The 80s was an era where love was in the air and R&B was dominating the music industry. The smooth and sultry sounds of the genre paired perfectly with lyrics that spoke of heartache, longing, and the intricacies of romance. From ballads that made you sway to up tempo tracks that had you grooving, it was a time where everyone could find a love song that resonated with them.
In this article, we’re taking a trip down memory lane to explore some of the most iconic and timeless 80s R&B love songs that still make us feel all the feels today.
“Careless Whisper” – George Michael
“Careless Whisper” is an iconic 80s R&B love song that continues to be cherished by audiences worldwide. The synthesizer hook and saxophone solo create an enchanting and captivating atmosphere that perfectly captures the passion and heartache of a fading love affair.
George Michael’s heartfelt delivery of the lyrics further amplifies the emotion of the song. Even though it was first released over three decades ago, “Careless Whisper” is still considered an essential part of any 80s music playlist and is sure to tug at any listener’s heartstrings.
“Every Breath You Take” – The Police
This sultry classic by British band The Police is still considered a prime example of 80s R&B love songs. The hypnotic beat and Sting’s ambiguous lyrics about obsessive love and intense possessiveness have made it a timeless favorite. It’s hard not to feel swept away by the song’s pulsing rhythms and seductive melodies.
With its undeniable grooves and mesmerizing chorus, “Every Breath You Take” is an essential addition to any collection of classic 80s R&B ballads.
“Time After Time” – Cyndi Lauper
Yo, let me just say, Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper is straight fire. This 80s R&B love jam has all the feels with its slow tempo and heartfelt lyrics. The way Lauper sings about a love that stands the test of time is simply brilliant.
The track’s smooth blend of R&B and synth-pop makes it a timeless classic. If you’re looking for a slow dance with your boo, or just need a good cry, Time After Time has got you covered.
“Hello” – Lionel Richie
Lionel Richie’s “Hello” is an R&B classic with smooth vocals and a soulful melody. The song’s opening phrase “Hello, is it me you’re looking for” is iconic, instantly recognizable, and evokes emotional intensity. This 80s love ballad is a perfect reflection of the era’s romantic ambiance, capturing a sense of passion and wonder that many other songs in the genre simply fail to do.
Whether you’re reminiscing about the past or just in the mood for some good old-fashioned R&B, “Hello” is a perfect choice.
“The Power of Love” – Huey Lewis and the News
“The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News is an R&B classic from the 80s that possesses an enigmatic sound that is both catchy and inspirational. The track culls its influence from the pulsating beats of the decade, channeling a buoyant energy that resonates deeply with the era’s lovers.
The powerful vocals of Lewis are matched with a chorus that celebrates the exuberance and allure of love, making it the perfect tune for both old and new generations.
“I Want to Know What Love Is” – Foreigner
Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is” is the ultimate emotional rollercoaster that leaves listeners feeling enigmatic and bewildered. It’s an exquisitely written song that explores the elusive nature of love and offers a sense of catharsis through its soulful melodies and engaging lyrics.
The soaring chorus is both irresistible and poignant, while the raw emotions in Lou Gramm’s voice are palpable and stirring. It’s a timeless anthem that captures the essence of 80s R&B and love songs with its dynamism and exuberance.
“I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” – UB40
UB40’s “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” is a classic 80s R&B love ballad that bursts with passion and emotion. The track’s mellow groove and smooth vocals provide a perfect accompaniment to the lyrics’ heartfelt declaration of love. The song’s perplexing beauty and soothing melody make it a timeless classic that continues to captivate audiences today.
With its powerful saxophone solo and soulful harmonies, “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” stands out as a prime example of 80s R&B at its finest.
“The Lady in Red” – Chris de Burgh
The twelfth track on the list is legendary crooner Chris de Burgh’s “The Lady in Red.” This slow, romantic ballad is a quintessential 80s love song with its undulating melodies and silky smooth vocals. Its R&B-tinged arrangement, complete with sizzling saxophone riffs, will make any lovebird’s heart flutter.
The song oozes sensuality and charm, with de Burgh professing his undying love for his lady in red. It’s a must-listen for anyone who wants to be transported back to the romantic era of the 80s.
