Ray has been an online music writer for over four years. Having sung in multiple competitions as a youth, he has a passion for the art.
R&B love songs are among the most heart-wrenching genres. These love songs make listeners feel uniquely intimate and relatable. Usually, the songs embody tender lyrics, polished vocals, and a touching message. Despite too many selections to include, we tried to have some that surely deserves a place on your playlist.
1. Boyz II Men – “On Bended Knee”
Year Released: 1994
Facts About “On Bended Knee”
- “On Bended Knee” is one of the best R&B love songs by Boyz II Men.
- Jimmy Jam, an American R&B songwriter and producer, wrote and co-produced the song.
- As one of the most popular 90s R&B love songs, the track topped the Billboard Hot 100, replacing the group’s song “I’ll Make Love to You.”
- On December 3, 1994, the song reached #1 on the Hot 100 Airplay and #2 on the Hot Singles Sales.
- According to the lyrics, the guy apologizes for his wrongdoing and begs his ex-lover to return to him.
2. Beyonce – “Halo”
Album: I Am Sasha Fierce
Year Released: 2009
Facts About “Halo”
- The lyrics of “Halo” describe a sublime love in a pop and R&B power ballad. It is one of the most popular R&B love songs for him.
- The 52nd Annual Grammy Awards presented Halo as the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
- The song won the Best Song award at the 2009 MTV Europe Music Awards.
- In Halo, a girl forms walls around herself after being hurt so much that she can’t stand any longer.
3. Whitney Houston – “I Will Always Love You”
Year Released: 1974
Facts About “I Will Always Love You”
- American singer-songwriter Dolly Parton originally wrote and recorded “I Will Always Love You” in 1973.
- In 1992, Whitney Houston recorded her song’s version for the movie “The Bodyguard.”
- The song is the most successful single by a woman in music history.
- The song has earned a spot among the top R&B love songs for him of all time, spending a record-breaking 14 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.
4. K-Ci and Jojo – “All My Life”
Album: Love Always
Year Released: 1998
Facts About “All My Life”
- The song “All My Life” is by American R&B duo K-Ci & JoJo.
- The song hit the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 for three straight weeks and was a commercial success.
- “All My Life” is a heartfelt tribute to JoJo’s 7-year-old daughter Kayla but can easily be used for any R&B love song.
- “All My Life” is one of the best R&B and soul songs. Music critics say this is the duo’s most successful song.
5. Boyz II Men – “I’ll Make Love to You”
Year Released: 1994
Facts About “I’ll Make Love to You”
- “I’ll Make Love to You” is one of the hit R&B songs by Boyz II Men for the Motown label.
- The song won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. It also received a nomination for the Record of the Year prize.
- It is one of the best R&B love songs from a woman to a man, which goes straight to a woman’s heart.
6. Alicia Keys – “If I Ain’t Got You”
Album: The Diary of Alicia Keys
Year Released: 2004
Facts About “If I Ain’t Got You”
- American singer-songwriter Alicia Keys recorded “If I Ain’t Got You” for her second studio album, The Diary of Alicia Keys (2003).
- Throughout the song, the singer talks about material things not feeding the soul. It means you don’t care about material possessions as long as you love one person.
- Keys’ second consecutive number-one R&B single, “If I Ain’t Got You,” hit number four on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100
- For six consecutive weeks, it was one of the best 2000 R&B love songs atop the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
7. John Legend – “All of Me”
Album: Love in the Future
Year Released: 2013
Facts About “All of Me”
- American singer John Legend wrote and recorded “All of Me” for his fourth studio album, Love in the Future (2013).
- The song reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Legend’s first U.S. #1 single.
- Legend’s song “All of Me” is a sensitive piano ballad inspired by his then-fiancée, now wife, model Chrissy Teigen.
- Music critics believe that this is one of the top R&B love songs ever written.
- The song admits that every relationship has issues, but you can overcome them as long as you accept each other and give your all.
8. Brian McKnight – “Back at One”
Album: Back at One
Year Released: 1999
Facts About “Back at One”
- “Back at One” is an R&B love song written and performed by American recording artist Brian McKnight, taken from his fifth studio album.
- McKnight’s biggest hit, “Back at One” reached the top ten in New Zealand, Canada, and the United States.
- This song is about falling in love and knowing you must do everything to keep her.
