Slow dance songs have always held a special place in our lives; whether it’s a weeknight jukebox play at your favorite local bar or the first dance at a wedding reception, they seem to tap into our feelings. A chance to hold your loved one close and sway along to the music, the right song can be the background of a memory that will last a lifetime.
If you’re searching for the perfect music to set the mood, check out our list below of the 41 best slow dance songs of all time:
1. Can’t Help Falling in Love – Elvis Presley
An Elvis Presley classic, Can’t Help Falling In Love conveys all the mysterious effortlessness of love with a slow, easy melody that pulls you into its lush atmosphere. The song was released in 1961 on Presley’s soundtrack album Blue Hawaii and makes falling for someone sound as alluring as lounging endlessly on a beach.
2. At Last – Etta James
With measured vocals that are full of Etta James’s conviction, all is finally right in the world; At Last brims with all the passion of a slow burn. Even from the opening line, the song seems to contain an assurance that patience comes with its rewards, and love is always found in the end.
3. Dedicated To The One I Love – The Shirelles
The Shirelles sing of the difficulties of a faraway love on this 1960 track, where they ask their lover to say a prayer to the stars for them. Slow and soaring, lead singer Shirley Owen’s voice is full of tenderness and sympathy despite the distance that separates her and her loved one.
4. Fade Into You – Mazzy Star
Fade Into You is a pensive, acoustic affair that traces the obscurity of love and longing. Recorded by Mazzy Star in 1993, the song expertly creates a hazy mood that may have you drifting in and out of your partner’s arms as you twirl around the dance floor.
5. By Your Side – Sade
Drifting along a smooth, groovy beat, Sade’s crooning assures her lover that they can count on her, no matter what. Melding R&B, pop, reggae, and folk with her unique vocals, this late-90s classic stands out on our list for its genre-defying sound. By Your Side was released on the band’s album Lovers Rock in 2000.
6. Why Try to Change Me Now? – Frank Sinatra
For a slow dance song tinged with melancholy and jazz tones, who else would we turn to but Frank Sinatra? A song brooding on the wandering nature of life and the loneliness of the world at its core, Why Try To Change Me Now? still returns again and again to the solidity of love with the line, “You know I’ll love you till the moon’s upside down.”
7. I Only Have Eyes For You – The Flamingos
I Only Have Eyes For You is a serenading tune that conveys the feeling you’d get locking eyes with your loved one while the rest of the world fades into a blurry background. Released in 1959, this genre-defining hit has just a hint of doo-wop and dreamy, refined vocals.
8. Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You – Frankie Valli
You know you’re in love when you can’t stop catching someone’s eye across the room—this is the inspiration behind Frankie Valli’s 1967 hit Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You. The steady opening bars are transformed into an upbeat bridge, with his voice breaking loose as he sings the lines, “And if it’s quite alright, I need you, baby.”
9. Come Away With Me – Norah Jones
Come Away With Me channels the temptation to escape the rest of the world and spend all your time in love. An invitation and a promise all in one, the song highlights Norah Jones’s slightly husky voice, with a tone that makes you feel as though you’re being let in on a secret. This track was released in 2002.
10. My Girl – The Temptations
On a song that channels the wholehearted happiness you get when you’re in love, lead singer David Ruffin marvels at the chance that made him lucky enough to meet his girl, who gives him “so much honey” even the bees are envious. Released in 1965, this groovy tune is sure to bring plenty of smiles and lots of foot-tapping, and have everyone chiming in on “my girl.”
11. La Vie en Rose – Édith Piaf
With Édith Piaf’s vibrato and a French sense of romance, the sensibility of this song comes through even if you don’t know the words. She sings of the rose-colored glasses that fall over your world when you’re in love, and how she wouldn’t have it any other way. Her version of La Vie En Rose was released in 1947.
12. I Swear – All-4-One
All-4-One delivers a heartfelt R&B ballad with I Swear, along with a promise that love will last for better or worse. Amid shimmering synths and a resounding sax, the singers affirm that they’ll uphold their side of the relationship no matter what, providing their love with security and the strength to last through the years.