“Eternal Flame” – The Bangles
Yo, this R&B jam from the 80s hits different! It’s all about heartbreak and trying to move on, but struggling to let go. The track has got some mean saxophone solos and smooth vocals that really capture the emotions of the lyrics.
You can feel the rawness and pain in every note. Whether you’re going through a tough breakup or just love some old-school R&B, this one’s definitely worth a listen. Get ready for the feels!
“I’ll Be There for You” – Bon Jovi
“I’ll Be There for You” by Bon Jovi is an iconic 80s R&B love ballad that showcases the band’s signature rock sound with heartfelt lyrics. The melody has a distinct power-ballad feel with plenty of emotional weight, and the lyrics express commitment and devotion to a significant other.
Bon Jovi’s soaring vocals coupled with lush instrumentation make “I’ll Be There for You” a standout love song of the era that will never go out of style.
“I’m Still Standing” – Elton John
“I’m Still Standing” by Elton John may seem like an odd pick for an R&B love song list, but it’s an 80s classic that’s all about resilience and self-love. Elton’s confident, upbeat vocals and the catchy melody prove that no matter what life throws your way, you can still stand tall.
The song’s positive message and joyful sound make it a perfect addition to any romantic playlist, whether you’re celebrating a new relationship or just reminding yourself to keep fighting for love.
“Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” – Starship
This track embodies the perfect blend of 80s pop and R&B. It’s a soaring ballad that showcases a range of emotions, from the purity of love to the tug of heartbreak. The lyrics are stirring, while the melody is sweet yet tangy – a musical oxymoron that captures the complexity of human relationships.
You can almost feel the yearning in the singer’s voice as they sing about the ups and downs of romance. Overall, it’s a timeless classic that still resonates with listeners today.
“Take My Breath Away” – Berlin
“Take My Breath Away” by Berlin is the quintessential 80s love song, with its soft melodies and lyrics that capture the magic of falling in love. The track, known for its appearance in the iconic film Top Gun, weaves a tale of two people being swept up in their passion for each other and losing themselves in the moment.
The song’s evocative instrumentals and emotive vocals make it a timeless classic that continues to be adored by fans of R&B and 80s music alike.
“Truly” – Lionel Richie
This track is a true classic and an iconic R&B ballad from the 80s. With its slow tempo and soulful vocals, it’s a perfect addition to any romantic playlist.
The song captures the essence of true love and devotion, with smooth instrumentation and heartfelt lyrics that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. If you’re in the mood for some old-school love vibes, this track is not one to miss!
“Don’t Dream It’s Over” – Crowded House
“Don’t Dream It’s Over” by Crowded House is a quintessential 80s love song with an R&B twist. The melodic blend of acoustic guitars, piano, and percussion creates a dreamy atmosphere that perfectly complements the soulful vocals.
Neil Finn’s poetic lyrics offer a message of hope and perseverance in the face of adversity, all while conveying a sense of deep longing and vulnerability. It’s a song that captures the essence of 80s R&B and continues to resonate with audiences decades later.
“If You Don’t Know Me by Now” – Simply Red
This emotional ballad sings the story of love, heartbreak, and the futility of trying to change someone. The R&B track is soulful and passionate, with a smooth melody that will send shivers down your spine. The powerful vocals and emotive lyrics will speak to anyone who’s ever been in love, and the song’s timeless quality means it’s just as relevant today as it was in the 80s.
Overall, this track is a must-listen for anyone searching for a heartfelt love song with a touch of R&B magic.
“Glory of Love” – Peter Cetera
“Glory of Love” by Peter Cetera is a quintessential 80s R&B love ballad that perfectly encapsulates the era’s emotive sound. Cetera’s vocal prowess combined with the rich instrumentals make this track a standout. The lyrics are deeply romantic and passionate, with words that reflect the ardent feelings of being in love.
The song’s soaring chorus is a true highlight and leaves a lasting impact. Overall, “Glory of Love” is a must-listen for any 80s R&B love song fan.
“Never Tear Us Apart” – INXS
This smooth R&B ballad captured the essence of romantic longing and desire in the 80s. With its sultry saxophone and soulful vocals, it’s easy to get lost in the intense emotions and heartfelt lyrics. You can feel the passion and intensity of the love story in the sound and rhythm of this timeless classic. It’s the kind of song that makes you want to slow dance with that special someone and never let go.
