With Valentine’s here again, we’re giving you a look at what we consider the 15 top love songs of the rock era. As love is the #1 topic of most rock (with cars maybe a distant second), there’s a lot to choose from. How many of our songs would make on you own personal list?
- You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling – Righteous Brothers
If you have to ask why, you’ve never heard this song. Although it’s ultimately a sad song, no other recording has ever crammed so much romantic anxiety into 4 minutes.
- “Something” – The Beatles
Widely considered George Harrison’s best composition and having been covered by artists across many musical genres – including Frank Sinatra, who also said it was his favorite love song, this is one of 3 songs to make our list all inspired by the same muse – Ms. Pattie Boyd.
- “Can’t Help Falling in Love” – Elvis Presley
How could any rock & roll list not include the King? Blessed with a tremendous voice, Elvis crooned his share of beautiful ballads during his career, but this is the one that never seems to be out of date.
- “God Only Knows” – Beach Boys
From the legendary Pet Sounds album, this Brian Wilson composition is a particular favorite with our British cousins across the pond. No less a talent than Paul McCartney has named it his favorite pop tune.Hard to believe that in the U.S, it was the B-side of the single "Wouldn't It Be Nice."
- “My Girl” – The Temptations
With so much songwriting talent in the Motown stable, it fell to the great Smokey Robinson to pen this simple, but heartfelt tribute to his woman.
- “Wonderful Tonight” – Eric Clapton
Another song inspired by Pattie Boyd – this one written by her second husband, Eric Clapton. Inspired by the way she looked as they were just about to step out for a night on the town, any woman would love to hear these words from her significant other.
- “Time in a Bottle” – Jim Croce
A love song tinged with more than a bit of sadness as it was released shortly after Croce’s untimely death.
- “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” – Van Morrison
A simple, beautiful song that’s been covered by a number of artists. Listen closely to the lyrics. There are those who claim the song is not about a woman, but about Morrison’s relationship to God.
- “Maybe I’m Amazed” – Paul McCartney
This is the song that launched Paul McCartney on what was to become, far and away, the most successful of all the Beatles’ solo careers. Inspired by his relationship to his first wife Linda.
- “Layla” – Derek & the Dominoes
Our final song in the Pattie-Boyd-inspired category (she really was an exceptional beauty), this Clapton tune came as he was wracked with guilt because the object of his ardor was still married to his best friend. Rarely has unfulfilled passion been better expressed.
- “Walk Away Renee” – Left Banke
Unless, of course, it’s the unrequited passion of this tune. Written by Michael Brown, who was totally infatuated with another band member’s girlfriend (yes, she was really named Renee), this song has gone on to become a classic, while Brown, sadly, never did get the girl
- “Wild Horses” – Rolling Stones
The story goes that this song was inspired by Marianne Faithful’s unsuccessful suicide attempt while she was Mick Jagger’s girlfriend. Apparently, when she regained consciousness in the hospital, Jagger was at her side. When he expressed his fear of losing her, she replied that wild horses couldn’t drag her away. And the rest is rock history
- “Waiting for a Girl Like You” – Foreigner
Haunting with just a touch of melancholy, this was one of several “power ballads” that briefly became all the rage in the early days of MTV with many of the “heavier” bands scoring hits with softer sounds. None surpassed this one.
- “Time After Time” – Cyndi Lauper
When Lauper burst on the scene with her infectious “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” she wisely chose this as her follow-up. Co-written by Lauper and Hooters’ band member Robb Hyman, the song sprang from romantic difficulties both were having at the time they sat down to compose it.
- “Wichita Lineman” – Glen Campbell
Not a conventional love song, in that composer Jimmy Webb, fills many of the lyrics with references to the singer’s job as an employee of the telephone company. Yet, every line relates to the pain the singer feels being separated from the object of his affection. It possibly contains the greatest line in any love song: “I need you more than want you and I want you for all time.”