9. Stevie Wonder – “Ribbon in the Sky”
Album: Original Musiquarium I
Year Released: 1982
Facts About “Ribbon in the Sky”
- “Ribbon in the Sky” is one of the most popular classic R&B love songs by American singer Stevie Wonder.
- Stevie Wonder released the song on his 1982 greatest hits collection, Original Musiquarium I.
- “Ribbon in the Sky” appeared in Essence magazine’s list of the “25 Best Slow Jams of All Time” in 2009.
- Upon hearing the 80s song, readers can imagine a couple becoming certain of their unbreakable bond as they witness a rainbow during a challenging trial.
10. SWV – “Weak”
Album: It’s About Time
Year Released: 1993
Facts About “Weak”
- SWV recorded “Weak” as part of their debut studio album; It’s About Time (1992).
- This song’s theme is that love can have different effects on everyone and their actions. It can be physical, mental, and emotional.
- In July 1993, it topped Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks, ending Janet Jackson’s two-month run at No. 1.
- The single “Weak” reached the #1 position on the Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for two weeks.
11. Alicia Keys – “No One”
Album: As I Am
Year Released: 2007
Facts About “No One”
- Alicia Keys’ song “No One” is from her third studio album, As I Am (2006).
- “No One” takes the perspective that no matter what happens, your love will always be there for you.
- The song was the third-biggest single of 2008 in Brazil and the U.S. It also picked up the most airplay on U.S. radio stations.
- At the 50th Grammy Awards in 2008, the song won the Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and the Best R&B Song.
- The music website Popjustice says the song is one of the Keys’ best R&B love songs of all time.
12. Beyonce – “Crazy in Love”
Album: Dangerously In Love
Year Released: 2003
Facts About “Crazy in Love”
- “Crazy in Love” combines hip hop, soul, and 70s funk elements to craft a beautiful contemporary R&B love song.
- The lyrics of the song describe the protagonist acting out of character due to a romantic obsession.
- The song reached the top ten in various countries around the world. It was a #1 hit in the United States and the United Kingdom.
- Rolling Stone listed “Crazy in Love” at #16 among the 500 greatest songs of all time.
- One of the most prominent voices of the 21st century proclaimed the song to be the greatest of this century.
- A study by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) ranked Crazy in Love as one of the top R&B love songs of 2004.
13. Alicia Keys and Usher – “My Boo”
Year Released: 2004
Facts About “My Boo”
- Usher and Alicia Keys perform “My Boo” as a duet.
- With the single’s six-week stay at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, it becomes the duo’s third most successful single from the album.
- Hip hop-like R&B love songs like “My Boo” are excellent for romance. They have a mid-tempo rhythm.
- The song depicts the story of an ex-couple. They talk about their past love and how their feelings persist despite the two no longer being together.
- The song ranked 36th in the United States during the 2000-2009 decade, making it one of the best-selling 2000 R&B love songs.
14. Sade – “No Ordinary Love”
Album: Love Deluxe
Year Released: 1992
Facts About “No Ordinary Love”
- English band Sade released their fourth studio album, Love Deluxe (1992), with “No Ordinary Love.”
- The song ranked 43rd in the “The Best 90s R&B Love Songs” list published by Complex in 2012.
- According to the singer, she was lamenting a broken relationship. She loved her partner greatly yet ended up hurt by him.
15. Etta James – “At Last”
Album: At Last!
Year Released: 1960
Facts About “At Last”
- James’ version appeared on her debut album At Last! (1960) and admitted into the 1999 Grammy Hall of Fame.
- The song was the third from Etta James’s debut Argo Records album and became one of her signature tracks.
- The song talks about having the one you love and how everything seems better when he’s around.
- “At Last” is one of the best old-school R&B love songs of all time.
16. Percy Sledge – “When a Man Loves a Woman”
Album: When a Man Loves a Woman
Year Released: 1966
Facts About “When a Man Loves a Woman”
- “When a Man Loves a Woman” is one of the oldest and best R&B love songs of all time.
- A song was written by Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright, “When a Man Loves a Woman,” which reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B singles charts.
- There are some things a man can do when in love with a woman that is unthinkable or somewhat crazy, and the lyrics to “When a Man Loves a Woman” demonstrate that.
