The Top 100 Love Songs of All Time

American singer and actress Whitney Houston

Fotos International/Getty Images 

Although love is a common topic for pop songwriters, the perfect love song is probably the most difficult to write. The 100 presented here describe all types of relationships and emotions and cover a range of musical styles, from classic rock 'n' roll to modern pop.

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Steve Winwood - "Higher Love" (1986)

Steve Winwood - Higher Love
Courtesy Island

Steve Winwood's #1 single "Higher Love" was his first chart-topping pop hit. It earned him Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal.

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Goo Goo Dolls - "Iris" (1998)

Goo Goo Dolls - Iris
Courtesy Warner Bros.

Goo Goo Dolls leader Johnny Rzeznik claims he broke a difficult period of writer's block with the composition of this song. He was originally approached to write a song for the film soundtrack "City of Angels," and the result was "Iris." The song received Grammy Award nominations for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

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Anne Murray - "You Needed Me" (1978)

Anne Murray
GAB Archive/Redferns

This powerful expression of romantic appreciation is Anne Murray's only #1 pop hit in the U.S. Songwriter Randy Goodrum says the topic of the song is "unconditional, undeserved love." The song earned Anne Murray a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal.

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Amy Grant - "Baby Baby" (1991)

Amy Grant - "Baby Baby"
Courtesy A&M

Amy Grant's effervescent, ebullient expression of love became a #1 pop smash. She was inspired by her six-week-old daughter Millie in writing the lyrics. The accompanying music video was so successful that many viewers believed that Amy Grant had a real-life relationship with her video partner model Jme Stein.

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Toto - "Rosanna" (1982)

Toto - Rosanna
Courtesy Columbia

Legend has it that this song was written in romantic appreciation for actress Rosanna Arquette. However, songwriter David Paich says it is based on multiple girls that he knew. The hit came four years after Toto first reached the top 10 with their 1978 hit "Hold the Line." It spent five weeks at #2 on the U.S. pop chart.

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Rupert Holmes - "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" (1979)

Rupert Holmes - Partners In Crime
Courtesy MCA

Best known as a songwriter and stage composer, Rupert Holmes became an unlikely pop star with this clever tale of love and personal ads. The lighthearted look at a troubled relationship saved by the personals has drawn both praise and derision. It went to #1 on the pop singles chart in both the U.S. and Canada.

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Loggins and Messina - "Danny's Song" (1971)

Loggins and Messina - Sittin' In
Courtesy Columbia

Kenny Loggins wrote "Danny's Song" as a gift to his brother Danny after the birth of his son Colin. The original Loggins and Messina version of the song remains a radio favorite. In early 1973 Anne Murray took her cover version to the pop top 10 and topped the adult contemporary chart. For her performance, she earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal.

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Rihanna - "What's My Name?" featuring Drake (2010)

Rihanna - What's My Name featuring Drake
Courtesy Def Jam

Among Rihanna's long list of major pop hits, "What's My Name?" stands out for its unabashedly romantic approach. Rihanna had been wanting to record with Drake, and it proved a perfect match both on record and in the accompanying music video. The song became Rihanna's eighth #1 pop hit single in the U.S. and also went to #1 on the U.K. pop singles chart.

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Cure - "Lovesong" (1989)

The Cure - Lovesong
Courtesy Fiction Records

Robert Smith, leader of the pop new wave band The Cure, wrote this song as a wedding gift to his future wife. This has been the most successful song by the band, reaching #2 on the U.S. pop chart. "Lovesong" has been covered by a wide range of artists.

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Barbra Streisand - "Love Theme From A Star Is Born (Evergreen)" (1976)

Barbra Streisand - A Star Is Born
Courtesy Columbia

Barbra Streisand took home both an Academy Award for Best Original Song and Grammy Award for Song of the Year for this record. "Evergreen" was co-written by Barbra Streisand and successful pop songwriter Paul Williams. The song spent three weeks at the top of the U.S. pop singles chart and topped the adult contemporary chart as well. The soundtrack album for "A Star Is Born" also went to #1 on the album chart and sold more than four million copies in the U.S.

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John Lennon - "(Just Like) Starting Over" (1980)

John Lennon "Double Fantasy"
Courtesy Geffen Records

John Lennon finished writing "(Just Like) Starting Over" while he was on a holiday in Bermuda and recorded it just weeks later. Lennon said he was inspired by such classic rock and roll performers as Roy Orbison, Eddie Cochran, Buddy Holly, and Elvis Presley. It was the first single released after he had taken a five-year hiatus from the music industry.

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Elvis Presley - "Love Me Tender" (1956)

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Elvis Presley's signature love song is based on the Civil War era folk tune "Aura Lee." Ken Darby, who earned Academy Awards for his scores to the films The King and I, Porgy and Bess, and Camelot, wrote the lyrics for "Love Me Tender." The song spent two weeks at #1.

