(My) List of the 40 Most Sensuous Love Songs of All Time
From time to to time most music listeners have bought a collection album. I have bought a few of these myself, in a variety of genres. These are typically labeled with titles such as "The Best", "Most Loved", "The Greatest" and the like.Unfortunately, I have yet to find a good collection of sensuous love songs. The collections of romance or love songs I've come across are padded with a lot of fluff and bubblegum, and while such songs may technically be called love songs, they fall seriously short in the sensuousness department.
So I have compiled my own list here of those songs I feel deserve to be in such a collection. And who knows? Maybe someday Time-Life Music or some other great guardian of the musical archives will put these on a real album or CD to offer to the public. We can always hope, can't we?
*Note- the following titles are all songs with lyrics, as opposed to instrumentals. I have also omitted any purely Classical numbers. As there are a number of evocatively romantic instrumental and Classical numbers around, I hope to present similar (and separate) lists for these sometime in the future.
40. Strawberry Wine
– Deana Carter
This sentimental number recalls the throes of first love with a light but haunting melody that stays with you long after the song is through.
39. You Are So Beautiful
- Ray Charles
Whenever I hear this song it reminds me of the grace of love's vision, with its power to wipe away our delusions of what is attractive and open our eyes to deep and iinner beauty. An eloquent declaration here, recorded by a multitude of artists, but I feel Ray Charles did it best.
38. I’m On Fire
– Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen is not a name I generally associate with romantic music, but his I'm On Fire is an exception. This song is a real scorcher, almost mesmerizing with its low-key melody and lusty message.
37. The Last Farewell
– Roger Whittaker
This lyrics of this beautiful ballad may be of a patriotic nature, yet it charms listeners by its underlying romantic connotations. In fact, these lyrics are much like dialog one might find from the hero of a great Romance novel. Add to these charming lyrics the rapturous tune, and we have one uniquely beautiful song!
36. Time In A Bottle
– Jim Croce
This song speaks of how we can easily let inconsequential things in life distract us from spending time with those that mean the most to us. The truism of the message combines with one of the most enchanting melodies ever composed. For these reasons, Time In A Bottle also deserves a placement on practically any list of Greatest Pieces of Music Ever Written.
35. Speak Softly Love (theme from The Godfather)
– Sergio Franchi
This song is most commonly performed as an instrumental. But while the tune is rich and classical in quality, the lyrics impart the most sensuous facet..And Franchi's rendition is by far my favorite.
34. Lay Lady Lay
– Bob Dylan
Like Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan is not a performer I normally associate with romance. In fact, I'm not a fan of most of Dylan's music, and Lay Lady Lay is one of the few exceptions. The song's tender lyrics are almost an exercise in pillow talk, and Dylan performs it (at least in the original recordings) with uncharacteristic substance.
33. I Want To Know What Love Is
Arena rock band Foreigner addressed the yearning for mature and lasting love with this hit. And the heavily romantic overtures make for a perfect intimacy song as well.
– Derek & The Dominos (Eric Clapton)
Along with Lynyrd Skynyrd's Free Bird and Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven, this song stands arguably as one of the three greatest rock anthems of all time. First recorded by Eric Clapton's early band, Derek & the Dominos, this earnest message of consuming desire also holds its own as a classic among rock-and-roll love songs. And despite the wimpy acoustic version Clapton later recorded, the original release remains rapturously epic!
– The Beatles
Some music lovers argue that this George Harrison composition was written for the same woman that inspired Clapton's Layla (Harrison's first wife, Patty Boyd - who later took up with Clapton). Whether or not, Something is a nearly perfect song. Rich in composition and lyrically endearing, it is one of those evocative songs that is -perhaps ironically- as popular as a wedding song as it is for the boudoir.
30. L'amour est bleu (Love Is Blue) – Andy Williams
Composed by André Popp; lyrics by Pierre Cour. This song, known only by some modern listeners in its lushly melodic instrumental version, was written with lyrics - and what words of pining love they are! Although the song has been recorded by many artists, Andy Williams gets my vote up for best rendition.
29. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
- The Platters
The pang of love lost has never been expressed with such beguiling smoothness as this hit from The Platters. So alluring, you easily forget it is a song about betrayal.
28. You Shook Me All Night Long
From one of my very favorite bands, You Shook Me All Night Long fondly recalls a night of pure carnal pleasure with a fittingly sexy tempo. A great number to rock out on; an even better one for kindling the flames of passion to a searing level.
27. Return To Me
– Dean Martin
We don't have enough songs that are both a heartfelt apology and a testament to devotion. This song captures both sentiments, and Dean Martin's suave crooner's voice makes it pure ecstasy!
26. I Am The Forest
– Willie Nelson
With this song from the album, Tougher Than Leather, Willie Nelson song blows me away with not just the enchanting melody, but lyrics that champions the belief in true love surviving through many life times. For the romantic at heart, a true winner here.
25. I Will Find You
This Clannad hit was used in the movie, "The Last of the Mohicans", and rightfully so as the theme is one of love that survives even the greatest of challenges. The orchestration in this one is magic to the ears, and the earnest vocals equally spellbinding!
24. No One Like You
– The Scorpions
The lushly sensuous lyrics and great tune make this rock hit one of the hottest love songs ever. The perfect track for an intimate moment - especially if that moment has been simmering good and long!
– Bon Jovi
This Bon Jovi hit with a captivating melody gives a nod to those classic views of everlasting love. Enthralling song!
22. Annie’s Song
– John Denver
With this love song, John Denver compares his feelings for his beloved with nature's gifts and beauties. It is one of the prettiest songs I know of; it evokes a tapestry of pastoral images, and the clear depth of Denver's sincerity is rare gold.
21. Annabel Lee
– Stevie Nicks
Stevie Nicks adapted Edgar Allen Poe's "Annabel Lee" for inclusion on her 2011 album, In Your Dreams. With its lightly gothic flavor and Nicks' sultry voice, the result is an intoxicating treat for the senses.
20. All My Love
– Led Zeppelin
This Led Zeppelin track is a lyrical statement of devotion, with a solid composition that gives one of the most attractive sounds the band ever produced.
19. Crazy On You
With Crazy On You, singers/songwriters Ann and Nancy Wilson shared a lover's plea to the object of their desire. Stylized by the Wilsons' unique rock flavor, the song showcases their temptress skills and their almost decadent feminine energy.
Willy DeVille - Storybook Love
18. Storybook Love (theme from The Princess Bride)
– Willy DeVille
Fans of the movie, "The Princess Bride" know this as the love song at the end of the film. Composed and sang by the late guitar virtuoso, Willy DeVille, it was performed and also recorded separately from the film soundtrack; and is just as powerful with or without a full orchestra accompaniment. The song lyrics are beautiful, almost haunting; with a pounding rhythm that builds slowly to a rapturous consummation - much like making love, for which this song is ideally suited.
17. Sadeness (Part I)
This hit by the German New-Age band, Enigma showcases the band's adept skill at combining modern music with antiquated overtures. The composition mingles Gregorian chants with a Middle-Eastern flavor, and the lyrics are expressed in both Latin and French. These lyrics go where few songs have dared - to question the infamous Marquis deSade about his sexual appetite. This consciously taboo message and the exotic music are pure enchantment!
16. I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
– The Beatles
With this love song, the Beatles delved into the genre of heavy metal, and they did so with mesmerizing style. With its wickedly lethargic beat and succinct lyrics, the tune washes away the listener's inhibitions and thrills the senses.
This much loved Journey ballad speaks of the marital problems faced by a musician separated from his woman as he travels the road. There is an undeniable sadness to this song, but that heartfelt pang only makes it more appreciable. And with the lovely melody and honest lyrics, it endears itself utterly to the listener.
14. The Highwayman
– Loreena Mckennitt
This song originally appeared on Mckennitt's album, The Book of Secrets, and as the album itself, soon became a world-wide favorite. The Highwayman was adapted from the Alfred Noyes' ballad of the same title and tells the story of a highway robber who avenges the death of the woman he loves. It is a breathtaking composition, and Mckennitt's dulcet voice brings the appropriate blend of pathos and sexuality to make it as epic as any great love story.