13. Unforgettable – Nat King Cole
Featuring Nat King Cole’s supple vocals suspended by the sound of strings and piano, Unforgettable is almost the definition of romantic. Slow and sweet, it describes two lovers who are in awe of each other and can’t seem to forget it. It was released in 1954 and has been a slow dance classic ever since.
14. Islands In the Stream – Dolly Parton And Kenny Rogers
With a slight country twang, Islands In the Stream features Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton in a magical duo as they navigate the ins and outs of love. Recorded in 1983, the song will give you the feeling of being whisked downstream on a current of love that is both secure and lasting.
15. I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston
A heartfelt anthem that builds to a stunning crescendo, Whitney Houston’s 1992 version of I Will Always Love You is probably one of the most famous love songs ever, and for good reason. Affirming a boundless love that lasts even if it is no longer returned, her soaring vocals succeed in tapping into something eternal and universal.
16. I Love You Always Forever – Donna Lewis
A bright, atmospheric track with a youthful sweetness, this song features a hushed Donna Lewis singing of a love that will be “always forever.” Recorded in 1996, the sound of the era shines through in her ethereal voice and the synthesized drums.
17. Your Song – Elton John
In the sweetest of gestures, Elton John wants everyone to know that he’s written this song for the one he loves. With down-to-earth lyrics that still sound poetic, the singer captures “how wonderful life is” now that his lover is a part of it. Your Song was recorded in 1970 for his second studio album.
18. Lover – Taylor Swift
With one of the more contemporary songs on our list, Taylor Swift channels her purest inner romantic on her 2019 record Lover. With the simple question “Can I go where you go?” leading the chorus, she paints the picture of a free-spirited young love, one that she wants to hold on to for a long time.
19. Fever – Peggy Lee
If you’re hoping for a bit of a steamier take on the slow dance, look no further than this sultry Peggy Lee tune. Recorded in 1958, the song builds a steady tension with its low walking bass and her almost offhand vocals as she describes the classic state of ‘fever’ that lovers have found themselves caught in throughout history.
20. Stand by Me – Ben E. King
With a famous baseline and a message of unity and trust, Ben E. King asks his loved ones to stand by him even “When the night has come, And the land is dark.” His elegant baritone glides through this R&B classic, first released in 1962.
21. Time After Time – Cyndi Lauper
Having someone you can return to ‘time after time’ is most people’s ideal of love. Cyndi Lauper takes this theme to heart, with this 80s bop that recognizes that love is about catching one another over and over again. The song was released in 1983.
22. When A Man Loves A Woman – Percy Sledge
When it comes to the all-consuming effects of love, this song paints both the good and bad. Percy Sledge is well aware that he’s at the mercy of his lover’s whims—all he can do is ask her to treat him right. The sweet desperation of his predicament comes through in this 1966 recording.
23. Embraceable You – Nat King Cole
A love song with a simple message, Embraceable You is no less charming for it. With a quiet, sweet tone, put this record on and you can just picture a couple slow dancing once everyone else has trailed off, alone together in their own little world. This was released in 1943.
24. Blue Moon – Ella Fitzgerald
Blue Moon is a standard ballad first written in the 30s and spiked in popularity in the 60s with a recording by the doo-wop group The Marcels. For a slow dance, though, we like it best in this rendition of Ella Fitzgerald’s, whose vocal range captures all the loneliness and hope contained in the lyrics.
25. A Thousand Years – Christina Perri
Sweeping and full of drama, Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years is a song about love at first sight and the power of commitment. Channeling the heart-racing feeling you get when you’re falling fast for someone.
26. Earth Angel – The Penguins
“I’m just a fool, a fool in love with you” is the resounding sentiment of this classic number released by The Penguins in 1954. We’ve all had the feeling that our loved one is an angel brought down to earth—this is exactly how dazzled the singer of Earth Angel is by his sweetheart.