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Plain White T's - "Hey There Delilah" (2007)

Plain White T's Hey There Delilah
Courtesy Hollywood

"Hey There Delilah" was written by Plain White T's frontman Tom Higgenson about steeplechase and cross country runner Delilah DiCrescenzo. The pair were introduced by a friend. Delilah already had a boyfriend, but Tom Higgenson wrote a song about her anyway, and the heartfelt ballad eventually climbed all the way to #1. "Hey There Delilah" was nominated for Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Best Pop Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocal. The real-life Delilah attended the Grammy Awards celebration with Tom Higgenson.

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Taylor Swift - "Love Story" (2008)

Taylor Swift - Love Story
Courtesy Big Machine

Taylor Swift wrote "Love Story" after an experience with a boy who never officially became her boyfriend.  Her introduction of him to family and friends did not go well. She says that it was the first time she ever truly related to "Romeo and Juliet." Everything in the song except for the happy ending was drawn from the personal story.

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Melanie - "Brand New Key" (1971)

GAB Archive/Redferns

Folk-pop singer Melanie hit #1 on the pop singles chart with this clever song of romance. Some radio stations banned it, claiming there were sexual implications in the lyrics.

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The Association - "Cherish" (1966)

The Association
Warner Bros. Records / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Jim Yester of the vocal group The Association has said in recent years that the record label originally did not want to release "Cherish" because the lush sound was "too old and archaic." Pop fans thought otherwise, sending the song to #1 on the U.S. pop chart. "Cherish" was covered by David Cassidy in 1972. His version hit the pop top 10 and topped the adult contemporary chart. 

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Savage Garden - "Truly, Madly, Deeply" (1997)

Savage Garden - "Truly, Madly, Deeply"
Courtesy Columbia Records

"Truly Madly Deeply" began life as a song called "Magical Kisses." Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones of the Australian duo Savage Garden reworked the song and it became an international smash hit. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 and also spent 11 weeks at #1 on the adult contemporary chart. "Truly Madly Deeply" went on to spend a full year on the pop chart and 123 weeks, more than two years, in total on the adult contemporary chart.

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Vanessa Williams - "Save the Best for Last" (1992)

Vanessa Williams Save the Best For Last
Courtesy Mercury Records

"Saved the Best for Last" was turned down by a number of other singers before Vanessa Williams recorded it for her album "The Comfort Zone." The song went on to top the pop, adult contemporary, and R&B charts.

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Tina Turner - "The Best" (1989)

Tina Turner - "The Best"
Courtesy Capitol Records

The song "The Best" was first recorded by singer Bonnie Tyler on her 1988 album "Hide Your Heart." In 1989 Tina Turner covered it for her album "Foreign Affair." The result was a top 10 hit around the world and a recording that was frequently used on soundtracks accompanying coverage of sports events and awards shows.

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K-Ci and JoJo - "All My Life" (1998)

K-Ci and JoJo - "All My Life"
Courtesy MCA

Jodeci members K-Ci and JoJo struck out on their own as an R&B duo in 1997. They had only moderate chart success until the release of "All My Life." Joel "JoJo" Hailey wrote the song initially with his daughter as inspiration. He intended to offer it to another artist but then decided to keep it for a K-Ci and JoJo record. It became a smash hit across pop and R&B charts and earned the duo two Grammy Award nominations.

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Suzi Quatro and Chris Norman - "Stumblin' In" (1979)

Chris Norman and Suzi Quatro - Stumblin' In
Courtesy RSO

Best known at home in the U.S. for her role as Leather Tuscadero on the TV sitcom "Happy Days," Suzi Quatro had a string of hits in the U.K. This is her only hit single in the U.S. and her final top 10 pop hit in the U.K.

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Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes - "Up Where We Belong" (1982)

Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes - "Up Where We Belong"
Courtesy Island Records

Don Simpson, the producer of the film "An Officer and a Gentleman," heard "Up Where We Belong" and wanted it cut from the movie because he believed it wasn't a hit. However, the song, co-written by Jack Nitzsche, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Will Jennings, turned into a #1 smash hit. It is the only #1 pop hit in Joe Cocker's career and the first of two chart-topping duets for Jennifer Warnes.

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Herb Alpert - "This Guy's In Love With You" (1968)

Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass - "This Guy's In Love With You"
Courtesy A&M Records

Although best known for instrumental hits with his band the Tijuana Brass, Herb Alpert went to #1 on the pop chart for the first time by singing this Burt Bacharach and Hal David classic. Although normally not a vocalist, Herb Alpert sang the song on the TV special "The Beat of the Brass," and, in response to viewer calls, he decided to release the song as a single. It became the first #1 hit single on his label A&M.

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Peter Frampton - "Baby, I Love Your Way" (1976)

Peter Frampton - "Baby, I Love Your Way"
Courtesy A&M Records

Peter Frampton first released a recording of "Baby, I Love Your Way" on his 1975 solo album "Frampton." However, it was his live recording on the smash double album "Frampton Comes Alive!" in 1976 that became a hit single. His breakthrough album was the bestselling album of the year for 1976 and ranked #14 in 1977.

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Bryan Adams - "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" (1991)

Bryan Adams Everything I Do I Do It For You
Courtesy A&M

Rocker Bryan Adams co-wrote and recorded the big power balled "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" for the soundtrack to the film "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves." It turned into a big #1 pop hit single. In the U.S. the song was certified three times platinum.