13. Because The Night
– Patti Smith
Smith co-wrote this hard-rocking love song with Bruce Springsteen. But when Springsteen met problems getting it recorded, Smith and her band took it up and the result was a stunning hit. It recounts a confession of desire. Smith begins the song on a low-key sultry note, one quickly swept up into a ravishing cadence. A passionate song, unabashed in its devil-may-care honesty.
12. Ain’t No Sunshine
– Bill Withers
As much as music historians may claim that Ain't No Sunshine is not really a love song, Bill Withers sure sang it like a love song. The rather sad lyrics aside, the sound is quintessential Withers -powerful, melodious and oh, so honest. And in this unforgettable track Withers' personal take on the throes of unyielding love exudes through every intense word of the song.
11. Wonderful Tonight
– Eric Clapton
In Wonderful Tonight, Clapton recounts a night out with the woman he loves. The lyrics betray the humility in acknowledging our flaws and the joy of finding that person who cares for us despite the imperfections. It captivates the listener, in the most gently erotic ways.
10. Rainbow Eyes
This song, from the legendary band Rainbow, is very simply one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. It relates a man's encounter with a woman of unearthly charms and of how he awakens to find her gone. It has an alluring medieval sound, and Ronnie James Dio's voice has never been more ethereal. Rainbow Eyes transports the listener to another time and place, but indeed a very romantic time and place.
9. Black Dog
– Led Zeppelin
This popular Led Zep song is a complex, hard-driving scorcher that focuses on a man's fantasies about a woman that has caught his eye. The lyrics conjure up the most delicious of images, and the get-in-your-head tune stays with you a long time.
8. Bed of Roses
– Bon Jovi
This hit song expresses the most romantic of sentiments. The sound is solid rock, with some attractive riffs thrown in. And Jon Bon Jovi's voice is tremulous honey. Mmm!
7. Stairway To Heaven
– Led Zeppelin
Yes, this is the masterful rock anthem that pays tribute to Tolkien, nature and all things delightfully pagan. If you've never made out while listening to it, boy do I feel sorry for you. So play this song next time you want to get your lover in the mood and see what happens. Heck, play the entire "Zoso" album and make a good long event of it!
6. Wicked Game
– Chris Isaak
Few songs addresses the risks of falling in love like this Chris Isaak hit. It is a song about recognizing temptation and realizing how easily we can be obsessed with someone that perhaps isn't good for us.Yet it is a wickedly wonderful tune, and Isaak's husky, desire-laden voice makes it a romantic triumph.
– Jefferson Starship
This sensuous Jefferson Starship number redefined the boundaries of the love song. The lyrics are lavish and border on the pornographic, while the melody is complex and winds into a ravishing climax. Yep, one song so sexy you may just need a cigarette once the track has played.
– Loreena Mckennitt
With her daring interpretation, Loreena Mckennitt breathed new life into this antiquated ballad. The Renaissance tone is still there, but Mckennit's sultry voice infused the lyrics with true eroticism. An ardent rendition that thrills to the core.
3. Unchained Melody
– the Righteous Brothers
Many artists have recorded this exhilarating love song, but the Righetous Brothers' rendition is perhaps the best loved. It pulls the listener beneath waves of passion and leaves them breathless for more.
2. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
– Roberta Flack
This song about making love with someone for the first time is simply mesmerizing. With a minimal of string and piano accompaniment, Flack's voice carries the slow and sensuous performance. It is a song of the rarest beauty, one that manages to sharpen the desires and linger into your dreams.
1. Nights In White Satin
– The Moody Blues
This song first appeared on the Moody Blues album, Days of Future Passed, but went on to know several single releases, too. Some of these were with the full orchestration track found on the album, while others featured more simple accompaniment. But all releases proved very popular, and for good reason: it is simply an extraordinarily evocative song. While many theories have arose about the exact meaning of the lyrics, listeners really don't care. They are beautiful, and it is enough that they remind us of how love can make us feel vulnerable, afraid and happy slaves to our passion all in the same moment.
(My) List of 40 Most Sensuous Love Songs of All Time ©March 24, 2014 by Beth Perry