Let’s face it. The ’90s was an amazing decade of music which bestowed a seemingly endless supply of unforgettable love songs for the world to enjoy. It was a much different decade in music than the ’80s was. The ’90s love ballad is a genre in and of itself but these songs spanned every type of music. Whether you were a fan of pop, R&B, hip hop, country, it didn’t matter. Everyone was doing it. There was just something about that era of song writing that really brought forth many songs that are still being played and enjoyed regularly today.
I have compiled a list of some of my favorite love songs to come out of the ’90s. This list is obviously not all inclusive. They are just a few of the ones that stick out for me. Some of these songs you may have heard recently. Others you may be hearing for the first time in a long time. But all of them are prime examples of what ’90s love songs were all about.
1) I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston (1993)
This song was originally recorded in 1974 by Dolly Parton. But it is Whitney Houston’s ’90s version that has become to most well known and loved of the two. It was used as the theme song for the film The Bodyguard which also starred Whitney Houston. It’s a great example of how powerful a song can be when it is stripped down and sung from the heart.
2) My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion (1997)
This song has been called one of the greatest love songs of all time so it’s no surprise that it would make our list of the best love songs of the ’90s. Celine Dion took home six Grammys for this power ballad which was catapulted to popularity by its inclusion in the hit film “Titanic”.
3) I’ll Stand By You – The Pretenders (1994)
Even though it only peaked at number sixteen on the Billboard Hot 100, I’ll Stand By You has claimed its place in history as a ’90s classic. Several versions of this song have been done over the years by artists such as Shania Twain and Carrie Underwood. Still nothing beats the original.
4) Crash Into Me – Dave Matthews Band (1996)
This song is easily one of my favorites of all time. Dave Matthews wrote the song on the campus of Sweet Briar College. It was inspired by his wife, Ashley Harper. Even though it would go on to peak at only number seven on the Billboard charts, it is still a well known and loved classic today. It is one of the most covered songs of all time, most notably by Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac who would later release her own version as a single.
5) I’ll Make Love To You – Boyz II Men (1992)
If I had to pick any song on this list that I would choose as my personal number one that I believe truly exemplifies that time period in music it would probably have to be this one. Boyz II Men put out many amazing ballad but this one is among their most well known of all time. They were truly the epitome of what the ’90s love ballad was all about.
6) Mariah Carey – Always Be My Baby (1996)
Mariah Carey has always had a knack for love songs. Always Be My Baby is one of my personal favorites from her entire collection. Unlike many ’90s love songs it is upbeat and fun while still also sticking with the “pour out your heart” lyrical content that we have all come to expect from songs of the ’90s. And the critics agreed. Carey went on to win several awards for this song including a Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
7) Truly, Madly, Deeply – Savage Garden (1997)
Among one of the most loved songs of the ’90s Truly, Madly, Deeply was released by the Australian band Savage Garden in 1997. It was a reworking of their song Magical Kisses from their debut album. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in January 1998 where it stayed for two weeks. It would remain on the charts for one full year.
8) Nothing Compares 2U – Sinead O’Connor
You can’t have a list of ’90s love ballads without Nothing Compares 2u. This song was originally written and composed by Prince as part of a side project that he was working on at the time. The song would go on to be immortalized by Sinead O’Connor. From an iconic music video to going on to become the third best selling single of 1990 it has earned its place in the ’90s music hall of fame.
9) Wonderwall – Oasis (1995)
Not only is this one of my favorite love songs but it is included in my top three favorite songs of all time. Like Crash Into Me it has become one of the most heavily covered songs through the years. While Oasis released many great songs during the ’90s, Wonderwall is their most well known and well loved. It has been featured in movies and television shows but my favorite use of the song has been when it was sung by the character Charlie Pace in the hit television series Lost.
10) You Were Meant For Me – Jewel (1996)
The 1996 version of this love song classic was actually the third version of the song recorded by Jewel, with the first two receiving negative reviews from critics. It would go on to reach number two on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2013 when the Billboard All Time 100 list was recalculated You Were Meant For Me claimed its place at number seventeen.