Not a member? Sign up now
15. The Ramones, "She's the One" (1978)
There's usually a point in every relationship where you want to jump around the room like an idiot because someone has made you so very happy. The Ramones knew this decades before Tom Cruise did, and captured that feeling in just over two minutes of bouncing glee. — A.H.
Listen: The Ramones, "She's the One"
14. Dionne Warwick and The Spinners, "Then Came You" (1974)
Via Dionne Warwick's able crooning, "Then Came You" is optimistic, cinematic, and perhaps most of all, mature. The build-up of the piano and the Spinners' backup vocals makes you feel like a character in a musical, oddly compelled to stand up and sing along. In short, "Then Came You" is the kind of song that gradually infiltrates your body until you can't help but stand up and clap your hands together in celebration of that often-awful-but-occasionally-awesome feeling: love. — M.H.
Listen: Dionne Warwick and The Spinners, "Then Came You"
13. Patti Smith, "Because the Night" (1978)
Written by Bruce Springsteen for Patti Smith, "Because the Night" has since been recorded by acts from 10,000 Maniacs to Springsteen himself. But no one's ever seemed to mean it quite as much as Smith. She captures the rapturous excitement of being with someone special, and, um, taking advantage of the sundown. — Kristin Hunt
Listen:Patti Smith, "Because the Night"
12. Bruce Springsteen, "She's the One" (1975)
On an album brimming over with romance, most of it of the starry-eyed, teenage-rebellion variety, "She's the One" stands out as the purest love song. "Born to Run" may embrace the sentiment of doomed lovers on the lam, but it's more about escape than the down-to-earth emotions expressed here, an assured declaration of love grounded by a brawny sax solo. — Jesse Cataldo, of Slant Magazine
Listen:Bruce Springsteen, "She's the One"
11. Elton John, "Your Song" (1970)
Many love songs are so over-the-top that the words lose meaning. "Your Song" is a ballad for the ordinary man or woman who can't promise the world to the one they love. Instead of saying what he will do, Elton expresses — with an honest yearning in his voice — what he would do if he could. Instead of buying big houses or painting a masterpiece, all he can do is try his best to make a simple love song. It turns out to be a pretty good one. — Confusion, of Pigeons and Planes
Listen: Elton John, "Your Song"
10. Earth, Wind & Fire, "September" (1978)
Funk music can be so busy and buoyant that tender emotion sometimes gets subsumed by groove. (After all, I generally don't think of my booty as my center of love.) But "September" nails both: it's sweetly nostalgic, adorably wholesome, and irresistibly funky. — A.H.
Listen: Earth, Wind & Fire, "September"
9. Jackson 5, "I'll Be There" (1970)
Before all the drama complicated the story of Michael Jackson and his family, there was "I'll Be There," an innocent declaration of unconditional love. It was a sentiment that obviously resonated with a lot of people; the song was the Jackson 5's most successful single ever. — Confusion, of Pigeons and Planes
Listen: Jackson 5, "I'll Be There"