1. ''God Only Knows''
The Beach Boys (1966)
Paul McCartney called it the greatest song ever written. And, yow, lyrically it opens with a blow: ''I may not always love you.'' Aren't love songs supposed to be full of vague, empty promises? In the tenderest of angel voices, Carl Wilson, after acknowledging the heart's fickle nature, admits his utter dependence, summing up the fearsome power of love: ''God only knows what I'd be without you.'' Big brother Brian, who wrote the tune, knits together French horns and sleigh bells, clip-clop percussion and strings. So fully did he give his obsessive heart over to the recording of the magnificent Pet Sounds, it's not hard to imagine that the world's greatest love song is less about a woman than about music itself.
The list goes on! See which love songs we chose as Nos. 26-50, here
What did we miss? Post your own picks for Best Love Songs Ever, on PopWatch.
Image Credit: Michael Ochs Archive/Getty
The Cure, Otis Redding, Beyonce, and more: See who ranked high on our list of swoon-worthy tunes