Romance Expert Announces 'The 100 Best Love Songs of the 20th Century'

Gregory Godek, Author of 1001 Ways To Be Romantic

Announces Results of Massive Survey that Includes All Genres of Popular Music

Feb 07, 2000, 00:00 ET from Romance Research Institute

    LA JOLLA, Calif., Feb. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Interest in all things
 millennium-related continues unabated.  We've seen the lists of the
 "Top 100 Films" and the "Top 100 Books" of the past century.  And now, with
 the first Valentine's Day of the new millennium fast approaching, it's
 obviously time for the definitive list of "The 100 Best Love Songs of the
 20th Century."
     Gregory Godek, best-selling author of 1001 Ways To Be Romantic, has just
 released the results of a massive study that has determined the 100 best love
 songs of the 20th Century.
     Here are the top ten:
     1.  "You Are So Beautiful," by Joe Cocker (1975)
     2.  "As Time Goes By," from the film Casablanca (1942)
     3.  "Something," by The Beatles (1969)
     4.  "The Rose," by Bette Midler (1980)
     5.  "Unforgettable," by Nat King Cole (1953)
     6.  "Can't Help Falling in Love," by Elvis Presley (1962)
     7.  "Up Where We Belong," by Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes (1982)
     8.  "Crazy," by Patsy Cline (1961)
     9.  "Unchained Melody," by The Righteous Brothers (1965)
     10. "I Will Always Love You," by Whitney Houston (1992)
     As one might expect, The Beatles dominate the list with 6 songs (4 as a
 group, and 2 as solos).  Lionel Richie composed 5 songs on the list and sang
 on 4 of them (1 as a solo, 1 as a duet with Diana Ross, and 2 as a member of
 The Commodores).
     A big surprise is that raspy-voiced rock 'n roll madman Joe Cocker appears
 twice in the top ten!  The top ten also includes:  Songs from every decade
 from 1940 to 1990; 5 songs associated with films; 1 or 2 Country songs (it
 depends on how you categorize Elvis); and 3 women singing solos and 1 singing
 in a duet.
     Men dominated the Best 100 list with 65 songs; women followed with
 19 songs.  Solo performers sang 63 songs; groups sang 20 songs; and duos or
 male-female mixed groups sang 16 songs.
     The list includes 34 songs associated with films; 13 Broadway tunes; and
 7 or 14 Country songs (depending on how you categorize Elvis Presley and Kenny
 Rogers).  And there are 20 songs with "Love" in their titles.
     The list also includes nine romantic standards by the towering musical
 talents of the 20th Century.  Included are "Always" (#12) by Irving Berlin,
 "Begin the Beguine," (#36) by Cole Porter, "Embraceable You," (#24) by George
 Gershwin, "Moonlight Serenade," (#30) by Glenn Miller and Mitchell Parish, and
 "Night and Day," (#25) Cole Porter.
     Godek wanted to eliminate bias in the compilation of the best love songs
 of the 20th Century.  He points out that there's a big difference between the
 "best" and the "most popular."  For example: "One might say that The Jerry
 Springer Show is the most popular show on TV, whereas Masterpiece Theater is
 the best show on TV," Godek says.  "The challenge," he observes, "is to
 balance popularity with quality."
     Actually, the challenge was much larger than that.  Godek's method for
 evaluating love songs includes 20 different factors into the calculation of
 the ranking.  "I created a proprietary algorithm and had a custom software
 program created to handle all the variables," Godek says.  "Anybody could take
 a simple poll.  But that would merely be a popularity contest, like voting for
 homecoming queen.  I felt that the top 100 love songs had room in it for
 quality as well as popularity.
     "My unique methodology allows us to include the best popular songs from
 the early days of radio, and the best songs from Broadway musicals -- in
 addition to the more current popular romantic hits."
     Godek's list of the 100 best love songs of the 20th Century began as a
 massive list of 2,500 songs.  Included were rock 'n roll and country songs,
 current and older songs, Top 40 and lesser-known songs, folk and Broadway
 songs, and jazz and R&B songs.  A series of steps -- including polls, analyses
 of Top 40 lists and reviews of critics' articles -- resulted in the final
 100 Best list.
     Gregory Godek, founder of the Romance Research Institute, is America's
 foremost expert on romantic love.  As the best-selling author of 1001 Ways To
 Be Romantic and twelve other books he has appeared on Oprah and Donahue.  As a
 performer he presents Romance Seminars and music-based Romantic Extravaganzas.
