifically for the movie winning the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

43. “The Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston | Reached Number 1 on the Hot 100 chart for a duration of three weeks in 1986

The song for the movie The Greatest, a biographical film about Muhammad Ali, was written by Michael Masser and Linda Creed.

In 1977, George Benson’s soundtrack single reached its highest position at No. 24. When Houston auditioned for Clive Davis, she sang the song, which was later featured as the B-side of her first Arista single, “You Give Good Love.”

Eventually, after receiving significant airplay on radio stations, it was released as the fifth single from Houston’s debut album.

42. “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis & the News | Highest Position on the Hot 100 Chart: Number 1 for a Duration of Two Weeks (1985)

Lewis was requested to provide a song for the soundtrack of Back to the Future. He confidently presented his ideal choice, “In the Nick of Time.”

However, negotiations dragged on for so long that Lewis ended up giving the song to a different film, Brewster’s Millions.

This decision caused disappointment among the “Future” team, but Lewis had a backup plan in the form of another perfect song, “Back in Time.”

As the movie’s big hit, “The Power of Love” was also created by Lewis for a different scene.

41. “Dreamlover” by Mariah Carey peaked at No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart for eight consecutive weeks in 1993.

According to producer Dave Hall, he and Carey did not initially have the name “Dreamlover” for their song.

Instead, they usually begin with an untitled composition and then choose a catchy hook to serve as the title.

This collaboration led to Carey’s longest-running chart-topping hit at the time.

40. “Love Hangover” by Diana Ross peaked at No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart for a duration of two weeks in 1976.

While many other labels were embracing the disco trend in 1976, Motown was not.

Therefore, it was unusual for Diana Ross to release a song written by Pam Sawyer and Marilyn McLeod.

Ross initially had no trouble with the slow and alluring first half of the song, but when the tempo increased, she burst into laughter and expressed her inability to sing that part.

However, producer Hal Davis set up a club-like environment in the studio, and Ross eventually got into it, resulting in yet another chart-topping hit for the former member of The Supremes.

39. The song “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by UB40 topped the Hot 100 chart for seven consecutive weeks in 1993.

In 1962, Elvis Presley achieved a peak of No. 2 with his version of the song. Many years later, UB40 was approached to create a new rendition of the song for the movie Honeymoon in Vegas.

However, the producers ultimately chose Bono from U2’s version instead.

Although the UB40 recording was in danger of not being released, it was eventually saved by the music supervisor of another film, Sliver, who retrieved it from the Virgin vaults.

38. One of the most popular songs of 1976, “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight” by England Dan and John Ford Coley, reached No. 2 on the Hot 100 chart.

In the 1970s, brothers Dan Seals (of England Dan and John Ford Coley) and Jim Seals (of Seals & Crofts) established their own publishing company, Dawnbreaker Music.

One of their notable signings was songwriter Parker McGee, whose big break came through Dawnbreaker.

Both duos recorded his songs, such as “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight,”  which reached No. 2 on the Hot 100 chart for two weeks in 1976.

37. “I Knew Love For You” – Savage Garden Reached No. 1 on Hot 100 Chart for Four Consecutive Weeks in 2000

Upon receiving the new album from producer Walter Afanasieff, Columbia requested him to relay a message to the band: “Although it is an artistic masterpiece, we are looking for another hit like ‘Truly Madly Deeply’ (which was their first No. 1).”

This angered Darren Hayes who took a 10-minute break with fellow band member Daniel Jones and returned with a finished track, “I Knew I Loved You” (their second No. 1).

36. Foreigner’s Hit “I Want to Know What Love Is” Reached No. 1 on Hot 100 Chart for Two Consecutive Weeks in 1985

According to Billboard, not all members of Foreigner were in agreement that this particular song would make a successful single for the band.

While Lou Gramm believed it could harm their rock reputation, Rick Willis described it as “fluffy.”

Mick Jones, on the other hand, explained that the song was chosen for release due to its timely arrival during the Christmas season and its appropriate mood.

35. “What’s Love Got To Do With It ” – Tina Turner | Hot 100 Peak: Three consecutive weeks at No. 1 (1984)

After signing with Capitol Records, Tina Turner released her first single under the EMI-owned label, a rendition of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.”

However, it only reached No. 26 on the Hot 100 chart, much lower than expected.

Her next release was an original song, which had already been recorded by the British pop group Bucks Fizz.

However, their version was never released, and Turner’s version went on to become her first No. 1 hit in the United States.

34. “She Loves You” – The Beatles | Highest Position on Hot 100 Chart: Number 1 for a Duration of Two Weeks (1964)

During a tour bus ride in Yorkshire, England, John Lennon and Paul McCartney collaborated to write the song “She Loves You.”