27. Let’s Get It On – Marvin Gaye
One of the funkier tracks on our list, Let’s Get It On is a classic celebration of getting into the mood with someone you love. Released in 1973, this song is still groovy enough to have you dancing late through the night.
28. Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran may only be “thinking out loud,” but the resulting slow jam makes for some pretty romantic stuff. As the singer’s voice emerges over the gentle strumming of a guitar, this song is a reminder to look around and cherish the love we have every day. The single was released in 2014.
29. In My Life – The Beatles
Zooming out to look at the big picture, John Lennon describes the love he’s felt throughout his life, paling in comparison to what he feels for his current beloved. Bringing The Beatles’ sense of reflectiveness and a sweet resolution, this song appeared on their Rubber Soul album in 1965.
30. Baby, I Love You – Aretha Franklin
Bringing her soulful voice to the fore, Aretha Franklin uses this slow groove of a song to make a declaration of love. Released in 1967, the tune will resonate with anyone who’s just waiting for their lover to make a move.
31. It’s Been A Long, Long Time – Bing Crosby And Les Paul Trio
Les Paul Trio and Bing Crosby team up for this tender song expressing the feeling of seeing your loved one after a time apart. With Crosby’s vocals and Paul’s guitar taking turns on verses, each is sweetly expressive in its own way. This track made its debut in 1954.
32. My Cherie Amour – Stevie Wonder
My Cherie Amour is Stevie Wonder’s tribute to the nameless beauty he passes on the street but never gets the chance to speak with. With his signature vibrancy, the song deftly handles the themes of love at a distance. It was released in 1969.
33. If I Ain’t Got You – Alicia Keys
A modern R&B ballad, If I Ain’t Got You came out in 2003. With Alicia Keys’ effortlessly rich voice and the track’s catchy rhythm, it’ll have you swaying along and remembering what’s really important in life—and it’s probably not diamond rings.
34. Wild Horses – The Rolling Stones
With a tragic note and a heavy dose of nostalgia, Wild Horses depicts the fallout of love and the impossibility of letting go, set amid the Rolling Stones’ masterful combination of rock and country styles. It was released in 1971 on their album Sticky Fingers.
35. Let’s Stay Together – Al Green
Let’s Stay Together features Al Green’s fervent vocals expressing a simple sentiment—being in love is good, and he wants him and his beloved to stay together for life. With his smooth falsetto and a hint of funk, this 1972 record is a definite slow dance classic.
36. My Funny Valentine – Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra’s discography is certainly full of songs that would make for a good slow dance—My Funny Valentine stands out as getting to the humor found at the heart of love. With a steady, sustained tone and light-hearted musical flourishes, this 1954 track comes, fittingly, from Sinatra’s album Song For Young Lovers.
37. Unchained Melody – The Righteous Brothers
With a melodious swing and soaring vocals, this song speaks of the difficulty of being separated from love through the metaphor of flowing rivers. It was recorded by The Righteous Brothers in 1965.
38. I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing – Aerosmith
Aerosmith’s late 90s ballad takes passion to the furthest extreme, with vocalist Steven Tyler singing of the wish to give up on even sleep so as not to miss out on moments with his beloved. The song was released in 1998 on Aerosmith’s album of the same name.
39. Harvest Moon – Neil Young
Released in 1992 as a track on the studio album of the same name, Harvest Moon features elements of folk music and slide-guitar, crafting a genuine and emotionally-charged song. The motif of the harvest moon only adds to its romance and country-style feel.
40. Faithfully – Journey
Sentimental as it may be, Journey’s classic road song about “lovin’ a music man” rings as real now as it did in 1983. You can’t help but be touched as frontman Steve Perry sings of his commitment to home in an impressive power ballad. Even more impressive, perhaps, is that it was written by keyboard player Jonathan Cain in less than an hour.
41. How Deep is Your Love – Bee Gees
A 70s psych-pop groove, How Deep Is Your Love showcases the Bee Gees’ harmonizing vocals and tight melodies, as the lyrics encourage their lover to open up and be real with them. The trio released this smooth and bright hit in 1977.
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