The five best love songs from the past century

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The five best love songs from the past century

Helena Yang

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Written by Kayden Fu and Helena Yang

These five iconic love songs from the past six decades may be older than you, but despite their age, they will surely make your heart flutter.

Elvis Presley sang “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” on the “Blue Hawaii” soundtrack. Photo courtesy of James Vaughan.

The oldest of the five is “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley. Originally featured in the movie Blue Hawaii, according to SongFacts, Presley actually sang the song for his grandmother on her birthday. But its heartfelt lyrics, accompanied by Presley’s deep voice, still accurately sum up the feelings of lovers.

The Carpenters made “(They Long to Be) Close to You” a hit. Photo courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administrations.

Next, the ballad of the 1970s that melted many hearts—“(They Long to Be) Close to You” by the Carpenters. The Carpenters’ version was actually a cover of the Burt Bacharach and Hal David original, which had not received much love in the previous decade. Yet in the Carpenters’ hands, the song become the duo’s first certified gold single. Its innocent and graceful vocals, composition and lyrics ought to leave a mark on your heart.

Céline Dion’s unique voice makes “My Heart Will Go On” a powerful song. Photo courtesy of RepliCarter.

One cannot discuss love songs without thinking of “My Heart Will Go On.” Maybe it is not one of your favorite songs, but “My Heart Will Go On” and the movie Titanic are undeniably a perfect pair. “The way Céline Dion sings it, her voice is so powerful. All the feelings put together make it feel passionate and moving,” social studies teacher and Céline Dion fan Noah Grosfeld-Katz explained. The “Titanic” theme song debuted at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1997 and claimed an Academy Award for Best Original Song. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Dion revived its heart-wrenching feelings for us at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards.

Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” is a tender, heartfelt song. Photo courtesy of Steve Jurvetson.

In 2008, pop artist Jason Mraz’s single “I’m Yours” remained on the Billboard Hot 100 for a record-setting 76 weeks. It received two Grammy nominations and was a #1 song in European countries. In a 2009 interview with Billboard, Mraz explained that the song itself is about “finally giving into love and life’s possibilities.” The cheerful lyrics and upbeat rhythm make for a spirited, hopeful song about the selflessness of love. “If someone were to sing me a song, I would want them to sing ‘I’m Yours,’” senior Alythia Vo said.

“All of Me” by John Legend has quickly become a classic love song. Photo courtesy of PopTech.

The final number of this list can only be John Legend’s legendary R&B single “All of Me.” Released in 2013, the piano ballad is an ode to crazy love and unfaltering dedication. “It describes all these curves and edges, and if I was a man, I would love to have some curves and edges from a woman,” freshman Gabby Lara said.  After Legend performed it at the Grammys in January 2014, the song exploded in popularity, becoming the first R&B ballad to top the Billboard Hot 100 in 18 years. Even today, “All of Me” is a beloved love song for people all over the world—its music video has over 1.2 billion views on YouTube.

These five songs have marked their places in romantic history, each offering a different interpretation of love. Whether they are familiar tunes or something new, we hope that when you hear them, a smile finds its way across your face as they add a little more love to your day.

Featured graphic by Vivian Yeh. This article was originally published as “The best love songs” with an incorrect byline in the February 2018 issue of  The Tide.