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Captain & Tennille - "Love Will Keep Us Together" (1975)

Captain & Tennille - "Love Will Keep Us Together"
Courtesy A&M Records

Although originally co-written and recorded by Neil Sedaka, the song "Love Will Keep Us Together" has come to be most closely associated with the relationship between husband and wife pop duo the Captain & Tennille. "Love Will Keep Us Together" became the duo's breakthrough pop hit and went all the way to #1. It was the bestselling song of 1975 and also won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year.

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Diana Ross & Lionel Richie - "Endless Love" (1981)

Diana Ross and Lionel Richie - "Endless Love"
Courtesy Motown

Written and produced by Lionel Richie while he was still a member of the Commodores, the title song for the soundtrack to the film "Endless Love" ultimately created Diana Ross' 18th trip to #1 counting her records with the Supremes. The song spent nine weeks at the top of the pop singles chart.

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Partridge Family - "I Think I Love You" (1970)

Partridge Family - "I Think I Love You"
Courtesy Bell Records

"I Think I Love You" was released as the debut single by the fictional TV family The Partridge Family as their show began. It was featured twice on the show itself. David Cassidy and Shirley Jones are the only stars of the show who sings on the record. The rest of the music was provided by studio musicians and session singers. The recording became a #1 pop smash and helped turn the show into a hit.

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Barry White - "You're the First, My Last, My Everything" (1974)

Barry White - "You're the First, the Last, My Everything"
Courtesy 20th Century

This R&B classic had its beginning as a country song titled "You're My First, You're My Last, My In-Between." It was not recorded for more than 20 years. However, after rewriting the lyrics, romantic R&B singer Barry White turned it into a disco classic peaking at #2 on the pop charts and #1 on the R&B chart. It was the second of three consecutive top 10 pop hits for Barry White.

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Boyz II Men - "I'll Make Love to You" (1994)

Boyz II Men - "I'll Make Love to You"
Courtesy Motown

Written and produced by Babyface, "I'll Make Love To You" is one of the biggest hit singles of all time. It spent a phenomenal 14 weeks at the top of the pop singles chart.

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Stylistics - "Betcha By Golly, Wow" (1972)

Stylistics - "Betcha, By Golly, Wow"
Courtesy Avco Records

Co-written by legendary Philly soul artists Thom Bell and Linda Creed, this song was first recorded by actress and singer Connie Stevens under the title "Keep Growing Strong." However, it's the version recorded by the male R&B vocal group the Stylistics that became a romantic classic.

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Delaney & Bonnie & Friends - "Never Ending Song of Love" (1971)

Delaney & Bonnie - "Never Ending Song Of Love"
Courtesy Atco Records

Delaney and Bonnie are the married duo of Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett. Their collective, called Delane and Bonnie and Friends, at times include such other musical luminaries as Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, Leon Russell, Rita Coolidge, and Eric Clapton. The collective was near their commercial peak in 1971 when they released the mostly acoustic album "Motel Shot." It included the memorable "Never Ending Song of Love," which became a pop hit.

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Anita Baker - "Sweet Love" (1986)

Anita Baker - "Sweet Love"
Courtesy Elektra

Anita Baker was a moderately successful R&B singer until the release of her second solo album "Rapture" in 1986. It included the soaring hit "Sweet Love." The song peaked at #8 on the pop singles chart and took home two Grammy Awards.

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Bread - "If" (1971)

Bread - "If"
Courtesy Elektra

The group Bread helped define 1970s soft rock. The song "If" has become one of their most covered songs and is a perennial wedding favorite. With its original release, "If" went to #4 on the pop singles chart and reached #1 on the easy listening chart.

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Beach Boys - "Wouldn't It Be Nice" (1966)

Beach Boys - "Wouldn't It Be Nice"
Courtesy Capitol Records

"Wouldn't It Be Nice" kicks off the Beach Boys' legendary album "Pet Sounds." The song presents a couple who are in love but too young to get married. They daydream about how wonderful it would be to be adults in love. The single went to #8 on the pop singles chart and has been lauded as one of the greatest of the Beach Boys' creations.

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Dawn feat. Tony Orlando - "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" (1973)

Dawn featuring Tony Orlando - "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree"
Courtesy Bell Records

Originally inspired by a story of a convict returning home, this song has become best known as a tribute to overseas soldiers and their ultimate return home. It became a #1 pop smash for the pop act Tony Orlando and Dawn. At the same time, a country version of the song by Johnny Carver reached the top 10 on the country chart.

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Wings - "Silly Love Songs" (1976)

Wings - "Silly Love Songs"
Courtesy Capitol Records

Paul McCartney successfully answered his critics with this #1 pop smash. Since the breakup of the Beatles, many critics accused Paul McCartney of being satisfied with just writing simple love songs. He had the last laugh when this song spent five weeks at #1 on the pop chart and also topped the adult contemporary chart.

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George Michael - "Father Figure" (1988)

George Michael - Father Figure
Courtesy Columbia

"Father Figure" was George Michael's third #1 pop hit single, and it also climbed to #3 on the adult contemporary chart.