“I’ve Had the Time of My Life” – Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
Next on our list of 80s R&B love songs is a mesmerizing track that continues to reign over the hearts of many. This timeless ballad embodies a rich blend of soulful voices and heartwarming lyrics that speak to the depths of true love. With its spellbinding melody and poignant harmonies, this song is sure to make anyone swoon with intense emotion.
So, if you’re looking for a classic R&B love song that captures the essence of passion and romance, this is definitely one to add to your playlist.
“I Want to Hold Your Hand” – The Beatles
This 80s R&B love song from one of the most iconic bands in music history is a must-listen for those who appreciate emotional ballads. The song’s soft-rock sound and endearing lyrics speak to the longing of a love that is true, lost, and yet always on one’s mind.
With the classic romantic themes of holding hands and wanting someone to be by your side, this tune hits the emotional chords and transports the listener back to the era of big hair, flashy colors, and timeless love anthems.
“Let’s Stay Together” – Al Green
The smooth groove of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” made it an instant classic of the 80s love songs R&B sub-genre. The soulful vocals and simple yet effective instrumental arrangement create a captivating and passionate atmosphere.
The song’s sentimental and romantic lyrics are complemented by Al Green’s irresistible charisma and vocal prowess, making it a perennial favorite for couples looking to capture the essence of true love. Even today, it remains a prime example of timeless love songs that never go out of style.
“Endless Love” – Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey
This smooth and soulful ballad by K-Ci and JoJo, “All My Life”, is a timeless classic that was released in the mid 90s but still resonates with listeners today. The silky smooth vocals paired with the heartfelt lyrics telling the story of a true love that lasts a lifetime, make this an essential track for any R&B music lover, especially those who are drawn to love songs from the 80s and 90s.
The song’s emotive power and musical arrangements make it a perfect choice for any romantic occasion or simply for a night spent alone with your thoughts.
“Unchained Melody” – The Righteous Brothers
This irresistible R&B classic is the epitome of 80s romance. With its soulful lyrics and haunting melody, it perfectly captures the intensity of a passionate love affair. The heartfelt vocals and soaring harmonies make it impossible not to be swept away by the emotion of the song.
Whether you’re in the throes of a new relationship or reminiscing about an old flame, this iconic track is sure to tug at your heartstrings. So grab a box of tissues and get ready to be transported back to the golden age of love songs.
“When a Man Loves a Woman” – Percy Sledge
“When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge is a soulful and passionate love song that embodies the classic R&B sound of the 80s. Sledge’s emotive and powerful vocals are accompanied by a steady, melodic beat that will pull at your heartstrings. The song’s heartfelt lyrics explore the depths of true love, making it a staple for any playlist dedicated to the era’s romantic ballads.
Sledge’s performance in this timeless classic is a testament to his incredible musical talent and the enduring appeal of R&B music from the 80s.
“Can’t Fight This Feeling” – REO Speedwagon
This R&B ballad defined the essence of love in the 80s with its soulful lyrics and smooth vocal harmonies. It encapsulates the emotional journey of falling in love, using passionate metaphors to describe the sensation of being overwhelmed by someone’s affection.
Its tender melody and heartfelt delivery make it a timeless classic that still resonates with lovers today. “Can’t Fight This Feeling” by REO Speedwagon is the perfect representation of unbridled romance in the 80s, a reminder of the power of love in an era of excess and decadence.
“Open Arms” – Journey
This 80s classic by Journey, “Open Arms”, is a timeless R&B ballad that will make your heart skip a beat. The soaring vocals and emotional lyrics perfectly capture the feelings of falling deeply in love. With lush instrumentation and a powerful chorus, “Open Arms” remains a standout love song of the era.
Whether you’re a hopeless romantic or just appreciate the artistry of a great love song, this one is sure to hit you right in the feels.
“I’ll Be Loving You (Forever)” – New Kids on the Block
This power ballad by New Kids on the Block brings a burst of emotional intensity to any ’80s love songs playlist. “I’ll Be Loving You (Forever)” showcases the band’s R&B roots with soaring harmonies and a smooth, crooning lead vocal. The song’s passionate chorus explodes with heart-wrenching emotion, making it an unforgettable anthem of everlasting love.
