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The 25 Greatest Love Songs of the 1960s
God only knows what we'd be without you.
Read this first! Bloggers, DJs, and critics helped us assemble this comprehensive list of great love songs. Before you tell us what we missed, a few notes. One, we excluded breakup songs and come-back-to-me songs and please-sleep-with-me songs. These are love songs — songs you could play to your current squeeze immediately after saying, "Steve/Miriam, this song explains my feelings for you, which may be nuanced but are ultimately positive," and not expect to sleep on the couch. Two, we limited it to one song per artist, with a couple of exceptions, like The Beatles, because they're The Beatles. Lastly, come back next week for the best love songs of the '70s. Okay, now you can tell us what we missed. Have fun! — The Nerve Editors
25. Leonard Cohen, "Suzanne" (1967)
"Suzanne" is probably Leonard Cohen’s most covered song after the notorious "Hallelujah." Yet it remains one of the most distinctive examples of the singer’s graceful style, spinning together biblical references, exotic ephemera, and glimpses of decay and unexpected beauty into an achingly complete tale of romantic longing. — Jesse Cataldo, of Slant Magazine
Listen: Leonard Cohen, "Suzanne"
24. Nick Drake, "Time Has Told Me" (1969)
The first track on the first album by this notoriously unhappy artist is actually a love song — albeit one written to "a troubled cure for a troubled mind." With its jazz chords and Drake's soft, lilting voice, it's a haunting song of gratitude for the one person who brings the singer some sense of tranquility. — Peter Smith
Listen: Nick Drake, "Time Has Told Me"
23. The Velvet Underground, "Pale Blue Eyes" (1969)
Lou Reed's ballad to college sweetheart/muse Shelly Albin has the feel of a hangover — the complicated relationship leaves the singer so wrung out he can't help but be totally honest. If you've got a blue-eyed better half, the words can't help but cut through you. — Carlos Cabrera
Listen: The Velvet Underground, "Pale Blue Eyes"
22. The Monkees, "I'm a Believer" (1966)
Like so many people in love, "I'm a Believer" doesn't care if it's a little cheesy — it's positively euphoric, and it embraces that feeling unabashedly. — Kristin Hunt
Listen: The Monkees, "I'm a Believer"
21. Dusty Springfield, "The Look of Love" (1967)
Has any pop single ever taken longer than "The Look of Love" to stoke a fire of anticipation? The gently brushed percussion sets a languid pace, and Springfield uses her impossibly slow, natural vibrato like one long caress. She might be delaying gratification, but she makes it worth the wait. — Jonathan Keefe, of Slant Magazine
Listen: Dusty Springfield, "The Look of Love"
20. Otis Redding, "The Glory of Love" (1967)
"The Glory of Love," a hit for many an R&B artist over the years, doesn't mince words — sometimes, love is going to make you cry. But Otis assures us that in spite of the tears and sighing, at the end of the day, it's glorious just to have someone. — K.H.
Listen: Otis Redding, "The Glory of Love"
19. Sam Cooke, "That's Where It's At" (1964)
According to Sam Cooke, "where it's at" isn't a swinging, drug-fueled '60s party, but hanging out in a dimly lit room with his pretty baby. If that doesn't say true love, we don't know what does. — K.H.
Listen: Sam Cooke, "That's Where It's At"
18. The Kinks, "You Really Got Me" (1964)
"You Really Got Me" doesn't over-extend itself. While Diana Ross was asking what she did to make her lover go away and how she could make him come back, these Brit Invaders took the less-involved route. Love songs to this point were generally ballads; with their thumping drums and guitars, The Kinks gave theirs a libidinal push. — Delia Pless
Listen: The Kinks, "You Really Got Me"