Every music genre has good and bad songs, and even the genre of “cheesy love songs” has had some noteworthy tunes over the years. From Celine Dion’s Titanic love ballad to a romantic Top Gun track, these are the best cheesy love songs of all-time.
Cheesy Love Songs
#8: The Lady in Red, Chris DeBurgh
British singer-songwriter Chris DeBurgh wrote this 1986 hit about his wife. “I’ve never seen so many men ask you if you wanted to dance,” DeBurgh sings on the mostly-autobiographical tale of love. “The Lady in Red” reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it by far the biggest hit of DeBurgh’s career in the U.S.
#7: Faithfully, Journey
“Faithfully” is actually a really good song, but the funny thing is that it’s a lyrical examination of life on the road as a member of a touring rock band. So instead of creating a love song with universal appeal, Journey instead reduced the target audience for this track to tiny demographic of the population. Still, Steve Perry’s vocals take the song to great heights.
#6: Groovy Kind of Love, Phil Collins
Lyrics don’t get much simpler than: “When I’m feeling blue / All I have to do / Is take a look at you / Then I’m not so blue.” The love song was written in 1965 but charted most famously for Phil Collins in 1988, when it appeared on the Buster soundtrack and reached #1 on the singles chart.
#5: When I See You Smile, Bad English
If you’re looking for tacky songs, just search for the words “Written by Diane Warren” and you’ll find more than you could ever hope for. The veteran songwriter Warren has penned such questionable tracks as “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion, “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship, “Music of My Heart” by N Sync & Gloria Estefan, and dozens more. “When I See You Smile” is the best of the bunch, a sweet sentiment packaged in the form of a rock ballad.
#4: My Heart Will Go On, Celine Dion
Titanic and its theme song “My Heart Will Go On” have a lot in common. Both were hugely successful and both were incredibly cheesy. Yet both are too good to write off entirely. The most impressive thing about this smash hit is that Celine Dion recorded the song only once for the demo and never returned to the studio. Her original recording was good enough to use on the final, polished version.
#3: Nothing Compares 2 U, Sinead O’Connor
I hesitate to put this song on the list because it’s only borderline-cheesy. The classic love song features a great vocal performance by Sinead O’Connor. And it’s written by Prince, so it has credibility. But some of the lyrics are a bit silly. Why would a doctor tell someone, “Girl you need to have fun no matter what you do?”
#2: I Want to Know What Love Is, Foreigner
When a credible rock band unleashes its power ballad, the cheese meter usually goes through the roof. “I Want to Know What Love Is” took the pop ballad to a new level with its sappy, yearning sentiment and a guest performance from the New Jersey Mass Choir. It was a #1 single for Foreigner, one of several big hits by the band in the early ’80s.
#1: Take My Breath Away, Berlin
A movie appearance can help make any ballad tacky. “Take My Breath Away” grabs the listener’s attention with its opening notes and soaring vocal performance from Berlin’s Terri Nunn. The problem is that you picture Top Gun, Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis every time the song comes on. For being a good song with an unfortunate association, “Take My Breath Away” is the best cheesy love song of all-time.
The Best Cheesy Love Songs of All-Time: Honorable Mention
Never Gonna Let You Go, Sergio Mendes
The Rose, Bette Midler
After All, Cher & Peter Cetera
Secret Lovers, Atlantic Starr
Lady in Red, Chris DeBurgh
Heaven, Bryan Adams
You’re Beautiful, James Blunt