With its heartfelt lyrics and timeless melody, this classic track is sure to leave you feeling all the feels.
“Lost in Love” – Air Supply
“Lost in Love” by Air Supply is the epitome of tender love songs that dominated the 80s R&B genre. With its captivating melody and heartfelt lyrics, the song transported listeners to a world of pure romance and emotional longing. It’s a beautiful ballad that speaks to the woes and emotions of love, while showcasing the impeccable vocal range and harmonies of Air Supply.
Perfect for a slow dance or a cozy evening in, “Lost in Love” remains a timeless classic that will continue to evoke tender feelings for generations to come.
“Total Eclipse of the Heart” – Bonnie Tyler
“Total Eclipse of the Heart” is a soulful rock ballad by Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler. Released in 1983, it became a classic love song of the 80s, earning Tyler a Grammy nomination and worldwide acclaim. The song features powerful vocals and emotional lyrics, making it a favorite for lovers and hopeless romantics alike.
Tyler’s raspy voice adds to the passionate nature of the song, making it a staple in 80s R&B playlists. With its soaring chorus and intense instrumental breaks, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” is an unforgettable addition to the decade’s greatest love songs.
“I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” – Meat Loaf
This track is a real banger, perfect for those moments when you’re thinking about love. It’s an emotionally charged tune that speaks to the hardships of relationships but the power of love. With soaring vocals, a pulsing drum beat, and poignant lyrics, it’ll make you feel all the feels. This 80s R&B love song is a testament to the enduring power of love and how it can conquer all obstacles.
“The Flame” – Cheap Trick
Cheap Trick’s “The Flame” is a power ballad that speaks of the tumultuous nature of love. Its lyrics are heavy with intense emotion and the delivery is dramatic, with soaring vocals and memorable guitar riffs. The song’s 80s R&B influences can be felt in its soulful melodies and passionate performance.
“The Flame” is a testament to the complexity of love, from its joys to its pains, and reminds us that it truly is a force to be reckoned with.
“Heaven” – Bryan Adams
“Heaven” by Bryan Adams fits impeccably with the 80s love songs R&B collection. It’s a perfect blend of rock and ballad, with a guitar solo that takes you through a wide range of emotions. Adams’ robust vocals, combined with the song’s powerful lyrics, make it a must-listen for enthusiasts of the era.
“Heaven” is a clear masterpiece of the 80s, and one that offers something special for anyone listening to it, whether you’re searching for an anthem for your loved one or something to sing in the shower.
“Love Bites” – Def Leppard
Def Leppard’s “Love Bites” is a slow burn love song that uses power balladry to portray the unease that accompanies potent emotions. Released in 1987, the song features strong vocals and a hard-hitting guitar solo, which are signature hallmarks of Def Leppard.
“Love Bites” makes for a fascinating addition to an R&B love songs playlist from the 80s, given how it juxtaposes the over-the-top grandiosity of rock balladry with the raw emotionality of R&B love songs.
“I’ll Stand by You” – The Pretenders
This tune, “I’ll Stand by You” by The Pretenders, is a heartfelt and passionate ballad that has all the feels of an classic R&B love song. The lead vocals are soulful and emotive, delivering lyrics about unwavering loyalty and devotion to a loved one.
Pair that with the powerful instrumentation, and you’ve got yourself a timeless track that still resonates with fans of ’80s love songs to this day. It’s a song that’s perfect for slow dancing with that special someone or just getting lost in feelings of adoration and commitment.
“Love Song” – Tesla
“Love Song” by Tesla is a power ballad that was released in 1989. It features soulful and heartfelt lyrics that express the overwhelming feeling of love. The song’s sultry vocals and melodic guitar riffs provide an apt backdrop for a passionaWith its memorable chorus and powerful delivery, “Love Song” is a great addition to any playlist centered around 80s R&B love songs.
“Love Will Keep Us Together” – Captain & Tennille
“Love Will Keep Us Together” by Captain & Tennille is an upbeat, catchy 80s love song with a touch of R&B. The song is about the power of love in keeping a couple together through thick and thin.
With its cheerful melody and optimistic lyrics, this song is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and make you want to dance with your significant other. It’s the perfect addition to any romantic playlist or feel-good 80s mix.