17. Heatwave – “Always and Forever”
Album: Too Hot to Handle
Year Released: 1977
Facts About “Always and Forever”
- Rod Temperton wrote the R&B song “Always and Forever,” which was produced by Barry Blue.
- The song peaked at #2 on the U.S. Billboard R&B chart, making it one of the best R&B love songs of the 70s.
- Love is at the heart of the song as it speaks about valuing time together with someone you love.
18. Anita Baker – “Caught Up In the Rapture”
Year Released: 1986
Facts About “Caught Up in the Rapture”
- Singer Anita Baker recorded the song “Caught Up in the Rapture” in 1986.
- The song was Baker’s third top ten R&B single, putting him at #6 on the Billboard Hot Black Singles chart.
- The song talks about what true love is like for a woman.
- As one of the best R&B love songs, the song reached #6 on the U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
19. Atlantic Starr – “Always”
Album: All in the Name of Love
Year Released: 1987
Facts About “Always”
- In 1987, the American R&B group Atlantic Starr released “Always” as their second single from their seventh studio album All in the Name of Love.
- In June 1987, the single peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot R&B Songs and U.S. Billboard Hot 100 charts.
- The song is about a dream boy and how the singer wants to spend his life with him.
- In 2008, Filipina singer-actress Iya Villania covered the song on her album Finally! with rapper Jay-R.
20. Temptations – “My Girl”
Album: The Temptations Sing Smokey
Year Released: 1964
Facts About “My Girl”
- The song is one of the greatest R&B love songs of all time.
- It was the Temptations’ first U.S. #1 single, and it remains their most famous song.
- From a female perspective, the music carried the sentiment of unconditional love.
21. Mariah Carey – “Vision of Love”
Album: Mariah Carey
Year Released: 1990
Facts About “Vision of Love”
- The song is Mariah Carey’s debut single, one of the best R&B love songs ever.
- This track features a slow-dance theme tempo and Carey’s backing vocals. She also introduces the whistle register in this track.
- The song is about searching for someone who can fulfill your life only to find that person to be you.
- Lyrically, the song depicts a connection between a lover’s past and present.
22. Stevie Wonder – “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours”
Album: Signed, Sealed & Delivered
Year Released: 1970
Facts About “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours”
- “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” is a soul song by Stevie Wonder, a legendary American musician.
- In the song, the singer returns to his love and puts himself at her mercy.
- The song earned Wonder his sixth Grammy nomination, which is one of the reasons it deserves on top of the R&B love songs list.
23. Miguel – “Adorn”
Album: Kaleidoscope Dream
Year Released: 2012
Facts About “Adorn”
- Miguel’s song “Adorn” is the lead single from his 2012 studio album Kaleidoscope Dream.
- In “Adorn,” Miguel unveils his intention to love, cover, and protect his woman.
- To date, Miguel’s most successful single peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
- The song earned Miguel three Grammy nominations, for which Miguel won the Best R&B Song category.
24. Frank Ocean – “Thinkin Bout You”
Album: Channel Orange
Year Released: 2012
Facts About “Thinkin Bout You”
- The song is the lead single from Frank Ocean’s debut L.P., Channel Orange.
- Ocean’s music lyrically explores the turmoil of a relationship out of his reach and the regret he feels due to it.
- Some critics have noted the possible bisexual undertones of the song.
- A Grammy nomination for Record of the Year in 2013 helped the song make it to the best R&B love songs list.
25. D’Angelo – “Untitled (How Does It Feel?)”
Year Released: 2000
Facts About “Untitled (How Does It Feel?)”
- D’Angelo’s “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” is a song he wrote and recorded.
- D’Angelo uses the music to ask for his lover’s attention while at the same time expressing his sensual desire for her.
- At the 43rd Grammy Awards in 2001, the song won a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.
26. Al Green – “Let’s Stay Together”
Album: Let’s Stay Together
Year Released: 1971
Facts About “Let’s Stay Together”
- The song is from Al Green’s 1972 album of the same name.
- It was a Top 10 hit for nine weeks on Billboard’s R&B chart, making it one of the greatest R&B love songs of all time.
- In 1972, the song ranked #1 on the R&B Billboard Year-End charts.
- Love is the theme of the music and how it endures regardless of good or bad circumstances.