     After reviewing, discussing and arguing about the official list, you may
 want to voice your opinion and vote for your "best 100" love songs at
                  The 100 Best Love Songs of the 20th Century
         Compiled by Gregory Godek, author of 1001 Ways To Be Romantic
     Rank      Song           Singer/Group        Lyricist/Composer       Year
     1.  You Are So Beautiful  Joe Cocker         Bruce Fisher,
                                                   Billy Preston          1975
     2.  As Time Goes By       Dooley Wilson      Herman Hupfeld          1942
     3.  Something             The Beatles        George Harrison         1969
     4.  The Rose              Bette Midler       Amanda McBroom          1980
     5.  Unforgettable         Nat King Cole      Irving Gordon           1953
     6.  Can't Help Falling    Elvis Presley      G. Weiss,
          in Love                                  H. Peretti,
                                                   L. Creatore            1962
     7.  Up Where We Belong    Joe Cocker         W. Jennings,
                               & Jennifer Warnes   J. Nitzsche,
                                                   B. Sainte-Marie        1982
     8.  Crazy                 Patsy Cline        Willie Nelson           1961
     9.  Unchained Melody      The Righteous      Alex North, Hy Zaret    1965
     10. I Will Always         Whitney Houston    Dolly Parton            1992
          Love You
     11. Truly                 Lionel Richie      Lionel Richie           1982
     12. Always                Vincent Lopez;     Irving Berlin           1926
                                also by many others
     13. Lady                  Kenny Rogers       Lionel Richie           1980
     14. Through the Years     Kenny Rogers       Steve Dorff,            1982
                                                   Marty Panzer
     15. Strangers in          Frank Sinatra      B. Kaempfert,
          the Night                                E. Snyder,
                                                   C. Singleton           1966
     16. I Cross My Heart      George Strait      Steve Dorff, Eric Kaz   1992
     17. Just the Way You Are  Billy Joel         Billy Joel              1978
     18. Wind Beneath My Wings Bette Midler       Larry Henley,           1989
                                                   Jeff Silbar
     19. Still                 The Commodores     Lionel Richie           1979
     20. When a Man            Percy Sledge       Calvin Lewis,
          Loves a Woman                            Andrew Wright          1966
     21. (I've Had) The Time   Bill Medley         F. Previte,            1987
           of My Life          & Jennifer Warnes    J. DeNicola,
                                                    D. Markowitz
     22. If Tomorrow           Garth Brooks        Kent Blazy,            1990
          Never Comes                               Garth Brooks
     23. With You I'm          Billy Preston       David Shire            1980
          Born Again            & Syreeta
     24. Embraceable You       Eddie Quinlan       George Gershwin        1932
                               & Dorothy Lee;
                               also by many others
     25. Night and Day         Fred Astaire;       Cole Porter            1934
                                also by many others
     26. Endless Love          Diana Ross &        Lionel Richie          1981
                                Lionel Richie
     27. The First Time Ever   Roberta Flack       Ewan MacColl           1972
          I Saw Your Face
     28. We've Got Tonight     Kenny Rogers        Bob Seger              1983
                                & Sheena Easton
     29. Come Rain             Ray Charles         Johnny Mercer,         1960
          or Come Shine                            Harold Arlen
     30. Moonlight Serenade    Glenn Miller        Glenn Miller,          1939
                               and his Orchestra   Mitchell Parish
     31. Ain't No Mountain     Diana Ross          Nickolas Ashford,      1970
          High Enough                               Valerie Simpson
     32. Goin' Out of My Head  The Lettermen       Teddy Randazzo,        1968
          /Can't Take My Eyes                       Bobby Weinstein
           Off You
     33. If I Fell             The Beatles         John Lennon,           1964
                                                    Paul McCartney
     34. Stardust              Bing Crosby;        Mitchell Parish,       1957
                               also many others     Hoagy Carmichael
     35. Smoke Gets            The Platters;       Otto Harback,          1958
          in Your Eyes          also many others    Jerome Kern
     36. Begin the Beguine     Artie Shaw;         Cole Porter            1938
                                also many others
