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(My) List of the 40 Most Sensuous Love Songs of All Time

Beth is a professional author and columnist from Tennessee. She loves writing about music.


Songs About Passion

From time to time, most music listeners have bought a collection album. I have purchased 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 so forth. 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.

From the music video for "Strawberry Wine" by Deana Carter

From the music video for "Strawberry Wine" by Deana Carter

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 inner beauty. An eloquent declaration here, recorded by many 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 an absolute scorcher, almost mesmerizing with its low-key melody and lusty message.

37. "The Last Farewell" —Roger Whittaker

The 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!

The late composer-singer, Jim Croce

The late composer-singer, Jim Croce

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 who mean the most. 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.



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33. "I Want To Know What Love Is" —Foreigner

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.

32. "Layla" —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!

31. "Something" —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.

Andy Williams

Andy Williams

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" —AC/DC

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. This is a great number to rock out on, an even better one for kindling the flames of passion to a searing level.

Dean Martin

Dean Martin

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's song blows me away with not just the enchanting melody, but lyrics that champion the belief in true love surviving through many lifetimes. For the romantic at heart, a true winner here.

25. "I Will Find You" —Clannad

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

Bon Jovi

23. "Always" —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

John Denver compares his feelings for his beloved with nature's gifts and beauties with this love song. 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.

Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart

Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart

19. "Crazy On You" —Heart

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.

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 film's end. 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)" —Enigma

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.

15. "Faithfully" —Journey

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.

Loreena McKennitt's album, The Book of Secrets

Loreena McKennitt's album, The Book of Secrets

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 worldwide favorite. The Highwayman was adapted from 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 our imperfections. It captivates the listener in the most gently erotic ways.

10. "Rainbow Eyes" —Rainbow

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 for 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!

The "Zoso" album, aka Led Zeppelin IV

The "Zoso" album, aka Led Zeppelin IV

7. "Stairway To Heaven" —Led Zeppelin

Yes, this masterful rock anthem 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.

5. "Miracles" —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.

4. "Greensleeves" —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 Righteous 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 string and piano accompaniment, Flack's voice carries the slow and sensual 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, and is known for several single releases. Some of these were with the whole orchestration track found on the album, while others featured more simple accompaniment. But all releases proved very popular, and it is simply an extraordinarily evocative song for a good reason. While many theories have arisen 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


Schneemadchen on November 22, 2018:

Thanks for the list! I also could add:

Darren Hayes - Insatiable

Massive Attack - Angel, Dissolved Girl

from the recent ones that are on my playlist

Beth Perry (author) from Tennesee on June 25, 2015:

fpherj48, thank you much and glad it brought back good memories!

Suzie from Carson City on June 22, 2015:

WOW!! Yes, Beth....awesome list. The twinges of memories were all around as I read this great hub.....Excellent taste in music!..Thanks for this. UP+++

Beth Perry (author) from Tennesee on May 31, 2014:

Joe, thanks for reading and comments :)

Joe from north miami FL on May 31, 2014:

Great picks here. I'd add a little R&B into the mix but still really great songs here. Jodeci Freakin you might be a nice choice for the list though.

Beth Perry (author) from Tennesee on April 15, 2014:

WiccanSage, cool :)

Mackenzie Sage Wright on April 15, 2014:

Some great songs here, others I will have to look up.

Beth Perry (author) from Tennesee on March 25, 2014:

Jodah, I am happy you like the list. Annie's Song has been a personal favorite since I was a teenager, and I always felt a little alone in liking it until I married my husband. On our wedding night he put on a John Denver Greatest Hits album, just for that particular song. I didn't even know he had heard of it. So it became even more special to me that night :)

Beth Perry (author) from Tennesee on March 25, 2014:

CrisSp, be my guest. I checked out your Jukebox Page - very nice!

Beth Perry (author) from Tennesee on March 25, 2014:

Hey Randy. No, I understand. I love banana nut muffins, but if I had to bake them every day I think the same would happen!

Thanks much for dropping in and reading!

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on March 25, 2014:

Great list Beth. There are a lot more that could have been listed but you couldn't include them all. Glad you found a place for "Annie's Song" by John Denver. Beautiful.

CrisSp from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on March 24, 2014:

This is great! I could definitely use some of these songs on my JukeBox Page and I hope you don't mind.

Thank you for sharing. I love it!

Randy Godwin from Southern Georgia on March 24, 2014:

Love all of the songs on your list but one, Beth. During my years playing R&R and R&B I played 'Wonderful Tonight' so many times I eventually began to hate it. I don't know what it was, but some songs have that effect on me more than others. Do ya think it's just me? :P

Beth Perry (author) from Tennesee on March 24, 2014:

Oh Alastar...I must admit you have me curious. But indeed, some things are nobody's business but our own!

Thanks much for dropping by to read :)

Alastar Packer from North Carolina on March 24, 2014:

My gosh but do you have an awesome list of love songs here. Ah, the memories - especially number 33, the reason for it being special shall remain unsaid, however! Some things in life one has to keep close to the vest you know:) lol.

Beth Perry (author) from Tennesee on March 24, 2014:

Hi raymondphillippe. I like Marvin's music very much, but none of his songs really put me "in the mood" like the others. But gosh, what a set of vocal chords that man had! Thanks for dropping by to read and leaving a comment :)

Beth Perry (author) from Tennesee on March 24, 2014:

akhildev143, thanks for the comment. And you are welcome :)

Beth Perry (author) from Tennesee on March 24, 2014:

WillStarr, yeah..I love it but I get so weepy listening to that one. It is hard to feel sensuous when you're boo-hooing, lol. I also go to tears listening to most Red Sovine songs.

Beth Perry (author) from Tennesee on March 24, 2014:

Hackslap, I like your taste in bands. And thanks for the mentions on the songs; even if they didn't make my list :)

Raymond Philippe from The Netherlands on March 24, 2014:

Oops. You forgot several Marvin Gaye songs ;-). Nice list of songs btw.

Akhil Dev from India on March 24, 2014:

wonderful list.. truly.. I only knew stairway and bed of roses from the top 10 but others are amazing too... thank you for suggesting some good music to listen to..

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on March 24, 2014:

And it's actually not all that sensuous either. I stand corrected.

Harry from Sydney, Australia on March 24, 2014:

Its an amazing list - I'm a huge fan of AC/DC, Enigma, Foreigner and of course Bon Jovi! .. if I had to make a suggestion though ..what about the Peabo Bryson/Roberta Flack song.."Tonight, I Celebrate my Love, For You" ..and Patti LaBelle's "If you Asked me To"

Beth Perry (author) from Tennesee on March 24, 2014:

Hey Will. That is actually one of my favorite songs of all time (though I prefer Dolly Parton's original). But it didn't make my list for one reason: it sometimes leaves me sad :( But indeed, a fantastic song.

Thanks for dropping in!

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on March 24, 2014:

Great list but I'd like to squeeze in one more:

"I Will Always Love You" - Whitney Houston

(Or did I miss it?)

Beth Perry (author) from Tennesee on March 24, 2014:

Thank you Christin! It is nice to know others that have eclectic tastes in music :)

Christin Sander from Midwest on March 24, 2014:

Awesome list! You have the whole range of styles and a lot of my favorites listed. Enigma has a lot of lusty songs that are totally mesmerizing. I absolutely adore Lay Lady Lay - one of Dylan's best songs. Springsteen's I'm on Fire - definitely hot and soulful. Wow -great list all around I could go on and on :)

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