Skip to main content

Top Ten (Plus One) Favorite Romantic Love Songs of the Twentieth Century

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

Romance Is Not Dead

Don't let anyone tell you romance is dead. The airwaves are full of romantic songs. These tales of requited and unrequited love, cautionary tales of love, and humorous songs about love, come in all flavors from spicy salsa to romantic strings and techno-metallic-new-age-euro-pop.

Every age and genre has its favored spokesperson - post-war American teenage girls screamed and swooned for Frank Sinatra, their daughters screamed and swooned for The Beatles, and their daughters memorized every song by the BeeGees. One generation hears its voice in the sounds of a Barbra Streisand ballad, the next finds its expression in the pop-mantra of Madonna, or the Latin rhythms of Selena.

From the Basin Street to Beethoven, Muddy Waters to Pink, music makers have always had something to say to us about love, and we have always discovered our hearts in their music.

Love Me Tender

The movie in which this song is featured is an early Elvis film, and not terribly memorable, except for this one tune. The song, though became a standard.

Based on an old Civil War ballad, but with updated lyrics, it has become the epitome of the modern, rock 'n' roll love song. The teenage girls who screamed and swooned when young Elvis first performed this sentimental ditty, screamed and swooned all over again when, years later, the much older bit still potent "King of Rock & Roll" sang it again, just for his special fans.

When I Fall In Love

This sing has been covered by almost every artist whose ever crooned a love ballad. This version by Nat King Cole from 1957 is perhaps my favorite version.

This song doesn't talk about what constitutes love, nor ask if the love in question is real or returned. It merely describes what will occur when love comes to the singer, and leaves us all wishing we could be the one who will win that love.

Dream - The Everly Brothers

My sisters and I cut our musical teeth on The Everly Brothers. We played their 45s over and over, analyzing their harmonies and learning the songs.

Their music was considered radical and cutting edge - the term "rock-a-billy" was tossed into the mix. Along with performers like Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and The Big Bopper, they introduced a new kind of music to a new generation of music lovers, and kids everywhere ate it up with big spoons. A lot of their hits were covers of songs released by black artists that we would never have heard otherwise.

At Last

This anthem of love-finally-come-true was recorded in 1961, by Etta James. Sung with the full-bodied passion of a mature woman, this song says it all - the yearning is over, the loneliness will never be felt again, because the long wait is over - love has finally arrived.

Some Enchanted Evening - Roger's and Hammerstein's South Pacific

One of the more interesting musicals of that era because of the themes it explored, South Pacific also contains some of the best-loved songs of all time. Starring the inimitable Mary Martin, the story follows an All-American girl who falls in love while serving her country overseas.

The exuberant opening number sets the stage for a fun-filled romp in an idyllic, enchanted, and exotic setting. But South Pacific has a much deeper heart than mere romance. Though set in the era of WWII, it speaks to a modern-day America - the America of the 60s, where racial discrimination was finally being legislated back into the dark ages.

As America was finally coming of age on this issue, so does our heroine, Nellie Forbush. She must confront her beliefs about race and culture to find true love, the kind of love that Ezio Pinza sings of in this lovely, romantic song.

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

Roberta Flack's performance of this amazing song is so pure and effortless. The lyric seems to look right into the very soul of anyone who has ever been in love.

Scroll to Continue

The song recalls the thrill of a first meeting, and goes on to describe a love that will "last 'til the end of time..", a love most of us can only dream about.

I Will Always Love You

Sometimes a song is so great the first time around, we just have to find a way to make it go round again. Penned by country music icon Dolly Parton, "I Will Always Love You" was certainly a high point of the film in which it first appeared.

The Greatest Little Whorehouse in Texas , despite its name and our modern view of this so-called "victimless crime", was a vastly amusing romantic comedy. The film, starring Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton, pops up every once in a while on late night TV, but the song has gone on to grace another film.

Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner star in The Bodyguard , a mystery/romance about a super-star whose life has been threatened. Certainly this song - the movie's montage finale - is one of the best parts of the entire film.