     37. All the Things        Tommy Dorsey;       Oscar Hammerstein II,  1944
          You Are               also many others    Jerome Kern
     38. My Eyes Adored You    Frankie Valli       B. Crewe,              1975
                                                    K.N. Helfman
     39. Stand By Your Man     Tammy Wynette       Tammy Wynette,         1968
                                                    Billy Sherrill
     40. Three Times a Lady    The Commodores      Lionel Richie          1978
     41. I Swear               John Michael        Frank Myers,           1993
                                Montgomery          Gary Baker
     42. Love Me Tender        Elvis Presley       Elvis Presley,         1956
                                                    Vera Matson
     43. Evergreen             Barbra Streisand    Barbra Streisand,      1976
                                                    Paul Williams
     44. You and I             Eddie Rabbit        Frank Myers            1983
                                & Crystal Gayle
     45. Colour My World       Chicago             James Pankow           1971
     46. My Heart Will Go On   Celine Dion         J. Horner,             1997
                                                    W. Jennings
     47. So Far Away           Carole King         Carole King            1971
     48. And I Love Her        The Beatles         John Lennon,
                                                    Paul McCartney        1964
     49. Our Love is Here      Larry Clinton;      George Gershwin        1938
          to Stay               also many others
     50. All of Me             Frank Sinatra       Seymour Simons,        1952
                                                    Gerald Marks
     51. Maybe I'm Amazed      Paul McCartney      Paul McCartney         1970
     52. Crazy for You         Madonna             John Bettis, Jon Lind  1985
     53. I Want You,           Elvis Presley       Maurice Mysels,        1956
          I Need You, I Love You                    Ira Kosloff
     54. Always On My Mind     Willie Nelson       W. Carson,             1982
                                                    J. Christopher,
                                                    M. James
     55. The Way We Were       Barbra Streisand    A. Bergman,            1974
                                                    M. Bergman, M. Hamlisch
     56. Yesterday             The Beatles         John Lennon,           1965
                                                    Paul McCartney
     57. Ain't No Sunshine     Bill Withers        Bill Withers           1971
     58. Tonight, I Celebrate  Peabo Bryson        Michael Masser,        1983
          My Love               & Roberta Flack     Gerry Goffin
     59. Baby Come to Me       Patti Austin        Rod Temperton          1983
                                & James Ingram
     60. Longer                Dan Fogelberg       Dan Fogelberg          1980
     61. All I Ask of You      Sarah Brightman     Andrew Lloyd Webber,   1987
                                & Steve Barton      Charles Hart
     62. Some Enchanted        Jay & the Americans Oscar Hammerstein II,  1965
          Evening                                   Richard Rodgers
     63. Somewhere My Love     Ray Conniff         P.F. Webster, M. Jarre 1966
          (Lara's Theme)
     64. Oh, Pretty Woman      Roy Orbison         Roy Orbison, Bill Dees 1964
     65. Straight from         Bryan Adams         Bryan Adams,           1983
          the Heart                                 Eric Kagna
     66. I Honestly Love You   Olivia Newton-John  Jeff Barry,            1974
                                                    Peter Allen
     67. (They Long To Be)     The Carpenters      Burt Bacharach,        1970
          Close To You                              Hal David
     68. Wedding Song          Paul Stookey        Paul Stookey           1971
         (There Is Love)
     69. Time In A Bottle      Jim Croce           Jim Croce, Tommy West  1973
     70. I Still Believe       Vince Gill          Vince Gill,            1992
          in You                                    John Barlow Jarvis
     71. Touch Me in           Diana Ross          Michael Masser,        1973
          the Morning                               Ron Miller
     72. You Are The Sunshine  Stevie Wonder       Stevie Wonder          1973
          of My Life
     73. You've Made Me So     Blood, Sweat        B. Gordy, F. Wilson,   1969
          Very Happy            & Tears             B. Holloway, P. Hollaway
     74. Because You Loved Me  Celine Dion         Diane Warren           1996
     75. All or Nothing at All Frank Sinatra       Jack Lawrence,         1943
                                                    Arthur Altman
     76. Misty                 Johnny Mathis       Errol Garner,          1959