27. Whitney Houston – “My Love Is Your Love”
Album: Whitney Houston
Year Released: 1999
Facts About “My Love Is Your Love”
- The track was a huge hit worldwide, becoming another Houston classic. It topped the charts in both Europe and New Zealand, peaking at #1.
- It’s a song about a couple who’ll always be there for each other no matter what happens.
- The song hit #4 on the Hot 100 in the U.S., #2 in the U.K. and #1 in New Zealand.
28. Eternal – “Angel of Mine”
Album: Greatest Hits
Year Released: 1997
Facts About “Angel of Mine”
- The song “Angel of Mine” is from the first compilation album of British R&B girl group Eternal, Greatest Hits.
- Monica’s version of the song topped the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in the U.S.
- According to Monica herself, the song is about having a friend she falls in love with, which is not difficult for humans.
29. Shai – “If I Ever Fall in Love”
Album: If I Ever Fall in Love
Facts About “If I Ever Fall in Love”
- “If I Ever Fall in Love” is one of the greatest R&B love songs of all time that holds the record for the second-most weeks at #2 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
- “If I Ever Fall in Love” is the title track of American R&B-soul quartet Shai’s third album.
- The song tells a story of a man who met and fell for a woman who later left him because he didn’t cherish her like he ought to.
30. Jodeci – Forever My Lady”
Album: Forever My Lady
Year Released: 1991
Facts About “Forever My Lady”
- The song “Forever My Lady” is by the American R&B group Jodeci from their debut album of the same name.
- The group’s first number-one R&B hit, “Forever My Lady,” lasted two weeks on the US R&B chart.
- The song reached #25 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it one of the top R&B love songs of all time.
Even More R&B Love Songs
|R&B Love Songs Title||Artist(s)|
31. “Spend My Life with You”
Eric Benét and Tamia
32. “Find Someone Like You”
33. “Here and Now”
34. “Let’s Get It On”
35. “My, My, My”
36. “Be Without You”
Mary J. Blige
Tony! Toni! Toné!
38. “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”
39. “Midnight Train to Georgia”
Gladys Knight & The Pips
40. “Why I Love You”
41. “Boo’d Up”
42. “Make It Last Forever”
43. “Love and Happiness”
44. “Let’s Chill”
45. “Kiss of Life”
46. “Wonderful World”
47. “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man”
48. “The Way You Make Me Feel”
50. “Let Love Rule”
51. “Real Love”
Mary J. Blige
53. “Red Light Special”
55. Are You That Somebody?”
57. “We Belong Together”
Earth, Wind & Fire
60. “Is It A Crime?”
61. “Sexy Love”
62. “Always Be My Baby”
63. “Be With You”
Mary J. Blige
64. “Can We Talk”
65. “Earth Angel”
66. “For You I Will”
67. “Happily Ever After”
69. “Heartbreak Hotel”
70. “I Care ‘Bout You”
71. “I Wanna Know”
72. “I Don’t Want To”
73. “Killing Me Softly with His Song”
74. “Nice and Slow”
75. “Nothing Even Matters”
76. “Never Let You Go”
78. “Saving All My Love for You”
79. “Soul Sista”
80. “Seems Like You’re Ready”
81. “Spending My Life With You”
Eric Benet and Tamia
82. “Tell Me”
83. “The One I Gave My Heart Too”
85. “I Never Loved a Man”
86. “Slow Jamz”
Twista ft. Kanye West & Jamie Foxx
87. “One In A Million”
88. “Can You Stand The Rain”
89. “Thank God I Found You”
Mariah Carey ft. Joe & 98 Degrees
90. “I Need A Girl Part 2”
P. Diddy ft. Loon, Ginuwine & Mario Winans
91. “All I Have”
Jennifer Lopez ft. LL Cool J
92. “My Spanish Guitar”
93. “Nite and Day”
Al. B Sure
94. “End Of The Road”
Boyz II Men
95. “Endless Love”
Luther Vandross & Mariah Carey
96. “I Just Called To Say I Love You”
97. “Every Little Thing I Do”
Soul For Real
98. “Last Night”
99. “All The Things (Your Man Won’t Do)”
100. “I Wanna Be Down”
102. “If I Could Turn Back The Hands Of Time”
103. “Into You”
Tamia and Fabolous
104. “Just In Case”
106. “Let Me Love You”
107. “Dilemma ft. Kelly Rowland”
108. “Remember The Time”
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© 2021 Ray