I Will Always Love You

A Time For Us

Mancini's magical theme captures the sweeping romance and drama of this timeless tale Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers.

Performed by such greats as Andre Rieu, Kenny G., and the great composer himself, Henry Mancini, this piece has become a classic repertoire standard for instrumentalists and vocalists alike.

The Rose

This version of "The Rose" is performed by Bette Middler and Wynona Judd. It is, arguably, one of the most beautiful love songs in the English language, and these two amazing ladies certainly do it justice.

This is one of my favorite melodies - it is as lovely to sing as it is to listen to. Not every song "sings" well, but this particular one has a set of lyrics that fits the melody so perfectly - as if each syllable had been perfectly chosen for each specific note - that it is as much a pleasure for the performer as it is for the listener. Every once in a while - actually quite often, in the case of love songs - a melody will be written, and a set of lyrics penned that just beg to be performed. This is one such song.

Can You Feel The Love Tonight?

Leave it to Disney and the great Sir Elton John to have the last word on love, at least in this article. We have all come to know that every Disney film will have, among all the fun, sing-able, whistle-worthy tunes, at least one awesome love song that will stay with us long after the film has faded from memory.

This beautiful ode to the power of love - Oh, no! I can't believe I missed that one! - sums up all that is best and brightest in what we believe love to be.

Perhaps the greatest of all gifts we can give to another is the gift of the very best part of ourselves - the gift of love.

My Heart Will Go On

And who could forget this memorable song sung here by Celine Dion. And such a charming couple, the beautiful but doomed, star-crossed lovers. No one who's seen Titanic will ever forget some of the tenderest, sweetest moments between the movies two. romantic leads.

The ending is one of the saddest and wonderful in cinema history - right up there with Dr. Zhivago's "Somewhere My Love," or the love theme from The God Father - "Speak Softly Love."

And the List Could Go On and On, Too

I could keep adding wonderful songs to this list, but then I'd have to change the name of this to the Top Hundred All-Time Best Love Songs. There are so many great songs out there. Songs that tug at our heart strings. Songs that seep us into another world - a world where everything will be alright, a world where a great song can help make a great love story come true.


© 2010 RedElf


RedElf (author) from Canada on February 22, 2014:

Thanks so much for stopping by to comment. I am an unabashed romantic. :)

Natasha Pelati from South Africa on January 31, 2014:

Some great songs here! Puts you in a romantic mood, for sure!

RedElf (author) from Canada on March 21, 2012:

Greetings, pickadilly! You are most welcome - and thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

Priscill Anne Alvik from Schaumburg, IL on March 11, 2012:

Loved this piece!!! Thank you for all the musical insight!

RedElf (author) from Canada on September 16, 2011:

Thanks so much, marimccants! These are certainly some of my favorites,

marimccants on September 16, 2011:

They are all lovely songs.These gives me the feeling to fall in love all over again.

RedElf (author) from Canada on January 18, 2011:

Thanks so much SCROLLS - nice to meet you. Glad you liked the songs.

SCROLLS0165 on January 18, 2011:

I just finished reading your hub. And I especially liked the selection of songs.

RedElf (author) from Canada on December 06, 2010:

These are some of the best - glad you think so, too, fucsia!

fucsia on December 05, 2010:

A very lovely collection!

Thanks for sharing... And for "Love me Tender"!

Wow!! A very romatic song!

RedElf (author) from Canada on August 18, 2010:

Thanks so much - they are some of my favorites.

Gift Experts on August 18, 2010:

GOod collection you have chosen! Relish those old songs :)

RedElf (author) from Canada on July 27, 2010:

Greetings, Christainadam - I have included your suggestion below, plus a link to your profile. Thanks for commenting

Christianadam 10 hours ago

May I suggest this as wedding theme song or maybe if you were married it could be your love song. Hear it would make you feel relax and appreciate everything you have at this point in time - "When God Made You"

RedElf (author) from Canada on March 28, 2010:

Love the mask, antonrosa! Goes well with the romance ;)

antonrosa from USA on March 28, 2010:

I especially love latin ballads too. Romance and love are always a great feeling to have!

