The 1960s produced some of the most iconic and long-lasting tracks of all time. Many of them even still find radio play or get used in other media forms today. But the decade was also a high point for love songs, with some of the most enduring anthems of love being released during this time period. In this article, we’ll go over the 41 best love songs that came out in the 1960s.
1. Can’t Help Falling In Love – Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling In Love has been ranked by some as one of the greatest tracks of all time, let alone calling it one of the best love songs of all time. It was actually based on a French love song composed in 1784 titled Plaisir D’Amour. When it was released in 1961, it was a featured track in his film Blue Hawaii. In the years since he recorded it, several notable artists have taken their own turn with it, including the likes of the A-Teens and UB40.
2. Crazy – Patsy Cline
Today, Patsy Cline is probably best known for this song, but she wasn’t the first one to use it. Crazy was written by Willie Nelson while he was living in Houston, but after he moved to Nashville, the track found its way to her. Her version made it to number two on the country chart and also crossed over to reach the top 10 of the pop chart in 1961. Eventually, it became a country standard and the most-played song of all time on jukeboxes around the US.
3. This Magic Moment – The Drifters
The Drifters were the first to record and release This Magic Moment in 1960. Their version spent 11 weeks on the Billboard pop chart and rose as high as number 16. In 1968, the song gained new life when Jay And The Americans recorded it, producing the most commercially successful version that reached number six on the pop chart and spent 16 weeks on the chart in total.
4. At Last – Etta James
At Last was the title track of Etta James’ debut album in 1960, and it eventually became her signature song and the one we still remember her for today. It was originally recorded several times in the 1940s by Glenn Miller And His Orchestra, with their version in 1942 reaching the number-two spot on the pop chart. Her version was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 in spite of the initial release only having moderate pop chart success.
5. My Girl – The Temptations
My Girl was written by Smokey Robinson, and according to him, it was inspired by his wife. In 1965, it was included on the Temptations album The Temptations Sing Smokey, and history was made. It became a number-one overall song on the pop charts and became their signature single. As of 2017, the track has been included in the National Recording Registry managed by the Library of Congress thanks to its cultural, artistic, and historical significance.
6. I’m A Believer – The Monkees
I’m A Believer was a multi-year hit for The Monkees. It took the top spot on the pop chart and was the last number-one song of 1966. It then went on to become the best-selling single of 1967. It was also a number-one hit on the UK Singles Chart, marking its massive success as an international hit. It’s a light and breezy track, rather than a poignant love story, but it gets a point across and remains their best-known single.
7. Unchained Melody – Righteous Brothers
Unchained Melody is one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century. It was written in 1955, with the music serving for the prison film Unchained. The most notable recording of the track came in 1965 when the Righteous Brothers took their turn with it. Despite three previous versions charting in the Hot 100, theirs became a jukebox standard and one of the most memorable songs of the century.
8. Stand By Your Man – Tammy Wynette
Stand By Your Man isn’t just one of the best love songs of the 1960s, it’s also one of the most important ones in the history of country music. Tammy Wynette released it as the title track of her 1968 album, and when it was released as a single, it spent three weeks atop the country charts and turned her into a legendary figure in the country music world.
9. When A Man Loves a Woman – Percy Sledge
Percy Sledge was the first artist to record When A Man Loves A Woman in 1966. His version was a massive success, rising to the top of the Hot 100 and the R&B chart during its commercial run. It was covered by several artists to varying degrees of success, but Michael Bolton’s 1991 version of the song took the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary chart.
10. Can’t Take My Eyes Off You – Frankie Valli
Frankie Valli recorded Can’t Take My Eyes Off You in 1967 and ended up scoring one of the biggest hits of his career. It earned a gold record and spent a week in the number-two spot on the Hot 100. His version of the track was called a smooth romantic ballad by critics, labeling it as one of the best love songs of the decade and cementing his solo career outside of The Four Seasons.
