Has any subject been written about more in music than The Big L? The answer, of course, is no. Looking to have a bash with pals? Three years later, Wilson and the Boys would surpass the master with a song that lifted the notion of the sophisticated love song clean into the heavens.
There was no need to worry. It's the mushy definition of a love song that becomes all the more powerful for it. But there's real, undeniable hunger in Bobby Hatfield's luminous and raw vocal, the push and pull of the instrumentation is subtler than expected, and the words reveal layers where true fidelity fights to overcome lingering doubt.
The world seems to agree: The Righteous Brothers version of the song remains the most popular and well-loved out of hundreds of recordings from around the globe. But our favorite boost for the song has to be when it was sung by President Obama at a fund-raising event in Speaking of Ben E.
King, his crowning achievement remains this timeless, apocalyptic wonder, which he co-wrote with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Lennon covered it, Scorsese used it to announce his directorial arrival in Mean Streets , and, as discussed, Brian Wilson was so in awe of its orchestral drive, he famously listened to it times a day. A favorite first-dance song at hipster weddings, this gentle cut by indie-rock lifers Yo La Tengo, off their LP And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out , captures those first moments of realizing this new person is a big deal.
Just a hunch. The fear of taking the plunge with someone, either because of rejection or it going wrong, is all there, but seems worth it all the same. If love is a drug, then Van was on a heavy dose here. It can be a powerful, fickle jerk, in other words. Set in F minor, the song hits like a breakup. Burt Bacharach, you clever devil. Aretha belts it like tragedy, too. Love is devastating.
She turns her mundane morning ritual—hair, makeup, dressing—into opera. Yet, the cathartic decision to forgive, and start over for love and family completes the arc beautifully. Lord have mercy! Elvis might be as well be the king of love ballads, but this late-in-career anthem is a genuine rock and roll hit.
Written for Eddie Cantor to sing—in blithe blackface—in the movie Whoopee! Though Nina Simone recorded her version in , it became an unlikely chart hit in the U. The irony of this commercial connection is keen, since the song itself represents a rejection of material and cultural distractions.
With matter-of-fact majesty, she restores the song, in a sense, to its own values. The National is a band best known for its alternately stately and ravaged examinations of existential dread and anxiety—in short, they're far from lovey-dovey.
But this track from their breakout album, 's Boxer proves that they're aware of love's curative powers. This number-one hit the first by a black girl group to claim that title was penned by Gerry Goffin and Carole King. Ray Charles knows the feeling. Grand Ole Opry decided to pursue a solo career, became quite the sensation in While the lyrics to this early aughts classic are fairly and repetitive, they become almost like a mantra. Though the relationship between Leonard Cohen and the real Suzanne was only ever platonic in real life, this poem and song romanticizes the relationship that never was, and never would be.
Of course, this is what makes the song's affection resonate—our main character's relationship looks unsalvageable, but he remains steadfast. The depiction of modern love goes on from there to encompass his fevered dreams, paranoia and cringe-inducing self-doubt as a signposts on the path to true connection.
Sounds about right. Everyone—well, a lot of people, anyway—deserves that one big summer romance. When the White Stripes delivered this raw, garage rock banger in , it instantly stole the hearts just about everyone.
The bluesy, kinetic energy formed by the duo was nearly impossibly not to dance along to, with lyrics that might make you fall in love, even if your left brain knows that all love is fleeting. Just how many times did this song appear on mix CDs made for dorm-room crushes in the aughts? The jist? Plus, who doesn't love Friday? Dragging Phil Spector and Ike Turner into a discussion of romance feels gross, but the power of Tina Turner cannot be denied.
Her voice soars above this hair-raising avalanche of sound made by 21 musicians and 21 backup singers—in what sounds like two gospel songs playing over a timpani practice. As Pet Sounds also proved in , it can take a hell of a lot of pain to fuel an eternal love song. Some people would walk one whole mile for love. Some people would walk even further than that—say, 7 miles, maybe even The Proclaimers really shifted paradigms, however, when they declared their intention to walk five-hundred miles.
That's a large number of miles! But get this: There's more. Five-hundred more, to be exact. That's 1, miles in all, folks. Have you ever walked 1, miles just to demonstrate and verify the love you feel for your lover? We bet you couldn't even make it into the double digits. From the opening bars, lazy Dylanesque strumming and slide-guitar moans suggest a warm, lazy summer afternoon. Then Hope Sandoval starts singing, her breathy insinuation suggestive and vulnerable at once as the music curls and stretches.
Reagan gets all the credit. Two lovers kiss by the graffiti and razor wire. Bowie, dreaming of escape so hard he wishes to be a porpoise, wails against a wall of sound. Some songs are about being in love. This krautrock cannonball is testimony to the awesome, world-shaking power of love itself. Please tell us again how we have the universe reclining in our hair. The song is sleeper sexy: starting off slow, building into a hip-shaker and ending with, um, some sucking.
Bravo, Bolan. Short and sweet. Considered by many to be the gold standard against which all romantic standards are judged, this perennial wedding favorite marries an elegant, soaring melody by Jerome Kern with a personal, wistful lyric by Dorothy Fields.
Despite how jaunty the melody is, the relationship depicted in the song is not ideal with the singer begging to be not used again, by a lover who keeps coming back and making her fall in love all over again, just when she thinks the relationship is over. For two singers who reached the peaks of musical achievement through astounding ambition and innovation, this restrained and simple love song shows just how talented each was beneath it all.
Before he passed, Buddy Holly loomed large in the early days of rock and roll, in no small part due to the signature percussive-like strum of his guitar and the slight country music twang of his vocals. These best sex songs will take you by the hand, whisper sweet nothings in your ear and lead you straight to the bedroom. Time Out New York.
Get us in your inbox Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from your city and beyond. We already have this email. Try another? My Account My Profile Sign out.
My Account. Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right New York State icon-chevron-right New York icon-chevron-right Best love songs of all time. Read more. You may also like. Love the mag? Our newsletter hand-delivers its best bits to your inbox.
Sign up to receive it, and unlock our digital magazines.