It’s the season for love songs

Erin Johnsrud, Staff Writer

Love, countless poems, books, plays, movies and songs are written about its beginning, ending, and every stage in between. I’ll confess to not being a huge fan of love songs … when I’m not in love. I realize that not everyone reading this is in love at the moment, so in the interest of full disclosure (and lucky for me), I happen to be spectacularly in love. And being so, was happy to compile a list of my favorite love songs of all time.

Stick with me single readers. We all know there’s different kinds of love – you love your mom a different way than you love your dog, in a different way that you love your best friend, and in a different way that you love your boy or girlfriend. So, even if you’re not in a relationship this Valentine’s Day, there’s some kind of love you can celebrate.

Listen to a love song, one you really feel. There has to be at least one, even if you completely disagree with my list. Appreciate the people and love in your life, however you find it. In the words of the poet John Keats (and recently quoted on American Horror Story: Coven, where I first heard it): “More happy love! More happy, happy love!”

Goo Goo Dolls “Iris”

It’s possibly the worst band name ever, but hat doesn’t take away from the sincerity of the lyrics and the beauty of the melody.

 “You’re the closest to Heaven that I’ve ever been/And I don’t want to go home right now”

The Pretenders “I’ll Stand By You” 

One of the writers of this classic, Billy Steinberg, has said when he first wrote it (along with Tom Kelly and Chrissie Hynde), he felt it was a little soft, a little generic for The Pretenders. One listen and you’ll agree, with the incomparable Chrissie Hynde on vocals, it’s neither soft nor generic.

“When the night falls on you/You don’t know what to do/Nothin’ you confess, could make me love you less/I’ll stand by you”

Justin Timberlake featuring  Beyonce “Until The End of Time”

Vocals by Beyonce were added to this sexy slow jam after WGCI in Chicago started playing the original version from JT’s 2006 sophomore solo album Future Sex/Love Sounds, and Timberlake’s record label started marketing the song to urban radio. Both versions are beautiful, but this one has Beyonce.

“’Cause if your love was all I had in this life/Well that would be enough until the end of time/So rest your weary heart and relax your mind/’Cause I’m gonna love you girl, until the end of time”

Lonestar “Amazed” (1999)

“Amazed” spent 30 weeks on the charts before cracking Billboard’s  U.S. Top Ten, and was the first song by a country act to reach #1 on the Hot 100 since Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton’s “Islands in the Stream” in 1983. A beautiful country love song that I’m reasonably certain has been played at every wedding reception since its release.


“Every time our eyes meet/This feeling inside me/Is almost more than I can take/Baby when you touch  me/I can feel how much you love me/And it just blows me away”

Al Green “Let’s Stay Together”

Everyone knows this song, but have you ever actually listened to it? As in, the whole thing? I hadn’t until a few years ago, and, wow. The arrangement and Green’s vocals are amazing. The Library of Congress agrees, having included this song in the National Recording Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” It’s a classic for a reason.

“Since we’ve been together/Loving you forever/Is what I need/Let me be the one you come running to/I’ll never be untrue”

Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris “We Found Love” 

Both Leona Lewis and Nicole Scherzinger proclaimed to have been offered this song by Scottish singer/songwriter Calvin Harris before he toured with, and subsequently offered this song to, Rihanna. Harris says the line “we fell in love in a hopeless place” doesn’t mean anything in particular, telling Q magazine “I was just playing the song and doing nonsense singing to see if the syllables fitted the song. It was like that. I was singing nonsense and that’s how the lyrics happened.” Also worth a mention is the song’s video (is that Chris Brown??? We all know it’s not, but the male lead looks an awful lot like him). It’s frantic and captivating, and is the track’s perfect visual companion.

“We fell in love in a hopeless place”

Aerosmith “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” (1998)

From the blockbuster film Armageddon, starring Steven Tyler’s daughter, Liv, this slow dance staple, recorded with a 52-piece orchestra, is to-date Aerosmith’s biggest commercial hit having spent four weeks at #1. Old school Aerosmith purists complained the group sold out, but in my humble opinion it showcases exactly why Aerosmith has carried on through decades. Tell me you didn’t cry at the end of Armageddon. I don’t believe you.

Quotable lyrics: “Then I kiss your eyes and thank God we’re together/And I just want to stay with you/In this moment forever, forever and ever”

Alicia Keys “No One” (2007)

This won Grammy awards for both Best R&B Song and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for this chart-topper, which was the most heard song on US radio in 2008 (even though it was released as a single September 11, 2007), with an estimated 3.08 billion times played.  With that much airplay, there’s a chance you were sick of it by the end of 2008, but a few years out, I encourage you to take another listen. It’s full of soul and lyrics that hit home for anyone who has ever been in a relationship.

“I just want you close/Where you can stay forever/You can be sure/That it will only get better/You and me together/Through the days and nights/I don’t worry ‘cause/Everything’s gonna be alright”

Elvis Presley “Can’t Help Falling in Love” (1961)

Sampling the 18th century French song “Plaisir d’Amour”, the song was written for Elvis’ movie, Blue Hawaii (no, I have not seen the movie). It took Presley 29 takes to get the song just right, but it definitely paid off. The vocals are smooth and gentle, and the lyrics of destined love are masterful. It’s an oldie but a goodie.

“Take my hand, take my whole life too/For I can’t help falling in love with you”

The Beatles “Something” (1969)

With lead vocals and lyrics by George Harrison, this is the only song on the Beatles 1 album that was not a #1 hit on its own in the US or the UK, and over 150 versions have been recorded by the likes of Elvis Presley, James Brown, and Frank Sinatra, who called it “the greatest love song ever written”.  Simple, pure, beautiful. If there was ever a perfect love song, musically and lyrically, this is it.

“You’re asking me, will my love grow?/I don’t know, I don’t know/You stick around now it may show”