11. Something – The Beatles
Something is a Beatles song that gets overlooked a lot, but it was a beautiful entry from the vaunted Abbey Road album. Interestingly, it was George Harrison who wrote it rather than John Lennon or Paul McCartney, with many believing it was an ode to his first wife.
12. Stand By Me – Ben E. King
Stand By Me was inspired by a spiritual and there are over 400 versions of the song out there. Ben E. King’s 1961 version is still my favorite though, as he asks his lover to stand by him through thick and thin.
13. Reach Out I’ll Be There – Four Tops
Reach Out I’ll Be There isn’t just one of the best love songs of the 1960s, it’s one of the most recognizable Motown tunes of all time. For Four Tops, this soulful love song became a signature track and one of their biggest successes.
14. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
Before Marvin Gaye was a sex symbol, he was half of the best 1960s love duet. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough was released in 1966 and speaks to the lengths you go to for the person you love.
15. (You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman – Aretha Franklin
While not as well known today, this was a signature single for Aretha Franklin. It rose to number eight on the Hot 100 and even made it onto the UK Singles Chart after her death, 51 years after it was initially released.
16. Cupid – Sam Cooke
Sam Cooke wrote Cupid for a girl on the Perry Como show, but after he presented it to his producers, they had him keep it to himself. It ended up reaching number seven on the UK Singles Chart and number 17 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
17. L-O-V-E – Nat King Cole
L-O-V-E is a song you’ve probably heard in films like The Parent Trap. Nat King Cole used it as the title track for his 1964 studio album and scored a modest hit and a sacred love song. It did best on the Adult Contemporary chart where it reached number 17.
18. You Can’t Hurry Love – The Supremes
The Supremes originally recorded You Can’t Hurry Love for their second studio album. After being released as the second single for the album, it topped the US Billboard Hot 100 and was a top-five hit in the UK.
19. Be My Baby – The Ronettes
Be My Baby ended up being the biggest hit The Ronettes ever produced. The song rose to number two on the Hot 100 and number four on the UK Singles Chart. Between radio and television, the track is noted as one of the most-played singles of all time. Today, it’s preserved in the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry.
20. The He Kissed Me – The Crystals
The Crystals released Then He Kissed Me in 1963 to critical and audience acclaim. The song tells the story of a romantic encounter from a woman’s perspective and eventually appeared in the film Goodfellas. For them, it’s their best-remembered track, and during its chart run, it peaked at number two in the UK and number six in the US.
21. I Got You Babe – Sonny & Cher
I Got You Babe might be one of the most iconic love songs of the 1960s. It was the first single to come from Sonny & Cher’s debut album and set them up to become music legends. In 1965, it topped the charts in the US, UK, and Canada.
22. Cherish – The Association
Cherish was a top-10 song for 1966, coming in at number seven or number two on Billboard’s year-end charts, depending upon which revision you look at. During its chart run, it spent three weeks on top of the US Hot 100.
23. God Only Knows – The Beach Boys
God Only Knows gets a lot of critical praise, with some even thinking of it as the best record The Beach Boys ever produced. It’s a nice 1960s love song that has some of the coolest harmonic qualities of their entire catalog of music.
24. Happy Together – The Turtles
Happy Together is another one of those 1960s love songs that has stood the test of time. It was a big hit when it first came out, and it still gets frequent use in other media today.
25. Hello, I Love You – The Doors
The Doors might have been the face of psychedelic rock for a lot of people, but they did write a love song or two. Hello, I Love You describes a man completely obsessed with a woman to the point that he will do absolutely anything for her. It’s quite a lot of dedication if you ask me.
26. Stop! In The Name of Love – The Supremes
While other songs might have been bigger hits, no track from The Supremes is as well-known as Stop! In The Name Of Love. In 1965, it spent two weeks at number one on the Hot 100, but it’s the longevity and creativity of the song that really puts it over the top for us.