RedElf (author) from Canada on March 20, 2010:

Thanks, MOW. You are so welcome - those are some of my all-time favorites, too!

myownworld from uk on March 19, 2010:

Great selection of songs....I'm glad you mixed some classic oldies with some more latest ones too. 'The First Time Ever I saw' is one of my favorite songs ever, but I love George Michael's version of it, which is also great. And 'Can you feel The Love Tonight' has the most beautiful word ever' ....though 'I Will Always love you' still tears me up. Thank you for sharing these....loved them! :)

RedElf (author) from Canada on March 10, 2010:

My thoughts, too. Nice to meet you.

Complaicency from Wales, UK on March 10, 2010:

Fantastic. Very good hub. I love the old love classics. you just cant beat em :)

RedElf (author) from Canada on February 09, 2010:

Thanks again, Trish. Yes, I love that version, too.

Tricia Mason from The English Midlands on February 09, 2010:

I missed 'A Time For Us' ~ a lovely song from Zeffirelli's 'Romeo & Juliet'!

The Andre Rieu version is lovely.

RedElf (author) from Canada on February 04, 2010:

Thanks so much, Trish. Mine too! Thanks for stopping by to comment.

Tricia Mason from The English Midlands on February 04, 2010:


Some of my all-time favourites there!

Love Me Tender

When I Fall In Love

Some Enchanted Evening

At Last

I Will Always Love You

RedElf (author) from Canada on January 20, 2010:

Thanks so much for your comments - I like them, too ;)

Dao Hoa on January 20, 2010:

It is a Lovely hub. I always like love songs. Thanks a bunch.

RedElf (author) from Canada on January 18, 2010:

Most welcome, says! So nice of you to comment. Glad you liked the songs - they are some of my favorites!

on January 18, 2010:

Thank you for this wonderful hub Red Elf! I loved listening to your selections as I know most of them.

I am a hopeless romantic!

RedElf (author) from Canada on January 17, 2010:

I should have thought of that - it could be my new sideline! Thanks for the idea, cashmere ;)

cashmere from India on January 17, 2010:

I need to cut a cd with these songs. Love them all.

RedElf (author) from Canada on January 16, 2010:

Too cool, Rose Mary! My sisters and I love to harmonize and The Rose is one of our favorites, too.

rmcrayne from San Antonio Texas on January 16, 2010:

Wow, I know every one of these songs quite well! Great choices. My folks loved Nat King Cole, especially Ramblin Rose. I was a big fan of The Rose when it came out. I had the LP.

RedElf (author) from Canada on January 15, 2010:

Ooooh! Good one, Papa Sez! Love that one, too.

Papa Sez from The Philippines to Canada on January 15, 2010:

Nice collection of love songs that would never fade. I like Nat King Cole and his "When I Fall in Love", and also would never tire of his "Unforgettable" together with his daughter Natalie.

RedElf (author) from Canada on January 13, 2010:

He looks like such sweet boy! My pleasure, Paradise7!

You are most welcome, Enelle. I had a lot of fun preparing it!

Enelle Lamb from Canada's 'California' on January 13, 2010:

I second alekhouse - this is a great hub, with great songs! Thanks for reminding us :D

Paradise7 from Upstate New York on January 13, 2010:

Love Me Tender--one of the best love songs, and one of the simplest. Elvis looked so YOUNG! I'm glad to hear that song again, thank you, Red Elf.

Nice romantic hub, I enjoyed it so much.

RedElf (author) from Canada on January 13, 2010:

It was very hard, Hh! For every one I included, at least three or four more came to mind! So many songs, so little space, ;)

Most welcome, alkhouse - it was great fun tracking them all down.

Nancy Hinchliff from Essex Junction, Vermont on January 13, 2010:

I loved listening to these songs again. Thanks for including all the videos. Good hub.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on January 13, 2010:

Lovely collection of great songs. There are so many and it must have been hard which one to choose. Thank you.

Related Articles