The best love songs in films

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The best love songs in films

Words by Benjamin Lamb

It's Valentines day, and we’re diving into some of the best love songs in some of our favourite movies.

Love Songs

There’s something undeniably special about the use of music in movies. It change the tone of a scene, and heightens the emotional impact of what we see on screen, from soaring elation, all the way to the lowest of lows. When it underscores a tug-on-your-heartstrings love scene, there’s no questioning the impact. Today, in celebration of Valentines day, we’re diving into some of the best love songs in films, weighing up the impact they had, and will continue to have, on audiences for years to come.

My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion 

Kicking it off, is perhaps the love song to end them all, ‘My Heart Will Go On’, from iconic vocalist Celine Dion. The mere mention of this track immediately conjures one of the most popular and well-regarded films of all time, James Cameron’s 1997 Titanic, a movie that had a love story like no other, regardless of whether or not you agree with its heroine’s raft hogging tendencies. The track was written for the movie, by James Horner and Will Jennings. It reached the number one spot in pretty much all corners of the world, including our ARIA charts, where it also reached platinum status. 

Shallow – Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper


Now for a newer outing, 2018’s ‘Shallow’ continues to cement its status as one of the most iconic love songs of all time. The track was first heard in Bradley Cooper’s Lady Gaga starring remake of A Star Is Born, who’s stars set the media alight with their chemistry on and off screen. Lyrically and musically, the track perfectly encapsulates the love between Gaga and Cooper’s characters in the film. ‘Shallow’ was written by Gaga alongside iconic producer Mark Ronson. 

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I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing – Aerosmith

Another old school epic, ‘I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing’ is still one of rock icons Aerosmith’s most popular tracks; continuing to be a fixture in their set lists to this day. It played a huge part in Armageddon, the 1998 film starring Bruce Willis and Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler’s daughter, Liv Tyler. It was written for the film by Dianne Warren, and was met with such a fervent response that the band went on to release it as their own single.

Hopelessly Devoted To You – Olivia Newton John 

Now for a bit of a local addition to the list of iconic love songs in films,  Australian icon Olivia Newton John’s song ‘Hopelessly Devoted To You’ quickly became one of the singer’s most popular and well recognised tracks. The song appeared in the film Grease, which Newton-John starred in alongside John Travolta. It was written by her long time Australian collaborator John Farrar, who was also behind the hit ‘You’re the One That I Want.’ There’s an interesting background to this song too, it was only written well into the production of Grease, after the producers still hadn’t written any vocal solos for Newton-John. Parts of the movie were already completed and edited before this song was even recorded. 

It Must Have Been Love – Roxette

‘It Must Have Been Love’ was first released back in 1987 by pop group Roxette to rave reviews from fans and music industry professionals alike. A few years later, the song ascended to the realms of the pop-culturally iconic, and will forever be associated with the best love songs in films after being used in the 1990 movie Pretty Woman. The song was slightly re-worked, with a few minor musical and lyrical changes, to make sure it aligned with the content of the movie. After its release, the song rocketed up the chats, hitting the number three spot on the UK Charts, and the top spot here in Australia, where it stayed for two weeks. 

It Had To Be You – Harry Connick Jr 

A current staple on our TVs, Harry Connick Jr has had a prolific career to date, with many tracks making their way onto the silver screen. This song finds its origins all the way back in 1924, where it was penned by Isham Jones and Gus Khan, and it has since been reworked and covered a number of times. Connick put his own spin on it for the 1989 film When Harry Met Sally, which starred Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. The film’s version of the song was recorded by Harry and his trio, who gave the track a soulful and funky feel, perfectly showcasing the protagonist’s deep and genuine connection.

Iris – The Goo Goo Dolls

There’s no question that we’ve all pumped the volume on this track in the car, and screamed our lungs out. ‘Iris’ has become one of the most popular rock ballads of all time. The song came to life in an interesting way, after the film City of Angels was completed, producers showed it to a whole host of different musicians, and asked them to create a song. Lead singer John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo’s happened to pen a song hours after seeing the movie, and that was what became ‘Iris’. The song has since garnered a great deal of critical acclaim – it’s not only made our list of best love songs in films, but was nominated for multiple Grammy Awards. 

I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston 

No matter what context you hear this song in, there’s no arguing that ‘I Will Always Love You’ always gets the eyes misty. Originally written and recorded by country icon Dolly Parton, Whitney Houston was behind the mic on this version. The song appeared in the 1992 film The Bodyguard, a film in which Houston also starred. After the track was chosen for the film, Houston and producer David Foster re-arranged it to be more soulful, and melancholic – in line with the movie’s themes. The track continues to top lists of best songs of all time, and is known as one of the most difficult songs to cover due to Houston’s high notes (see: hilarious, endlessly meme’d British child from the early aughts’ rendition).

City of Stars – Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone 

Now for a lesser-known track, this is certainly a worthy contender for the list. ‘City of Stars’, recorded by actors Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, appeared in Damien Chazelle’s beloved 2016 musical La La Land, somewhat of a contemporary re-interpretation of the classic Hollywood musical. The song was written by Justin Hurwitz, with lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, a trio that have developed an ardent following and a great deal of cultural acclaim following the film’s release. In a film that completely flips the idea of love on its head, the song perfectly encapsulates the emotions of the characters we see on screen.

Stay on the subject of love here.