27. Are You Lonesome Tonight? – Elvis Presley
Are You Lonesome Tonight? was written in 1927, but it was Elvis Presley’s 1960 version that turned it into an all-time love song. He definitely sang quite a few iconic love songs in his time, but this early gem was easily one of the best love songs of the decade.
28. Build Me Up Buttercup – The Foundations
The Foundations struck gold in 1968 with Build Me Up Buttercup. It was a hit love song about never leaving a partner feeling unfulfilled or wanting more from you. It pops up now and again in other media too, with the most notable example coming in the soundtrack for There’s Something About Mary.
29. The Way You Look Tonight – Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra was definitely the voice behind some of the children born in the 1960s. The Way You Look Tonight captures the moment you see your date or partner and notice just how beautiful they are at that very moment and how it makes you feel.
30. I Want To Hold Your Hand – The Beatles
I Want To Hold Your Hand is a fun song about puppy love and just wanting to be able to touch the person you’re crushing on. Of course, as it comes from The Beatles, it ended up being one of the most successful tracks of the decade. But it’s also a cute little love song too.
31. You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ – Righteous Brothers
You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ is an iconic track, thanks in part to its eventual appearance in the Top Gun film. However, it isn’t a typical love song. It’s about when the butterflies that accompany a relationship are gone for good and what it takes to keep things going.
32. Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl isn’t a typical love song either, but it sure is iconic. You could see it as an ode to brown-eyed girls out there and make it a love song if you want though. It generally finds a spot on any list of the greatest tracks of all time, so it’s an easy choice for our list as well.
33. Wouldn’t It Be Nice – The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys sang this track in the 1960s much better than Adam Sandler did in 50 First Dates. That being said, Wouldn’t It Be Nice is an adorable 1960s love song that sees the narrator dreaming of the day he can finally be with the one he loves, and there are no obstacles in the way anymore.
34. Baby I Need Your Loving – Four Tops
The Four Tops were one of the most successful groups of the 1960s when it came to love songs, and Baby I Need Your Loving proves it. Their release of the track in 1964 talked about never being able to give up on a woman because of how much they needed their love to keep going.
35. Ain’t Too Proud to Beg – The Temptations
The Temptations make another appearance with Ain’t Too Proud To Beg. They’re so in love that they’re willing to do whatever it takes to be with their partner, even if it means getting down on their knees and begging them for a chance.
36. Piece of My Heart – Janis Joplin
Janis Joplin created a unique track in 1969 when Piece Of My Heart was released. It turned out to be a massive hit single and promised a star-studded career for her, though she would unfortunately pass shortly after finding success with it. Playing games with people’s hearts is no good, and she let the world know how she felt about them.
37. Under the Boardwalk – The Drifters
I do not recommend getting down under a boardwalk, but The Drifters might have a different opinion. Their single Under The Boardwalk talks about all the fun things that can go down when it gets dark on the beach.
38. Where Did Our Love Go – The Supremes
Not every love song has to have a happy ending. The Supremes perfectly captured the confusing end of a relationship where you don’t know where you went wrong in Where Did Our Love Go. It stays upbeat, but you can still feel the pain.
39. My Guy – Mary Wells
Ain’t nobody got nothing on Mary Wells’ guy.
40. You Don’t Know Me – Ray Charles Feat. Diana Krall
You Don’t Know Me isn’t a diss like we would think of today, it’s a story of unrequited love from the legendary Stevie Wonder.
41. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow – The Shirelles
Sometimes, you just need to be sure your relationship is going to last before taking the next step. That’s exactly what The Shirelles were doing in Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.
As a contributing writer for Music Grotto, Dakotah writes and produces professional music/media content. He works closely with editorial staff to meet editorial standards and create
quality content for the Music Grotto website. Dakotah is passionate about music in a wide variety of genres, from hip-hop to country and lo-fi to metal, and he enjoys creating music pieces for Music Grotto.