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Dan Fogelberg - "Longer" (1979)

Dan Fogelberg - "Longer"
Courtesy Asylum

Singer-songwriter Dan Fogelberg was known for more rock-oriented songs before he released the romantic ballad "Longer." He wrote the song while vacationing on the island of Maui in Hawaii. The instrumental arrangement is noted for a flugelhorn solo. "Longer" turned into Dan Fogelberg's biggest hit peaking at #1 on the adult contemporary chart.

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INXS - "Never Tear Us Apart" (1988)

INXS - "Never Tear Us Apart"
Courtesy Atlantic

INXS' dramatic ballad "Never Tear Us Apart" is written with a distinctive waltz beat and dramatic pauses. The song was originally composed as a bluesy track in the style of Fats Domino. It turned into a top 10 pop hit in the U.S. while also climbing the rock and alternative radio charts. The song was played at the funeral of INXS lead vocalist Michael Hutchence.

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Joni Mitchell - "Help Me" (1974)

Joni Mitchell - "Help Me"
Courtesy Asylum Records

Joni Mitchell's "Help Me" is included on the album "Court and Spark" and became the singer-songwriter's only top 10 hit. The song marked some of the artist's early jazz experimentation. It was recorded with the jazz band Tom Scott's L.A. Express. "Help Me" went all the way to #1 on the easy listening chart.

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Celine Dion - "My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme From 'Titanic')" (1998)

Celine Dion - "My Heart Will Go On"
Courtesy Columbia Records

Included as the memorable love them for the hit film "Titanic," "My Heart Will Go On" turned into one of the biggest hit singles of all time. It went to #1 on pop charts around the world.

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John Cougar Mellencamp - "Jack and Diane" (1982)

John Cougar - "Jack & Diane"
Courtesy Riva Records

John Mellencamp based the song "Jack & Diane" on Tennessee Williams' 1959 play "Sweet Bird of Youth." The rock song turned into a #1 pop smash and the biggest hit single of John Mellencamp's career. Guitarist Mick Ronson, best known for his work with David Bowie, helped with the song's arrangement.

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Johnny Cash - "Ring of Fire" (1963)

Johnny Cash - "Ring of Fire"
Courtesy Columbia Records

Johnny Cash's wife June Carter Cash wrote "Ring of Fire" with singer-songwriter Merle Kilgore. Johnny Cash's distinctive version included mariachi horns and hit the top 20 on pop charts and #1 on the country chart. Members of the Carter Family provide vocal harmonies.

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Stevie Wonder - "You Are the Sunshine Of My Life" (1973)

Stevie Wonder - "You Are the Sunshine Of My Life"
Courtesy Motown

Stevie Wonder's ballad "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" is a contemporary pop standard. It topped both the Billboard Hot 100 and the easy listening chart. The song was nominated for both Record of the Year and Song of the Year Grammy Awards and won Best Pop Male Vocal.

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Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle - "A Whole New World (Aladdin's Theme)" (1992)

Peabo Bryson Regina Belle A Whole New World
Courtesy Walt Disney

This song refers to the love between Aladdin and Jasmine, the two primary characters in the hit Disney animated film "Aladdin." In the film the song is sung by Brad Kane and Lea Salonga. However, the R&B inflected version by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle became a #1 pop hit. It was the first song from a Disney movie to hit #1 on pop charts.

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Deborah Cox - "Nobody's Supposed To Be Here" (1998)

Deborah Cox Nobody's Supposed To Be Here
Courtesy Arista

"Nobody's Supposed to Be Here" was co-written by R&B star Montell Jordan. Canadian singer Deborah Cox took it all the way to #2 on the pop singles chart where it stayed for eight weeks but failed to reach the top.

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The Pretenders - "I'll Stand By You" (1994)

The Pretenders - "I'll Stand By You"
Courtesy Sire Records

Co-written by the Pretenders Chrissie Hynde and pop songwriting team of Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg, "I'll Stand By You" has become a standard for expressing support when times are difficult. Girls Aloud took the song to #1 in the U.K. as a charity single in 2004.

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Rod Stewart - "Maggie May" (1971)

Rod Stewart - "Maggie May"
Courtesy Mercury Records

Rod Stewart says that "Maggie May" was written based on a true story about the first woman he went to bed with in 1961. Buried within the frustrations, is an emotional statement of appreciation and long-term connection. Originally released as the B-side for the "Reason to Believe" single, "Maggie May" became Rod Stewart's first solo #1 hit in the U.S.

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Basia - "Time and Tide" (1988)

Basia - "Time and Tide"
Courtesy Epic

Polish-born singer Basia Trzetrzelewska soared into the pop charts in 1988 with her pop hit "Time and Tide." Her album of the same name topped the jazz album chart.

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The Turtles - "Happy Together" (1967)

Turtles Happy Together
Courtesy White Whale

The Turtles' "Happy Together" has the distinction of knocking the Beatles' "Penny Lane" off the top of the pop singles chart. The song was rejected a dozen times by various recording acts before the Turtles decided to record it. It has been featured extensively in TV shows and movies since first hitting the charts in 1967.

