As music fans celebrate Love Note Day on Oct. 1, what better way to tell someone you love them than with a song? Love songs are the bread and butter of the music industry. No matter what genre, through every era, there are plenty of songs that express one person's love for another. Here are the 11 best love songs to play for that special someone, or take some inspiration from while writing that love note.
The 1980's were a great decade for love songs, as seemingly every band had at least one in their repertoire. Journey crafted a heartbreaker with "Faithfully" and its story of the narrator being separated from the woman he loves, but still trying to tell her how hopelessly he loves her. It's impossible to listen to this song without reaching for a tissue by the end of it.
Pop-rock band Lifehouse made a splash in 2005 when they scaled back slightly and released the tender ballad "You and Me." Completely different from most of what the band had released thus far, the song was one of the ten most downloaded singles in the entire year. Lifehouse took a big risk by going so far from their normal style, but the risk paid off.
Whitney Houston defined what it meant to record a love song, with one of the best voices in music history and her ability to wring every ounce of emotion out of it. None of her ballads were more notable than "I Will Always Love You," her version of a song originally recorded by Dolly Parton in 1973. Not to take anything away from the equally iconic Ms. Parton, but the amazing notes Houston hit made this song soar (and floored Parton when she heard it).
With his distinctively gravelly voice, Joe Cocker wasn't the first person music fans would think of when it comes to love songs. But in 1992 he recorded the love theme for the romantic comedy "The Cutting Edge" starring D.B. Sweeney and Moira Kelly. The movie went on to become a cult hit, and Cocker's song is likewise one of those great love songs that has flown quietly under the radar ever since.
Some of the best love songs are duets, and "Don't Know Much" is as good as a duet gets. Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville collaborated on this Barry Mann cover, and while they seemed like an unlikely pairing, they were brilliant together. The duo won a Grammy Award for this duet in 1990, as well as another nomination for Song of the Year.
Maroon 5 launched themselves to super-stardom with "She Will Be Loved," one of the two smash hits from their debut album Songs About Jane. More than a decade later, the song still shows off lead singer Adam Levine's unbelievable vocal range and his ability to put audiences under the band's spell. Maroon 5 play the song at almost every concert, and tickets to see Maroon 5 live at Mandalay Bay Events Center on Dec. 30 and Dec. 31 are on sale now through AXS.
Celine Dion is another artist who has mastered the love song, and "Because You Loved Me" is some of her best work. It's a pop song that is both romantic and upbeat, and Dion's timeless voice makes every word sound beautiful. Tickets to see Celine Dion live as she continues her residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada starting Oct. 30 are on sale now through AXS.
Shawn Colvin recorded the simple and sweet "When You Know" for the film "Serendipity," which starred John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale as two star-crossed lovers who found their way back to each other after years apart. With no frills and earnest lyrics, it's songwriting at its best and pulls at the heartstrings. Tickets to see Shawn Colvin live with the Richard Thompson Electric Trio at Keswick Theatre in Glenside, Pennsylvania on Nov. 10 are on sale now through the AXS event page.
Savage Garden may have only recorded two albums, but they scored big with "Truly Madly Deeply," which was not only a romantic song but one that was impossibly catchy. The song exemplified everything that a pop hit was supposed to be, so no wonder it stayed in the Top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart for almost an entire year.
Bryan Adams wrote a lot of schmaltzy love songs over his career, but none was sappier (or more awesome) than "Everything I Do," which is possibly the most poetic love song in the history of love songs. Adams' lyrics are beautifully crafted as he just spells out his feelings for an unnamed woman in this song made famous by the movie "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves."
Foreigner's "I Want To Know What Love Is" is the absolute best love song ever. It remains timeless decades after its original release, and there's just something about it that turns everyone into an emotional puddle, even if you can't name another Foreigner song. It doesn't matter; everyone who hears this song ends up singing along with it, and that's why it tops this playlist. Tickets to see Foreigner live at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California on Nov. 9 are on sale now through the AXS event page.
For more on any of the artists featured on this playlist, click their names above to visit their artist pages at AXS.