It was suggested by producer George Martin that they begin the song with the chorus “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah” instead of the initial verse.

33. Title: “Love Child” – Performed by Diana Ross & the Supremes | Reached No. 1 on Hot 100 for 2 weeks in 1968.

Following the success of 10 chart-topping songs written and produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland, Diana Ross & the Supremes joined forces with new collaborators from Motown.

This collaboration led to the trio’s 11th number one hit on the Hot 100 chart.

“Love Child” was among the socially conscious songs released by Motown in 1968, including “Cloud Nine” by the Temptations and “War” by Edwin Starr.

32. “Love Is Thicker Than Water” – Andy Gibb | Reached No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart for two consecutive weeks in 1978

According to reports, while Robin Gibb was known as the “chart freak” within the family, his brother Andy was also a dedicated chart observer.

He closely monitored the progress of his second single on the Hot 100 chart.

However, he expressed concern when it started to slow down, but was relieved when it eventually gained momentum again and continued to climb without any hindrances.

31. The song titled “I Think I Love You” by The Partridge Family reached the top spot on the Hot 100 chart for three consecutive weeks in 1970.

According to Shirley Jones, she and David Cassidy were the sole members of the TV show’s cast who were featured on the group’s recordings.

Jones reveals that she had a small role, primarily providing backing vocals for David.

She never anticipated receiving a gold record, but now proudly displays it on her wall.

30. “Love Rollercoaster” by Ohio Players reached No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart for one week in 1976.

In 1975, after 15 years of challenges, the band finally achieved a No. 1 hit with “Fire” from their debut album under Mercury.

Although their next album, Honey, only had one single, “Sweet Sticky Thing,” which peaked at No. 33, it was their second single, “Love Rollercoaster,” that brought them back to the top spot.

29. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Adores Me)” – Whitney Houston | Top 100 Highest Point: Number 1 for a Duration of Two Weeks (1987)

George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam composed the song “How Will I Know” specifically for Houston. When requested to present another song, they offered “Waiting for a Star to Fall.”

However, after being rejected, they decided to record it themselves under the name Boy Meets Girl.

After receiving encouragement to try again, they successfully wrote “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” in just two days. This time, Clive Davis gave his approval.

28. “Love Will Keep Us Together” by Captain and Tennille reached the top spot on the Hot 100 chart for four consecutive weeks in 1975.

Just four months following his hit song “Laughter in the Rain” topping the Hot 100 chart, Neil Sedaka once again found himself at the top, this time as a songwriter.

This was all thanks to Captain and Tennille’s rendition of a track from Sedaka’s album Sedaka’s Back, which was discovered by A&M’s Kip Cohen.

27. The Song “Roses Are Red (My Love)” by Bobby Vinton reached the top spot on the Hot 100 chart for four consecutive weeks in 1962.

Epic was on the verge of dropping Vinton due to a lack of hits. However, he stumbled upon a rejected song and requested another opportunity.

He decided to record it as an R&B track, but initially, it sounded terrible.

After some convincing, the label agreed to a second session with a different arrangement, incorporating strings and a vocal choir. The end result was a chart-topping hit on the Hot 100.

26. Beyoncé’s hit song “Crazy in Love” featuring Jay-Z topped the Hot 100 chart for eight consecutive weeks in 2003.

According to Beyonce, her debut album after leaving Destiny’s Child, titled “Dangerously in Love,” saw its first track become her first solo career No. 1 hit.

She revealed that she had asked Jay to collaborate on the song the night before she had to submit the album.

Beyonce expressed her gratitude that he agreed, and she still finds it thrilling to perform the song, regardless of how many times she has sung it.

25. “Love the Way You Lie” – Performed by Eminem, featuring Rihanna | Reached No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart for a total of seven weeks in 2010

The collaboration of Eminem’s rap and Rihanna’s vocals discussing their personal experiences with abuse, albeit from different viewpoints, proved to be a strong force that propelled the song to the top spot on the Hot 100 chart for seven consecutive weeks during the summer of 2010.

With a record of 12x platinum, it remains the highest-selling track for both artists.

24. “To Sir With Love” by Lulu reached the No. 1 spot on the Hot 100 chart for five consecutive weeks in 1967.

According to Lulu, the soundtrack options being considered by the producers of the movie To Sir With Love were not to her liking.

In response, she approached her friend Mark London and requested for him to write a title song that she could perform.

In just five minutes, he was able to come up with the music, and the following day, Don Black wrote the lyrics. Lulu expresses her excitement by stating, “I was extremely delighted.”