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Sam Cooke - "You Send Me" (1957)

Sam Cooke You Send Me
Courtesy Keen Records

Sam Cooke wrote his legendary hit "You Send Me" himself, but he gave the label credit to his brother L.C. to avoid his own publisher profiting from the song. It was part of a set of songs recorded that moved Sam Cooke from the gospel arena to mainstream pop and R&B. The beautiful love song went all the way to #1 on the pop chart.

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Beyonce featuring Jay-Z - "Crazy In Love" (2003)

Beyonce - "Crazy In Love"
Courtesy Columbia Records

Beyonce's solo career kicked off with a bang when she released the single "Crazy In Love." Receiving widespread praise for the energetic performance and arrangement featuring horns and rapping from Jay-Z, the song went to #1.

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Minnie Riperton - "Lovin' You" (1975)

Minnie Riperton - "Lovin' You"
Courtesy Epic

Singer-songwriter Minnie Riperton went all the way to #1 on the pop singles chart in 1975 with "Lovin' You." Tragically, less than a year later she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She died at age 31 in July 1979. "Lovin' You" is notable for including singing in the high whistle register during the bridge and the inclusion of chirping bird songs in the background. The song was co-produced by Richard Rudolph and Stevie Wonder.

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Heatwave - "Always and Forever" (1978)

Heatwave - "Always and Forever"
Courtesy Epic

The soul/funk band Heatwave broke into the mainstream pop charts in the mid-1970s. It was written by group member Rod Temperton, who later wrote "Rock with You" and "Thriller" for Michael Jackson. The song landed in the top 20 of the pop chart, but it soon became a slow dance fixture at high school proms. Today it remains very popular as a wedding song.

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Jason Mraz - "I'm Yours" (2008)

Jason Mraz - I'm Yours
Courtesy Atlantic Records

Jason Mraz performed the love song "I'm Yours" live multiple times before recording it for his 2008 album "We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things." "I'm Yours" set a record for the most consecutive weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, remaining for 76 weeks and peaking at #6.

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Al Green - "Let's Stay Together" (1971)

Al Green - "Let's Stay Together"
Courtesy Hi Records

Al Green is one of the most celebrated soul singers of all time. "Let's Stay Together" became his first top 10 pop hit and it went all the way to #1 in 1971. The song was named to the National Recording Registry in 2010 by the Library of Congress.

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Janis Joplin - "Me and Bobby McGee" (1971)

Janis Joplin Me and Bobby McGee
Courtesy Columbia Records

Kris Kristofferson, allegedly a lover of Janis Joplin, co-wrote the love ballad "Me and Bobby McGee," and it was first recorded in 1969 by country-pop singer Roger Miller. Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot took the song to #1 on the Canadian country chart in 1970. However, the best known version was Janis Joplin's recording for her album "Pearl," which became a posthumous #1 smash hit.

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Joe Cocker - "You Are So Beautiful" (1975)

Joe Cocker You Are So Beautiful
Courtesy A&M

R&B musician Billy Preston originally wrote "You Are So Beautiful" in reference to his personal image of God. Reportedly, Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys was also involved in the creation of the song. Joe Cocker's slowed down recording became a top 5 pop hit and is now revered as one of the most moving love songs of all time.

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Bruno Mars - "Just the Way You Are" (2010)

Bruno Mars Just the Way You Are
Courtesy Elektra

In speaking about his debut hit as the lead artist, Bruno Mars said he was looking to classics like Joe Cocker's "You Are So Beautiful" and Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight" when he wrote, "Just the Way You Are." The result was a #1 pop smash and a Grammy Award winner for Best Pop Male Vocal. "Just the Way You Are" also topped both the adult contemporary and adult pop charts.

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Olivia Newton-John - "I Honestly Love You" (1974)

Olivia Newton-John - "I Honestly Love You"
Courtesy MCA

Olivia Newton-John's #1 smash hit was co-written by American songwriter Jeff Barry and Australian Peter Allen. Newton-John won two Grammy Awards for the song including Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

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John Denver - "Annie's Song" (1974)

John Denver - "Annie's Song"
Courtesy RCA

Singer-songwriter John Denver wrote "Annie's Song" as an ode to his wife Annie Martell Denver. He says that he wrote it in about 10 1/2 minutes on a ski lift to the top of the mountain in Aspen, Colorado. "Annie's Song" became a #1 smash on both pop and easy listening charts. It also hit the top 10 on the country chart. Flute player James Galway had a major British pop hit with his version of "Annie's Song."

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Rod Stewart - "Have I Told You Lately" (1993)

Rod Stewart - "Have I Told You Lately"
Courtesy Warner Bros.

Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison wrote "Have I Told You Lately" and recorded it for his 1989 album "Avalon Sunset." He took it to #12 on the adult contemporary chart. In 1993 Rod Stewart's cover version became an even bigger hit, reaching #1 on the adult contemporary chart and the top 5 in pop radio airplay. Van Morrison and Irish band The Chieftains recorded a version of "Have I Told You Lately" in 1995 that won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.

