Motown Love Songs Ranked from Worst to Best
Motown Love Songs Ranked from Worst to Best
In honor of Valentine's Day, a look at the most romance-obsessed music there is.
In 1960, Motown Records was founded in Detroit, and in years since, it's brought us some of the best love songs ever written. Also, some of the cheesiest. We decided to let you know which is which. All of the following songs were Billboard Number One hits and all of them have the word "Love" in the title. Some of them are amazing.
27. "All This Love" — DeBarge (1983)
This song topped the chart for Adult Contemporary. If you listen, I think you'll understand why.
Listen: "All This Love"
26. "Two Lovers" — Mary Wells (1962)
Controversial content couldn't save this song. Mary turned out to be much more interesting singing about boring old monogamy. (See "My Guy.")
Listen: "Two Lovers"
25. "Love Will Conquer All" — Lionel Richie (1986)
This song is smooth. Like the worst butter you've ever tasted.
Listen: "Love Will Conquer All"
24. "I Love Your Smile" — Shanice (1991)
This if the best elevator music anyone has ever heard. Which says very little.
Listen: "I Love Your Smile"
23. "Send One Your Love" — Stevie Wonder (1979)
I don't have anything against this song. It's just very, very dull. Next!
Listen: "Send One Your Love"
22. "Love Machine (Part 1)" — The Miracles (1976)
This song is both hooky and mind-numbing.
Listen: "Love Machine (Part 1)"
21. "Stoned Love" — Diana Ross & The Supremes (1970)
I've always considered this song The Supremes' attempt at capitalizing on a lifestyle they never really experienced. It's catchy, but somehow fake, which makes me feel weird.
Listen: "Stoned Love"
20. "I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You)" — The Temptations (1968)
This song would be great if it had been done by a lesser band, but we all know The Temptations can do better, so this is stuck back here at number twenty.
Listen: "I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You)"
19. "I Just Called To Say I Love You" — Stevie Wonder (1984)
Between the corny holiday references and the drum machine, Stevie seriously dropped the ball on this one.
Listen: "I Just Called To Say I Love You"
18. "Endless Love" — Diana Ross & Lionel Richie (1981)
If you can get through the painful cheesiness, you'll experience what's arguably one of the best Motown duos of all time. But not actually the best; that would be Marvin and Tammi.
Listen: "Endless Love"
17. "Love Child" — Diana Ross & The Supremes (1968)
Nothing like "social issues" and a slow, difficult-to-dance-to tempo to bring down a song's ranking. Fun fact: this song terrified me as a child.
Listen: "Love Child"
16. "Walk Away From Love" — David Ruffin (1976)
After listening to this song, I’m almost willing to forgive David Ruffin for breaking up The Temptations — his voice is just incredible. Is that sacrilege?
Listen: "Walk Away From Love"
15. "I'll Make Love To You" — Boyz II Men (1994)
The video for this magical baby-making jam gives it an unfair advantage. It. Is. Awesome.
Listen: "I'll Make Love To You"
14. "Part-Time Lover" — Stevie Wonder (1985)
Oh Stevie, the ‘80s really weren’t your decade, huh?
Listen: "Part-Time Lover"
13. "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)" — Marvin Gaye (1965)
Marvin Gaye is a God among men. Although this isn’t his best work, the melody always soothes my soul.
Listen: "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)"
12. "Love Hangover" — Diana Ross (1976)
This track makes me want to either dance all night at Studio 54 or roller-skate all day at the roller rink in bell-bottoms. You know, whichever.
Listen: "Love Hangover"
11. "Baby Love" — Diana Ross & The Supremes (1964)
Fans of The Supremes know that this song sounds eerily similar to “Where Did Our Love Go.” Like apples and oranges, everyone has a preference. Obviously, this is mine.
Listen: "Baby Love"
10. "The Love You Save" — The Jackson 5 (1970)
In this song, baby Michael Jackson warns a young floozy that if she doesn't "take it slow" some day, she'll be all alone. Classic.
Listen: "The Love You Save"
9. "Love Is Here and Now You're Gone" — Diana Ross & The Supremes (1967)
A moving break-up anthem for the ages, complete with voiceovers. When Diana wails, "Look at me / Look what loving you has done to me," your heart can't help but go out to her.
Listen: "Love Is Here and Now You're Gone"
8. "You Can't Hurry Love" — Diana Ross & The Supremes (1966)
Some schmuck named Phil Collins covered this song in the ‘80s and it sucked. The original is so upbeat, so desperate, and so quintessentially Motown, it should never have been messed with.
Listen: "You Can't Hurry Love"
7. "(Love Is Like A) Heatwave" — Martha & the Vandellas (1963)
Aren’t similes great? If Martha were singing this today, she probably would sing, “My love is like literally a heatwave,” and that just wouldn’t have worked. Luckily, we have this, a danceable classic about overwhelming emotion.
Listen: "(Love Is Like A) Heatwave"
6. "What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)" — Jr. Walker & The All-Stars (1969)
The horns and the All-Stars really make this song what it is — amazing. The pleading in Jr. Walker's voice is also pretty incredible.
Listen: "What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)"
5. "Where Did Our Love Go" — Diana Ross & The Supremes (1964)
Yes, I prefer this one to “Baby Love.” And the world seems to agree with me, if the number of covers this song has provoked is any indication. Plus, that chapping sound heard at the beginning of the song? Actual stomping and clapping.
Listen: "Where Did Our Love Go"
4. "Do You Love Me" — The Contours (1962)
If you’re looking to simply break it down on the dance floor, this is the song to do it. It’s not because the lyrics name a variety of dance moves (though I do find that helpful). It’s the beat — perfect for hip swiveling. And as we know from Shakira, who learned it from The Contours, hips don’t lie.
Listen: "Do You Love Me"
4. "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" — Diana Ross & The Supremes/The Temptations (1969)
The power of two Motown super-groups cannot be toppled. They pull out all the stops on this one — voiceovers, all-star harmonies, and lyrics full of self-confident determination. Diana and David, you have succeeded.
Listen: "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me"
2. "I Was Made To Love Her" — Stevie Wonder (1967)
Finally, a Stevie jam on this list I can get behind. With the power of his harmonica and the strength of his voice, Stevie has me completely convinced that he is indeed made to love this mystery woman. Yeah, yeah, yeeeeah.
Listen: "I Was Made To Love Her"
1. "Stop! In The Name Of Love" — The Supremes (1965)
Diana Ross & The Supremes have the most Number One hits of any Motown artist, and this song is a great example of why. The beat, the lyrics, the hand motions that go so seamlessly along with them — it has hit written all over it. Although Diana is singing about potential heartbreak, what she’s saying is actually rather empowering. Baby, think it over.
Listen: "Stop! In The Name Of Love"