Birds do, bees do it, even educated fleas do it.… So wrote Cole Porter in 1928, and we’re the first to admit that falling in love can be as easy as falling off a log. But as to the business of writing a love song—one that’s not cheesy or obvious—well, that’s a challenge that the greatest songwriters have wrestled with since the first caveman grunted a serenade to his beloved.
After painstaking research and several rock fights, Time Out has arrived at what we believe to be the 50 best love songs of all time. Expect to sniff along to the all-time romantic classics (yes, you can tell Mom that Aretha Franklin is in there), get down like you’re at a wedding disco to dance-party titans like Madonna, and feel a smile spread across your face when you hit the number one spot and think of your own number one sweetie—whether they know it yet or not.
And if things go south, head over and check out our list of the very best breakup songs.