                                                    Johnny Burke
     77. Coming Around Again   Carly Simon         Carly Simon            1987
     78. Lover Man             Billie Holiday      J. Davis, R. Ramirez,  1945
         (Oh, Where Can You Be)                     J. Sherman
     79. Fly Me to the Moon    Tony Bennett        Bart Howard            1965
          (In Other Words)
     80. Chances Are           Johnny Mathis       Al Stillman,           1957
                                                    Robert Allen
     81. She Wears My Ring     Ray Price           Ray Price              1978
     82. How Sweet It Is       James Taylor        B. Holland, E. Holland,1975
         (To Be Loved By You)                       L. Dozier
     83. My Love               Paul McCartney      Paul McCartney         1973
                                & Wings
     84. How Deep              The Bee Gees        Barry, Robin           1977
          Is Your Love?                             & Maurice Gibb
     85. We've Only Just Begun The Carpenters      Roger Nichols          1970
     86. When I Fall in Love   Celine Dion         E. Heyman, V. Young    1993
                                & Clive Griffin
     87. You Send Me           Sam Cooke           Sam Cooke              1957
     88. In Your Eyes          Peter Gabriel       Peter Gabriel,         1986
                                                    Bill Laswell
     89. Woman                 John Lennon         John Lennon            1980
     90. That Old Black Magic  Glenn Miller        Johnny Mercer,         1942
                                & Skip Nelson;      Harold Arlen
                                also many others
     91. Nights In White Satin The Moody Blues     Justin Hayward         1972
     92. Moon River            Jerry Butler        Johnny Mercer,         1961
                                                    Henry Mancini
     93. Only Wanna            Hootie &            M. Bryan, D. Felber,   1995
          Be With You           The Blowfish        D. Rucker, J. Sonefeld
     94. One Hundred Ways      Quincy Jones        K. Wakefield,          1982
                                & James Ingram      B. Wright, T. Coleman
     95. Vision of Love        Mariah Carey        M. Carey, B. Margulies 1990
     96. You Light Up My Life  Debby Boone         Joseph Brooks          1977
     97. Almost Like           Frank Sinatra       Alan Jay Lerner,       1947
          Being in Love                             Frederick Loewe
     98. Till There Was You    Anita Bryant        Meredith Willson       1959
     99. Love Is a             The Four Aces       Paul Francis Webster,  1955
          Many-Splendored Thing                     Sammy Fain
     100. I Won't Last a Day   Paul Williams       Paul Williams          1972
           Without You
     Vote for your favorite love songs at
     A Closer Look at the 100 Best List
     -- The Top 10 includes:
        -- Songs from every decade from 1940 to 1990
        -- 5 songs associated with films
        -- 2 songs sung by Joe Cocker
        -- 1 or 2 Country songs (depends how you place Elvis)
        -- 3 women singing solos, and 1 singing in a duet
     -- Most songs by one group: The Beatles, with 4
        (or 6, if you include solo songs)
     -- Singers who dominate the list:
        -- The Beatles: 4 songs (or 6, depending on how you count)
        -- Frank Sinatra: 4 songs (all solo)
        -- Lionel Richie: 4 songs (1 solo, 1 duet, 2 group)
        -- Elvis Presley: 3 songs (all solo)
        -- Celine Dion: 3 songs (2 solo, 1 duet)
        -- Kenny Rogers: 3 songs (2 solo,  1 duet)
     -- Songwriters who dominate the list:
        -- John Lennon and/or Paul McCartney: 5 songs
        -- Lionel Richie: 5 songs
     -- Number of songs sung by men: 65
     -- Number of songs sung by women: 19
     -- Number of songs by duos or mixed groups: 16
     -- Number of songs by solo performers: 63
     -- Number of songs by groups: 20
     -- Number of songs by male-female duos: 14
     -- Number of songs associated with films: 34
     -- Number of Broadway tunes: 13
     -- Number of Country songs: 7 or 14
        (depending if you include Elvis & Kenny Rogers)
     -- Number of songs also on NPR's list of "1001 Most Significant Songs": 5
     -- Number of songs also on VH-1's list of "100 Greatest Rock & Roll
         Songs": 5
     -- Number of songs with "Love" in their titles: 20
     -- Songs from the 1990s: 10
     -- 1980s: 22
     -- 1970s: 26
     -- 1960s: 18
     -- 1950s: 11
     -- 1940s: 6
     -- 1930s: 6
     -- 1920s: 1
          Feature Article: The 100 Best Love Songs of the 20th Century
     What do Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, The Bee Gees, Garth Brooks, Billie
 Holiday, Stevie Wonder, Barbra Streisand, The Carpenters and Ray Charles have
 in common?  They've all recorded some of the best love songs of all time.
