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17. Nina Simone, "I Love Your Lovin' Ways" (1966)
No one gave songs religious intensity like Nina Simone. It's that intensity, combined with her band's confident swagger, that makes this song such a winner. Because sometimes being in love makes you feel like strutting. — Alex Heigl
Listen: Nina Simone, "I Love Your Lovin' Ways"
16. The Righteous Brothers, "Unchained Melody" (1965)
Forget about Ghost. Just focus on Bobby Hatfield's spine-tingling vocal performance and Phil Spector's wall-of-sound production, both of which build slowly, until they become a tidal wive that threatens to overwhelm you... kind of like love. — A.H.
Listen: The Righteous Brothers, "Unchained Melody"
15. The Four Tops, "I Can't Help Myself" (1965)
Forget Olivia Newton-John — The Four Tops are the best at hopeless devotion. However much their sugarpie honey bunch goes in and out of their life, these guys will always come running, in truly head-over-heels fashion. — K.H.
Listen: The Four Tops, "I Can't Help Myself"
14. Bob Dylan, "Lay Lady Lay" (1969)
"Lay Lady Lay" is desirous and anticipatory. It wants to reach out and grab your hand, make you stay the night. In a deliciously low croon, Dylan tells his lover that she's "the best thing that he's ever seen," and in that moment the only place you want to be is pressed up against someone's body in a big brass bed, forgetting the time of day. — Colette McIntyre
Listen: Bob Dylan, "Lay Lady Lay"
13. The Temptations, "My Girl" (1964)
Every week, four guys come through my subway car and sing this one a capella. When I'm feeling down on love, I want to punch them. Other times, it sounds about as sweet and sunny as a song could be. — P.S.
Listen: The Temptations, "My Girl"
12. Tina Turner, "River Deep, Mountain High" (1966)
If there were a moral to this song, it'd be "love conquers all." Given what we know about Ike and Tina's marriage, maybe love doesn't actually conquer all, but "River Deep, Mountain High" almost makes you believe it. — D.P.
Listen: Tina Turner, "River Deep, Mountain High"
11. Van Morrison, "Sweet Thing" (1968)
When I was a young man, "Sweet Thing" seemed to encapsulate the feeling of what it might be like to be in love. That powerful chemistry between Van Morrison's possessed voice, that bass line, the sweeping strings, the evocative poetic lyrics... in my mind, it set a standard for what love was that my relationships were consistently falling short of. That is, until I met my wife Maggie. "Sweet Thing" became our song and was the first one we danced to at our wedding. I continue to appreciate it to this day, largely for its great advice on keeping a marriage strong: "Just to dig it all and not to wonder, that's just fine/and I'll be satisfied not to read in between the lines." — Dan Wilcox, of KCRW
Listen: Van Morrison, "Sweet Thing"