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Bette Midler - "The Rose" (1980)

Bette Midler - "The Rose"
Courtesy Atlantic

Songwriter Amanda McBroom did not originally write the song "The Rose" for the movie of the same name. Bette Midler selected it out of a pool of 30 possibilities of songs to include in her film. It was released as the second single from the movie soundtrack and climbed all the way to #3 on the pop chart while spending five weeks on top of the adult contemporary chart. Bette Midler won the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for her recording.

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Alice Cooper - "You and Me" (1977)

Alice Cooper You and Me
Courtesy Warner Bros.

After he initially hit the charts with such rock songs as "School's Out" and "Elected," Alice Cooper began to storm the charts with ballads like "Only Women Bleed" and "I Never Cry." "You and Me" became his first ballad to hit the top 10.

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Jackson 5 - "I'll Be There" (1970)

Jackson 5 I'll Be There
Courtesy Tamla Motown

The love song of commitment "I'll Be There" became the Jackson 5's fourth consecutive #1 hit in 1970. Motown executive Berry Gordy wanted a ballad by the group after three consecutive upbeat pop hits. Michael Jackson's ad-libbed "Just look over your shoulders, honey" in the recording is an allusion to the Four Tops #1 smash "Reach Out I'll Be There." This is arguably the most, of the Jackson 5's hits.

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Madonna - "Crazy For You" (1985)

Madonna - "Crazy for You"
Courtesy Sire Records

Madonna recorded the love ballad "Crazy for You" for the soundtrack to the film "Vision Quest." Initially her label Warner Bros. did not want the song released as a single because they thought it would distract attention from her album "Like a Virgin." However, it was released and went to #1, significantly broadening the image of Madonna as a pop singer who could do more than uptempo dance songs.

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Jim Croce - "Time in a Bottle" (1973)

Jim Croce Time In a Bottle
Courtesy Roadrunner

Although originally written for Croce's son A.J. Croce, it has also gone down in a history as a romantic classic, hitting #1 on the pop singles chart 3 months after Croce's untimely death in a plane crash. It was the singer-songwriter's second #1 pop hit following "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown." "Time in a Bottle" also hit #1 on the adult contemporary chart.

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Mariah Carey - "Fantasy" (1995)

Mariah Carey Fantasy
Courtesy Columbia

Mariah Carey's #1 smash hit single "Fantasy" was built around a sample from the Tom Tom Club's 1981 hit single "Genius of Love." It became only the second single of all time to debut at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It went on to spend eight weeks at the top.

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Temptations - "My Girl" (1965)

Temptations My Girl
Courtesy Gordy

The classic "My Girl" was co-written and co-produced by Smokey Robinson and one of his fellow members of The Miracles Ronald White. It was the first single released by The Temptations to feature David Ruffin on lead vocals. The result was the first #1 pop hit by the group and it became one of their signature songs. "My Girl" also topped the R&B chart and was recorded by Otis Redding in 1965.

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Edwin McCain - "I'll Be" (1998)

Edwin McCain - Misguided Roses
Courtesy Lava

Unusual among contemporary pop hits, "I'll Be" plays out as a lush, slow waltz. Singer-songwriter Edwin McCain says he wrote the song as a prayer at a moment of desperation. "I'll Be" has become a popular wedding song.

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Marvin Gaye - "Let's Get It On" (1973)

Marvin Gaye - "Let's Get It On"
Courtesy Tamla

"Let's Get It On" was written by Marvin Gaye and Ed Townsend as a plea for sexual liberation. It became one of the biggest hits of the legendary soul singer's career, going to #1 and giving him a reputation as a sex symbol in pop music. It was one of the top 5 pop hits of the year in 1973.

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Whitney Houston - "I Will Always Love You" (1992)

Whitney Houston - "I Will Always Love You"
Courtesy Arista

The song "I Will Always Love You" was originally written and recorded by Dolly Parton in 1974 for her album "Jolene." She wrote it about the professional split with fellow country performer Porter Wagoner. Released as a single, it went to #1 on the country chart. Whitney Houston recorded the biggest version of the song for the soundtrack to the film "The Bodyguard" in 1992.

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Aerosmith - "I Don't Want To Miss a Thing" (1998)

Aerosmith - I Don't Want To Miss a Thing
Courtesy Columbia

The power ballad "I Don't Want To Miss a Thing" is the biggest pop hit of Aerosmith's career having debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.  The song, recorded for the soundtrack to the movie "Armageddon" and written by Diane Warren, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

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Percy Sledge - "When a Man Loves a Woman" (1966)

Percy Sledge - "When a Man Loves a Woman"
Courtesy Rhino Records

Percy Sledge's recording of the legendary soul song "When a Man Loves a Woman" was a #1 smash hit, and it turned him into an R&B star. It also helped cement Atlantic Records' position as one of the top R&B record labels.

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Mary Wells - 'My Guy" (1964)

Mary Wells - "My Guy"
Courtesy Motown

Smokey Robinson wrote and produced "My Guy." It is an emphatic statement of dedication to a partner. Going all the way to #1, "My Guy" became Mary Wells' biggest hit and her signature song.