23. “Vision of Love” – Mariah Carey | Hot 100 Peak: Four consecutive weeks at number one in 1990

Upon signing with Columbia, Carey collaborated with Ben Margulies to write her first single. She stated that the song was not just a love ballad, but also a tribute to her current state of being.

22. “It Must Have Been Love” by Roxette | Reached No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart for two weeks in 1990

In 1987, this song was first released as a holiday tune in Sweden. However, Per Gessle later modified it at the request of the Pretty Woman movie team.

According to Gessle, the director was a big fan of the track and even went as far as re-editing the film to include it.

21. The Song “Love Takes Time” by Mariah Carey reached its peak on the Hot 100 chart at No. 1 for a total of three weeks in 1990.

While her first album was in the process of being mastered, Carey played a demo of this particular song for Don Ienner, the president of her label, while they were aboard a plane.

Despite her objections, Ienner insisted that the song was a “career-maker” and decided to halt production and add it to her debut release.

20. “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber reached the top spot on the Hot 100 chart for two consecutive weeks in 2016.

The song “Love Yourself” was originally written by Ed Sheeran for his album Divide, but he later decided to give it to Justin Bieber.

Bieber contributed to the songwriting and it went on to top the Hot 100 chart for two weeks in early 2016, eventually being named Billboard’s No. 1 song of the year.

19. “Woman In Love” – Barbra Streisand | Highest Ranking on Hot 100: Three consecutive weeks at No. 1 in 1980

According to Billboard, Barry and Robin Gibb wrote the song for Streisand, although Barry states that the majority of the credit for the record’s success belongs to her, giving her at least 80%.

18. Lewis Capaldi’s “Someone You Loved” – reached No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart for three weeks in 2019.

Lewis Capaldi, who was originally from Scotland, made his debut on the UK charts in 2017.

However, he was relatively unknown in the United States until his song “Someone You Loved” was released.

Despite its initial slow start, the piano ballad eventually became a surprise hit, reaching the top spot on the Hot 100 chart after 24 weeks.

This heartfelt song, written by Lewis Capaldi as a tribute to his grandmother, held the number one spot for a total of three weeks in November 2019.

17. The song “Love Is Blue” by Paul Mauriat reached the No. 1 spot on the Hot 100 chart for a five-week period in 1968.

In 1967, Paul Mauriat achieved another No. 1 hit on the Hot 100 chart with his instrumental rendition of “L’Amor Est Bleu,” Luxembourg’s submission for the Eurovision Song Contest.

This came five years after he co-wrote the chart-topping “I Will Follow Him” for Peggy March. The song, performed by Vicki Leandros, earned a fourth place position in the song competition.

16. “Getting to Know Him Leads to Adoration” – Performed by The Teddy Bears | Reached No. 1 on the Hot 100 Chart for Three Consecutive Weeks in 1958

The inspiration for the song came to Phil Spector after he saw a picture of his father’s grave at Beth David Cemetery in New York. On the grave was written the words, “To Know Him Was to Love Him.”

15. Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” Tops Hot 100 Chart for Four Consecutive Weeks in 1980

According to reports, Freddie Mercury composed the song while soaking in his bathtub at the Munich Hilton.

After quickly getting out of the tub, he rushed to his guitar and piano to record the tune.

Although his record label was hesitant to launch the song in the United States, it gained popularity on radio stations as an imported single from the UK, ultimately leading to an American release.

14. “Because You Loved Me” – Celine Dion | Reached No. 1 on Hot 100 Chart for Six Consecutive Weeks in 1996

Following the screening of the movie Up Close and Personal, Diane Warren had a meeting with director Jon Avnet to discuss her ideas for the song she would be creating for the film.

The following day, while in her office, she remembers, “The chorus came together effortlessly, both in terms of lyrics and music.”

13. The song “My Love” by Paul McCartney and Wings reached its peak position at No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart for a consecutive four weeks in 1973.

Paul McCartney composed the song “My Love” in dedication to a member of his band, Wings, following their departure from The Beatles.

The subject of this emotional ballad was Linda Louise Eastman, a skilled photographer from Scarsdale, New York, whom McCartney married on March 12, 1969.

12. “Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis reached the top spot on the Hot 100 chart for four consecutive weeks in 2008.

The song was written by Ryan Tedder and Jesse McCartney, who drew inspiration from McCartney’s long-distance relationship with his girlfriend.

Although McCartney originally intended to keep the song for himself, his label was not enthusiastic about it and instead, it was given to the winner of the third season of The X Factor in the U.K.

