Do you own one of this BEST LOVE SONGS EVER? I think I own couple. :-)

25. ''Just Like Heaven''
The Cure (1987)
Turns out guys who wear black eyeliner can be happy. Just ask Robert Smith,
who penned this mopey ode to Goth love. One question: Just what is this
scream/laugh/hug-inducing trick?

24. ''As''
Stevie Wonder (1976)
Wonder probably warrants a top-50 list all his own. Forced to pick just
one, we had to go with this churchy celebration from Songs in the Key of
Life — a giddy declaration of devotion that never hits a cheesy chord.

23. ''Purple Rain''
Prince (1984)
From the moment he strums those jangly opening chords, is it possible to
resist this sweet metaphor for redemptive love? For further spine tingles,
rewatch his electrifying performance from the titular movie. You'll even
believe that he once flipped for Apollonia.

22. ''Your Song''
Elton John (1970)
The complex chord progression belies Bernie Taupin's straightforward
lyrics, but it's John's ability to deliver those simple words with such
unassuming (and unjaded) ardor that makes this — his first American hit
single — so enduring.

21. ''Time After Time''
Cyndi Lauper (1984)
When it first hit radio, Lauper's gorgeous choruses surprised everyone who
knew her only as that girl who just wanted to have fun. Listen again to her
haunting lament and you'll be reminded why 20 years ago Lauper was
considered the Christina Aguilera to Madonna's Britney Spears.

20. ''If Not for You''
Bob Dylan (1970)
In the vast catalog of Dylan tunes about matters of the heart, only a few
qualify as unambiguous love songs, with this the loveliest. While George
Harrison's guitar gently weeps in the background, Zimmy speaks his heart:
''I'd be sad and blue, if not for you.'' Who says his lyrics are

19. ''Ain't No Mountain High Enough''
Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell (1967)
While the tune's euphoric crest may be burned into our collective musical
DNA, it's the flirty valleys that make this Motown classic really kick,
with Gaye's effervescent ad-libbing bringing everything to another joyous

18. ''Crazy in Love''
Beyoncé (2003)
With a killer Chi-Lites horn sample and an irresistibly percussive beat,
Ms. Knowles uh-oh uh-oh uh-oh-oh-nonos her way into our hearts. Call us
loco, but it's the most joyful four minutes of summer lovin' in recent
memory. Props go to her boyfriend, Jay-Z, who lays down a blazing rap
interlude in the middle. And especially that impressive, tireless set of
pipes: Once our girl B. gets to those Woah-oh's at the end, it approaches
pure ecstasy.

17. ''Unchained Melody''
The Righteous Brothers (1965)
Reportedly covered almost 700 times, this version remains The One, thanks
to the grand sweep of Bobby Hatfield's vocal. So what if the lyrics are a
little gloomy: It still sounds like love to us.

16. ''These Arms of Mine''
Otis Redding (1962)
The King of Soul. The Love Man. The Guy Who Could Control His Yearning and
Burning for Approximately 1 Min. and 43 Sec. Partway through this scorcher,
he lets loose, resulting in one of his most passionate performances.

15. ''You Send Me''
Sam Cooke (1957)
If heaven exists, this song is playing there. Cooke caresses notes ("
You-ou-ou-ou [sigh] thrill me") with a voice so smooth and light, the song
threatens to float away.

14. ''At Last''
Etta James (1961)
It's not the first rendition of this 1942 tune, but Etta's is the finest,
thanks to a strong, sensual delivery that says (or is it shouts?) I deserve
this! No wonder every bride on earth thinks it was written just for her.

13. ''When a Man Loves a Woman''
Percy Sledge (1966)

It may have unjustly lost some gravitas thanks to its association with
Michael Bolton, but how could anyone deny this glorious original with so
poignant a finale, when Sledge's wrenching wail heralds a romantic
surrender amidst a subdued explosion of horns?