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Oasis - "Wonderwall" (1996)

Oasis Wonderwall
Courtesy Creation Records

In a 1996 interview with British music magazine NME, Noel Gallagher of Oasis said that he wrote "Wonderwall" about his then girlfriend Meg Matthews. Later, after the pair were divorced, he changed his story and said the song is not about her. His brother Liam Gallagher is the lead vocalist on the song.

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Modern English - "I Melt With You" (1983)

Modern English I Melt With You
Courtesy 4AD

According to Robbie Grey, the vocalist for new wave group Modern English, "I Melt with You" is about a couple making love while nuclear bombs fall. The song was used in a "falling in love" montage in the hit 1980s film "Valley Girl." "I Melt with You" hit the charts in both 1983 and 1990.

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Carpenters - "(They Long To Be) Close To You" (1970)

Carpenters - "(They Long To Be) Close To You"
Courtesy A&M

Legendary songwriting team Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote "(They Long To Be) Close to You" in the early 1960s. It was recorded and released as the B-side to a single in 1963 by Richard Chamberlain. Later in the decade, Herb Alpert considered recording it as a follow up to his #1 smash "This Guy's in Love with You." However, having concerns about some of the lyrics, he suggested it for rising duo The Carpenters. They turned it into a #1 smash hit and earned a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus.

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Oleta Adams - "Get Here" (1990)

Oleta Adams - "Get Here"
Courtesy Fontana

"Get Here" was written by singer-songwriter Brenda Russell. She recorded it as the title song for her 1988 breakthrough album that also included "Piano in the Dark." Two years later singer Oleta Adams released her cover version of the song as a follow up to work she had done with the duo Tears for Fears. "Get Here" reached the top 5 on pop charts in both the U.S. and U.K.

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Journey - "Faithfully" (1983)

Journey - Frontiers
Courtesy Columbia

Rock band Journey's keyboard player Jonathan Cain wrote "Faithfully" about the difficulties of maintaining a romantic relationship while working as a touring musician. Sadly, he and his wife divorced a few years after the release of the song. "Faithfully" remains a haunting emotional landmark in Journey's catalog.

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Cyndi Lauper - "Time After Time" (1984)

Cyndi Lauper - "Time After Time"
Courtesy Epic

While she was finishing her debut solo album "She's So Unusual," Cyndi Lauper was introduced to songwriter Rob Hyman. Both songwriters were having difficulties in their personal relationships. "Suitcase of memories" is a line that Cyndi Lauper remembers as particularly grabbing her. The pair put together "Time After Time" as one of the last songs for the album. It was released as the second single from the project and became Cyndi Lauper's first #1 hit single. It earned a Grammy Award nomination for Song of the Year.

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Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway - "The Closer I Get to You" (1978)

Roberta Flack Blue Lights In the Basement
Courtesy Atlantic

James Mtume and Reggie Lucas, two former members of jazz legend Miles Davis' band, wrote "The Closer I Get to You" while backing up Roberta Flack. The song brought Roberta Flack back to the pop top 10 for the first time in four years. It was also her second top 10 duet with Donny Hathaway following 1972's "Where Is the Love." Donny Hathaway died tragically less than a year after the release of "The Closer I Get to You."

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Jackie Wilson - "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" (1967)

Jackie Wilson - "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher"
Courtesy Brunswick

"(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" was the final top 10 hit by R&B legend Jackie Wilson. It is arguably his best-remembered hit. The first recorded version of "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" by the Dells was not released. It was later included on their 1968 album "There Is."

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Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack - "Tonight I Celebrate My Love" (1983)

Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack Tonight I Celebrate My Love
Courtesy Capitol

"Tonight I Celebrate My Love" was co-written by legendary pop songwriter Gerry Goffin and R&B songwriter Michael Masser. The duet followed Roberta Flack's return to the pop charts the previous year with "Making Love." It was the first recording by R&B singer Peabo Bryson to break into the pop top 40 after a long career of R&B hits dating back to 1975. "Tonight I Celebrate My Love" was a top 5 hit on both the R&B and adult contemporary charts.

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Adele - "Make You Feel My Love" (2008)

Adele - Make You Feel My Love
Courtesy XL

Bob Dylan's song "Make You Feel My Love," originally recorded for his 1997 album "Time Out Of Mind," has become something of a contemporary pop standard. The gentle love song has been a chart hit for Billy Joel and Garth Brooks, but it is Adele's heartfelt reading that is most often recognized as the definitive recording.

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Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell - "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (1967)

Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell - "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"
Courtesy Tamla

Married songwriting team Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson wrote the classic "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." British singer Dusty Springfield wanted to record the song, but the songwriting pair held it back as they were wanting to draw the attention of the Motown record label. The Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell recording of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" became their signature hit and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

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Ashford and Simspon - "Solid" (1984)

Ashford Simpson Solid
Courtesy Warner Bros.

Married singer-songwriters Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson had been writing hits for other artists since the 1960s, but they had never created a major pop breakthrough of their own. In 1984, the emphatic declaration of committed love on "Solid" went to #12 on the pop chart and #1 R&B. The pair remade the song for President Barack Obama as "Solid (As Barack)" in 2009.