11. “I Can’t Stop Loving You” – Ray Charles | Highest Position on Hot 100 Chart: Number 1 for a Duration of Five Weeks in 1962

During a scorching day in Knoxville, Tennessee, Don Gibson composed two songs in 1958 – “Oh Lonesome Me” and “I Can’t Stop Loving You.”

Just four years after, Ray Charles was immediately drawn to the first two lines of the latter and included it in his album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music.

10. “Best Of My Love” – The Emotions | Ranked No. 1 on Hot 100 for 5 Consecutive Weeks in 1977

After the closure of the Stax label, the Hutchinson sisters were forced to search for a new record label.

Eventually, they were signed by Maurice White, who was in charge of a production company associated with Earth, Wind & Fire.

Along with Al McKay, White composed this track specifically for the sisters and their lead vocalist, Wanda Hutchinson.

9. “I Love Rock n’ Roll” – Performed by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts | Reached No. 1 on the Hot 100 Chart for Seven Consecutive Weeks in 1982

Joan Jett attempted to persuade her 1970s band, The Runaways, to produce a cover of the song “I Love Rock n’ Roll” originally by The Arrows, but they were not interested.

Instead, she personally recorded a rendition as the B-side for a Dutch single (a remake of Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me”).

However, it was her version featuring her backing band, the Blackhearts, that dominated the Hot 100 charts for seven consecutive weeks in 1982.

8. “Because I Love You (The Postman Song)” – Stevie B | Hot 100 Peak: Number 1 for a duration of four weeks in the year 1990

According to songwriter Warren Allen Brooks, his top-charting song was a “spiritual piece” despite being perceived as a love song between a male and female.

In reality, it is a reflection of his personal connection with God.

7. Mario’s “Let Me Love You” reached No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart for nine consecutive weeks in 2005.

According to Mario, he was not expecting the song to become such a massive hit. He admits, “I was unaware of its ability to resonate with such a large audience.”

However, he acknowledges the emotional depth of the song, recognising that such records have a lasting impact.

6. “I Will Always Love You” – Whitney Houston | Highest Position on Hot 100: 14 weeks at No. 1 (1992)

The iconic song of Whitney Houston, which became a chart-topping hit from the movie “The Bodyguard”, was originally written and performed by Dolly Parton and also reached No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart in both 1974 and 1982.

5. “Silly Love Songs” – Performed by Wings | Reached No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart for five consecutive weeks in 1976

In 1976, there were several successful love songs that reached the top spot on the Hot 100 chart.

The first one was “Love Rollercoaster” by the Ohio Players, followed by “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” by Paul Simon, “Love Machine” by the Miracles, “Let Your Love Flow” by the Bellamy Brothers, and “Love Hangover” by Diana Ross.

The longest-running number one “love” song of the year was “Silly Love Songs” by Wings.

4. “We Found Love” – Collaboration between Rihanna and Calvin Harris | Top 100 Highest Point: Number 1 for a Total of 10 Weeks in 2011

Discovering love in an “unfortunate place” is a deeply romantic notion.

Rihanna achieved her greatest success (and the ultimate ‘love’ song of the 21st century) with her fourth appearance on the Hot 100 chart, all of which included the word “love” in the title.

These entries include “If It’s Lovin’ That You Want” (2005), “Hate That I Love You” (2007), and her collaboration with Eminem on “Love the Way You Lie” (2010).

3. The Bee Gees’ song “How Deep Is Your Love” reached the top spot on the Hot 100 chart for a total of three weeks in 1977.

The Gibb brothers, Barry, Robin and Maurice, were unaware of the script for the film Saturday Night Fever when they composed “How Deep Is Your Love” for its soundtrack. They were unsure if a love scene was even included in the movie.

Although they originally intended the song for Yvonne Elliman, their manager Robert Stigwood urged them to record it themselves.

2. The song “I’ll Make Love to You” by Boyz II Men reached the top spot on the Hot 100 chart for 14 consecutive weeks in 1994.

Upon hearing Babyface’s song “I’ll Make Love to You,” the members of Boyz II Men were initially worried about recording a track that might sound too much like their previous hit, “End of the Road.”

Nathan Morris clarifies, however, that they were convinced by the record company to give it a try and thankfully, it was a success.

1. “Endless Love” by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie | Reached No. 1 on the Hot 100 charts for nine consecutive weeks in 1981.

Jon Peters, the producer, and Franco Zeffirelli, the director, approached Lionel Richie to create an instrumental piece similar to the theme of Love Story for their film Endless Love which featured Brooke Shields.

However, Zeffirelli later reconsidered and asked Lionel Richie to add lyrics to the composition, to which the renowned Motown artist agreed.

Finally, Zeffirelli made a final request for a female vocalist to be added to the track, preferably someone like Diana Ross.

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