In honor of Valentine's Day, we've ranked the biggest 'Love' songs to ever hit the Hot 100
Songs have been written about every topic imaginable, but the best ones -- from swooning '50s ballads to contemporary club bangers -- have been penned about the ups and downs of being in love. In celebration of Valentine’s Day, we are counting down the top 50 Hot 100 hits with a form of the word “love” in the title. The tunes cover all seven decades of the Hot 100’s history, ranging from 1958's “To Know Him Is to Love Him” by the Teddy Bears to 2011's “We Found Love” by Rihanna. It's sonic proof that while musical fads and fashions will change with every generation, love -- and the songs inspired by it -- will never go out of style.
The ranking is based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 chart. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. To ensure equitable representation of the biggest hits from each era, certain time frames were weighted to account for the difference between turnover rates from those years.
"Love Song" - Sara Bareilles
Hot 100 Peak: No. 4 (2008)
The singer from Eureka, Calif. made her chart debut with this song. Although it didn’t reach No. 1 on the Hot 100, it topped the Adult Contemporary and Adult Pop Songs charts and was the No. 1 song of the year on the annual recaps of those two lists.
"Baby Love" - The Supremes
Hot 100 Peak: No. 1 for four weeks (1964)
When this song reached the top of the Hot 100, the Supremes became the first Motown act to have two No. 1s. Just a few months earlier, they were known around Berry Gordy’s company as “the no-hit Supremes,” but that changed when their previous single, “Where Did Our Love Go,” achieved pole position.
"Love Story" - Taylor Swift
Hot 100 Peak: No. 4 (2009)
It’s not a surprise that Swift wrote this song based on a real guy she was dating. Her family disapproved, inspiring her to base the song on the most famous “Love Story” of all, “Romeo and Juliet,” but this time with a happy ending.
"Part-Time Lover" - Stevie Wonder
Hot 100 Peak: No. 1 (1985)
Wonder admitted that this song was heavily inspired by two previous Motown hits – “You Can’t Hurry Love” and “My World Is Empty Without You,” both by the Supremes. It was his ninth No. 1 and the first single to top five different Billboard charts.
"Lovin' You" - Minnie Riperton
Hot 100 Peak: No. 1 (1975)
After singing with Chess Records’ the Gems and Rotary Connection, Riperton joined Stevie Wonder’s backing vocalists, Wonderlove, in 1973. A year later she signed with Epic, with Wonder producing her first album. The initial single failed to chart but the follow-up was “Lovin’ You.”
"You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" - The Righteous Brothers
Hot 100 Peak: No. 1 for two weeks (1965)
Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil wrote this song on a rented piano at the Chateau Marmont on the Sunset Strip, inspired by the Four Tops’ “Baby I Need Your Loving.” Their dummy lyrics were “You’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’” but producer Phil Spector liked them so much he kept them. The trio completed the song by writing the bridge at Spector’s home.
"This Guy's In Love With You" - Herb Alpert
Hot 100 Peak: No. 1 for four weeks (1968)
Alpert sang this Burt Bacharach/Hal David song to his wife on the beach in Malibu on a CBS special. The next day, the network was inundated with calls from viewers asking where they could buy the song. One day later, A&M released a single and it became the label’s first No. 1.
"Don't Let Go (Love)" - En Vogue
Hot 100 Peak: No. 2 (1997)
The 12th entry on the Hot 100 for this female vocal group from Oakland, Calif., it proved to be their biggest hit, with four weeks in the runner-up spot. The song was recorded for the soundtrack to “Set It Off,” starring Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett.
"Justify My Love" - Madonna
Hot 100 Peak: No. 1 for two weeks (1991)
The video for this song was too steamy for MTV, which refused to air it. Within hours of the network’s decision, Warner/Reprise Video announced that “Justify My Love” would be the first commercially released video single. ABC’s “Nightline” then aired the entire video, uncensored.
"That's The Way Love Goes" - Janet Jackson
Hot 100 Peak: No. 1 for eight weeks (1993)
Jackson’s first single for Virgin was based on a sample from a James Brown No. 1 R&B hit from 1974, “Papa Don’t Take No Mess.” On first listen, Jackson wasn’t thrilled with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis’ track; the producers asked her to take it with her on her two-week Christmas vacation and when she returned she told them it was “the bomb.”