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Box Tops - "The Letter" (1967)

Box Tops - "The Letter"
Courtesy Bell Records

"The Letter" was written by Wayne Carson after his father Shorty Thompson suggested the line, "Give me a ticket for an aeroplane." A demo tape was sent to record producer and entrepreneur Chips Moman. He suggested the song be recorded by a new group The Box Tops. When the group recorded "The Letter," lead vocalist Alex Chilton was only 16. The song was the group's debut hit and went all the way to #1. It earned two Grammy Award nominations. Joe Cocker took "The Letter" back to the pop top 10 in 1970.

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Snow Patrol - "Chasing Cars" (2006)

Snow Patrol - "Chasing Cars"
Courtesy Interscope

"Chasing Cars" first came to prominence through inclusion on the soundtrack of the TV show "Grey's Anatomy," but this song's words of devotion make it memorable well beyond its inclusion on TV. It received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rock Song and went to #5 on the US pop charts. In the U.K., Snow Patrol has spent a total of more than two years on the pop singles chart with "Chasing Cars."

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Sonny & Cher - "I Got You Babe" (1965)

Sonny & Cher - "I Got You Babe"
Courtesy Atco

At the time that he wrote "I Got You Babe," Sonny Bono was working for Phil Spector as a songwriter and producer. It was released as the debut single for married couple Sonny and Cher. The song went to #1 and became a defining hit of the hippie counterculture. It went to #1 in Canada and the U.K. as well making Sonny and Cher pop stars.

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The Beatles - "And I Love Her" (1964)

Beatles - "And I Love Her"
Courtesy Capitol

Paul McCartney has said that "And I Love Her" is "the first ballad I impressed myself with." Although it only reached #12 on the US pop chart, it has gone down in history as one of the group's greatest love songs. The song is included in the film "A Hard Day's Night."

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Peter Gabriel - "In Your Eyes" (1986)

Peter Gabriel - In Your Eyes
Courtesy Geffen

"In Your Eyes" was first released as a track from Peter Gabriel's 1986 album "So." However, it is the 1989 teen romance "Say Anything" that made the song one of the top classic love songs of all time. The movie's character Lloyd Dobler serenading his ex-girlfriend with a boombox playing "In Your Eyes" is one of the iconic film scenes of the 1980s.

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Righteous Brothers - "Unchained Melody" (1965)

Righteous Brothers - "Unchained Melody"
Courtesy Philips

This song has a long and fascinating history beginning with its use as a theme from a prison movie "Unchained" in 1955. In 1955 it hit the U.S. top 10 in three different versions by Les Baxter, Roy Hamilton, and Al Hibbler. The latter two went to #1 on the R&B chart. In 1965 blue-eyed soul duo the Righteous Brothers released the most enduring version and it peaked at #4 on the pop singles chart.

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Elton John - "Your Song" (1970)

Elton John - Your Song
Courtesy Uni

"Your Song" was originally released as the B-side of a single with "Take Me to the Pilot." However, DJs preferred "Your Song" and it ultimately became a top 10 pop smash. Elton John's classic was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998. Ellie Goulding took the song to #2 on the U.K. pop singles chart with a cover version in 2010.

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Eric Clapton - "Wonderful Tonight" (1978)

Eric Clapton - "Wonderful Tonight"
Courtesy RSO

Eric Clapton wrote his classic "Wonderful Tonight" while waiting for his then-girlfriend Pattie Boyd to get ready for an annual Buddy Holly Party thrown by Paul and Linda McCartney in 1976. It was included on the album "Slowhand" and climbed into the top 20 on the pop singles chart in 1978.

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Billy Joel - "Just the Way You Are" (1977)

Billy Joel - "Just the Way You Are"
Courtesy Columbia

Billy Joel wrote "Just the Way You Are" for his first wife Elizabeth. It became his first top 10 pop hit and a major breakthrough. The song climbed to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the adult contemporary chart. It won Grammy Awards for Record and Song of Year.

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Paul McCartney - "Maybe I'm Amazed" (1977)

Paul McCartney McCartney
Courtesy Apple

Paul McCartney first recorded the song "Maybe I'm Amazed" for his debut solo album "McCartney," released in 1970. It is dedicated to his wife Linda McCartney. A live recording of the song from the album "Wings Over America" became a top 10 pop hit in 1977 and is the best known recording.

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Roberta Flack - "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" (1972)

Roberta Flack The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
Courtesy Atlantic

"The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" was written in 1957 by British singer-songwriter Ewan MacColl for Peggy Seeger who would later become his wife. Although played and recorded by a number of artists, it is Roberta Flack's 1972 version that has become the definitive interpretation.

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The Beatles - "Something" (1969)

Beatles - "Something"
Courtesy Apple

This is the only song written by George Harrison to be released as the A-side of a single by the Beatles. It also quickly became the most covered song by the group after "Yesterday." George Harrison said that James Brown's recording was his personal favorite. Frank Sinatra referred to "Something" as "the greatest love song of the past 50 years."