 Love songs have a way of crossing all music categories and transcending
 generational boundaries.
     Here at the dawn of the new millennium, the folks at the Romance Research
 Institute thought it was the perfect time to pose the question, "What are the
 best love songs of the 20th Century?"  This is more than just another
 "millennium list."  It's a musical milestone and a sociologically significant
 piece of research.
     Gregory Godek, best-selling author of 1001 Ways To Be Romantic, began
 researching love songs ten years ago in his Romance Seminars.  The study was
 expanded to include music industry experts and surveys conducted via phone and
 the Internet.  While the end of the 20th Century saw the lists of favorite
 albums, singers and songs -- none of them placed "love" at the center of their
 considerations.  Every radio station confined itself to its own type of music,
 and every organization had its built-in biases.  None of them had either the
 reason or the expertise to list the best love songs of the century.  That task
 fell to Godek, as his expertise involves the "expression of romantic love" --
 which may find its purest expression in music.
     Godek points out the list they compiled is titled the best love songs --
 not "favorite" love songs or "top" love songs.  "We use the word 'best' to
 describe a list that balances popularity with quality, current hits with
 classic tunes, and includes all types of music -- from rock to Broadway, from
 Country to Motown," he explains.
     This was a vastly complicated undertaking which led to the creation of a
 proprietary algorithm that evaluates songs according to twenty different
 factors.  "Anybody could take a simple poll -- but that would merely be a
 popularity contest, like voting for homecoming queen," Godek says. "On the
 other hand, a list compiled by music critics runs the risk of being a little
 snobby.  I felt it was important that the Official List of the Best Love Songs
 of the 20th Century achieve that delicate balance between quality and
     Godek continues, "This list is more about the songs themselves than it is
 about any individual singer, album or style of music.  It is about songs the
 express the emotion, power, passion, tenderness, yearning, uniqueness,
 universality, and the highs and lows of love.  Every song on this List passed
 three tests: 1) The test of popularity, 2) The test of artistry, and 3) The
 test of longevity."
     How the "100 Best" List Was Compiled
     "Exactly what is it that makes a love song great, touching, and
 memorable?"  This simple question led the Romance Research Institute to an
 analysis of each song's melody, lyrics, rendition, emotional content,
 popularity, and fifteen additional factors.
     This undertaking began with a list of 2,500 popular love songs.  Through a
 series of surveys the list was pared to 1,000, then to 500.  These 500 songs
 were subjected to a complex series of analyses.  The best -- the most melodic,
 truthful, genuine, emotionally evocative, and beautifully sung -- songs
 emerged at the top of the list.
     Both objective and subjective techniques were used to compile the final
 list.  On the objective side:  The public was surveyed; the Billboard charts
 were analyzed; sales figures were tallied; and radio play lists were reviewed.
 On the subjective side:  Music critics were consulted; rock stars and DJs were
 interviewed; psychologists and sociologists were interviewed; focus groups
 were formed; books and articles were read.
     Godek then created the most sophisticated methodology ever devised for
 evaluating songs:  A proprietary algorithm was created that reveals a unique
 ranking for any group of songs that one might choose to evaluate.
     "The real innovation and secret to this project was the creation of what
 we call 'The Perfect Love Song' -- a mythical, impossible ideal -- but one
 against which every song can be judged," Godek reveals.  "The judging criteria
 includes both objective and subjective elements, similar to the way Olympic
 ice skaters are judged for both technical skill and artistic interpretation.
     "Questions we wrestled with include:  How do you compare a song that's
 sung to a lover, with a song that's about love?  How do you compare classic
 songs with current songs?  How do you compare songs that celebrate the glory
 of love with songs that lament a lost love?  What's the difference between a
 'romantic" song and a "love song'?"
     Godek invites you to wrestle with these questions, too -- and then to give
 your opinion about these -- and other -- love songs.  Vote for your favorites
     CONTACT:  Lorena Rostig, Extraordinary People Agency
               Work:  920-926-9973
               Fax:   920-926-9974

SOURCE Romance Research Institute