12. ''Ring of Fire''
Johnny Cash (1963)
The Man in Black's mariachi-tinged masterpiece dares to tell the truth:
Love doesn't tickle, it burns, burns, burns with an exquisite agony most of
us — including Cash's wife, June Carter, who co-wrote the song — couldn't
live without.

11. ''Maybe I'm Amazed''
Paul McCartney (1970)
Maybe we love it for how beautifully humble it is, as McCartney confesses
that being in love can be scary. Or maybe it's just the way those majestic
background vocals kick in and Sir Paul's voice goes all ragged with
emotion. Either way, it's amazing.

10. ''In Your Eyes''
Peter Gabriel (1986)
Inextricably linked to Say Anything..., ''Eyes'' has become a Gen-X anthem.
But no matter how old you are, that bass line, those drums, and that ache
in Gabriel's voice add up to one gut-wrenching confessional.

9. ''All I Want Is You''
U2 (1988)
The only reason to own Rattle and Hum is this plea to a weary longtime
lover: Let's both move past all this crazy b.s., 'cuz all I want is you.
Arguably U2's prettiest moment.

8. ''Sweet Child O' Mine''
Guns N' Roses (1988)
It begins with Slash making sweet love to his Les Paul. Then Axl Rose
starts rough-rhapsodizing about his baby's blue eyes and pretty smile. The
lyrics read like they were written by a high school boy who can't stop
carving his girlfriend's name into the bleachers. It's a perfect tribute to
the young, messy, all-absorbing feeling that makes you want to punch a hole
in the wall as you scream your undying love.

7. ''Wild Horses''
The Rolling Stones (1971)
Keith Richards has claimed it's actually about the joy and pain of life on
the road. Even so, the song perfectly captures what it's like to love
anyone or anything against your better judgment.

6. ''I Will Always Love You''
Whitney Houston (1992)
Boom! goes the drum, followed by a split second of silence. Then, out of
thin air: ''And I-I-I-I-I...'' Some prefer Dolly Parton's subtler original,
but Houston imbued the song with so much drama and chilling technique — and
scored such a massive hit — that hers has become definitive.

5. ''Let's Stay Together''
Al Green (1971)
When Green's grainy tenor first lifts into an ecstatic falsetto, your heart
will levitate right along with it. Even better, Green rejects fairy-tale
romance in favor of the kind that lasts, ''whether times are good or bad,
happy or sad.'' Amen to that.

4. ''(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman''
Aretha Franklin (1967)
The greatest love of all? When being with someone makes you feel more like
yourself than being alone. This Carole King- and Gerry Goffin-penned
sing-along spins that warm, safe, happy feeling into one of pop's most
beloved anthems.

3. ''Something''
The Beatles (1969)
The first part of George Harrison's meditation on an alluring woman is as
seductive as its subject, enticing the listener to sink into its languid
melody. Then, as doubt sets in (''You're asking me will my love grow? I
don't know, I don't know''), the song speeds up — just as one's thoughts
will do when contemplating a romance that seems too good to be true.

2. ''Can't Help Falling in Love''
Elvis Presley (1961)
Guaranteed to get anyone with half a heart all shook up. Beneath the lyrics
is the unsettling suggestion that matters of the heart are largely dictated
by fate; Presley's placid vocal signals that's fine by him.

1. ''God Only Knows''
The Beach Boys (1966)
Paul McCartney called it the greatest song ever written. And, yow,
lyrically it opens with a blow: ''I may not always love you.'' Aren't love
songs supposed to be full of vague, empty promises? In the tenderest of
angel voices, Carl Wilson, after acknowledging the heart's fickle nature,
admits his utter dependence, summing up the fearsome power of love: ''God
only knows what I'd be without you.'' Big brother Brian, who wrote the
tune, knits together French horns and sleigh bells, clip-clop percussion
and strings. So fully did he give his obsessive heart over to the recording
of the magnificent Pet Sounds, it's not hard to imagine that the world's
greatest love song is less about a woman than about music itself.


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