The Best 1990s Love Songs (Most Popular Hits)

Love is that one fundamental emotion that drives so much of our lives. So it is no surprise that music has always been a popular way to express the complexities of this powerful emotion. And the 90s gave us a fantastic selection of love songs.

Whether you are looking for epic ballads, powerfully emotionally charged masterpieces, smooth soulful R&B jams, or slow songs from the 90s that pull on the heartstrings, this list has you covered. 

Table of Contents

Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You

Kicking off the list is this stunningly powerful ballad from Whitney Houston. This reimagining of Dolly Parton’s 1994 hit song was a massive success in 1992 and was part of the soundtrack for the movie The Bodyguard.

This epic song featured Whitney Houston’s amazing vocal talents and managed to top the charts for 14 weeks and sell 20 million copies worldwide. The highest-selling single by a solo female artist. Emotionally charged and featuring an epic saxophone solo by Kirk Whalum, this soulful ballad deserves all the praise it gets being one of the best 90s songs of all time.

Celine Dion – My Heart Will Go On

Staying with the soundtrack theme, who could forget this lovely song that led the charge for the smash hit movie Titanic. Celine Dion lends her skills to craft an emotional piece that will forever be linked with the late 90s.

Released in 1997, it was a monstrous success, sold 18 million copies, hit the number one position in a staggering number of countries, and picked up numerous awards. A power ballad like no other that builds and builds to an epic payoff.

Janet Jackson – That’s The Way Love Goes

Not every great love song needs to be an epic power ballad. This release from Janet Jackson in 1993 is a perfect example. It also heralded a new era for Janet Jackson after signing to Virgin Records and a shift to a more mature and sultry image.

This slow groove features some spicy lyrics that highlight the transition. Excellent utilization of a few old-school samples helps blur the line between pop and R&B. It was also a commercial success reaching number 1 in several countries.

Backstreet Boys – I Want It That Way

Ah, boy bands, you either love them or hate them. But there is no denying their impact on the music industry in the 90s. And the biggest of them all was Backstreet Boys. Closing out the 90s with this lead single from their third album, it became one of the most popular songs of 1999.

A smooth pop jam that weaves romance-based lyrics and highlights the group’s talents. It dominated the charts and was certified triple platinum in the US. But the question remains what way is that way anyway?

Bon Jovi – Always

There was a string of fantastic power ballads throughout the 80s, but this 90s hit from Bon Jovi kept the power ballad alive and well in the new decade. Released in 1994, it solidified Bon Jovi as a powerhouse rock group and was among their most successful releases.

An incredible vocal journey that highlights Jon Bon Jovi’s fantastic vocal talent. An ode to eternal love from a former lover that is still hopelessly in love. Sprinkle in some grand piano and orchestral strings, and it is no wonder it has gone down as a must-listen power ballad.

Usher – Nice & Slow

Let’s shift gear from the epic power ballad scene and move towards something groovier and sexier. This fantastic song from Usher is the perfect antithesis to the power ballad. Smooth and slow R&B grooves that are dripping with sexual energy.

This 1998 release was an excellent follow-up to Usher’s debut single, You Make Me Wanna. It highlights Usher’s range. Capable of dancier hits but right at home with sensual slow grooves. And fans agreed, sending it all the way to number one on the Billboard charts.

Toni Braxton – Un-Break My Heart

In 1996 Toni Braxton released her second single from her second studio album, and Un-Break My Heart became one of her career’s defining tracks. Written by Diane Warren, one of the most successful songwriters of all time, this emotional track was a huge success.

Recounting the pain of heartbreak, Toni Braxton weaves her way through her full vocal range to deliver a powerful performance. It sold over 10 million copies worldwide and held the number one position in the USA for eleven weeks. Epic!

Aerosmith – I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing

Diane Warren was at it again with this powerful rock ballad, though she never envisioned it ending as a song for the hard rock band Aerosmith! It was released in 1998 as the official theme song for the movie Armageddon.

It was never meant to see a general release, but due to popular demand, it was released as a solo single and instantly debuted at number one on the Billboard charts. It was also Aerosmiths most popular release and, to this day, is a staple for slow dances.

All-4-One – I Swear

Boy bands were a popular fixture of the 90s music scene, and the R&B side of the music industry also embraced it. The most notable is Boyz II Men, but another popular group was All-4-One.

In 1994 they released their debut album, and the lead single was I Swear. A song originally recorded by the country artist John Michael Montgomery just a year earlier. This cover hit the number one position on the charts and kept hold of that spot for 11 weeks making is one of the best one hit wonders of the 90s.

Mariah Carey – Always Be My Baby

While most love songs tend to have a slower groove Mariah Carey proved that an upbeat love song could work. This more joyous reflection of a former relationship is an exceptionally smooth jam that leaves a smile on your face.

It was also a great success as the third single from Mariah Carey’s fifth album. It reached the coveted number one position and went five times platinum. When you need something a little more lively, give this one a listen.

Goo Goo Dolls – Iris

Soft rock is an excellent genre for love songs, and this hit from the Goo Goo Dolls is a shining example. Written for the City of Angels soundtrack, John Rzeznik was so moved by the themes in the movie he wrote the song just one day after watching a preview screening.

This power ballad proved exceptionally popular, saw plenty of airtime on the radio, charted high across several countries, and sold seven million copies in the US. A powerful ballad drenched with emotion.

Boyz II Men – I’ll Make Love To You

Possibly the kings of smooth R&B love songs, Boyz II Men, were firing on all cylinders when their second album was released. The lead single I’ll Make Love To You is a perfect example of a powerful R&B love song.

It was a massive hit for the group and dominated the Billboard chart for 14 weeks. It also won the 1995 Grammy award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Silky, smooth, and gloriously powerful from start to finish. 

Savage Garden – Truly Madly Deeply

After achieving some success with their single, I Want You, the Australian Pop Duo Savage Garden went about recording their first full album. While spending so much time away from his wife and family, Darren Hayes had a longing to pour his feelings into a song.

Together with Daniel Jones, Truly Madly Deeply was born. A fantastic pop ballad that encapsulates longing for your loved one. It resonated with audiences and reached number one in the US, Australia, and Canada.

Jennifer Lopez – If You Had My Love

The merging of genres in the late 90s was in full force. This mid-tempo pop song also borrowed from R&B, hip-hop, and Latin influences and was the debut single from Jennifer Lopez’s first studio album, On the 6, released in 1999.

It’s a catchy tune and details J-Lo’s demands and reservations toward a would-be suitor. It became one of Jennifer Lopez’s biggest hits and reached number one in the US and many other countries, cementing her as a pop sensation.

Bryan Adams – (Everything I Do) I Do It For You

By the time the 90s began, Bryan Adamas was already a massive star. In 1991 this fantastic power ballad was released as the lead single for the movie Robin Hood: Princes of Thieves and was also a part of his sixth studio album.

This heartfelt soft rock tune weaved in wonderfully rich and emotional lyrics and was hugely successful. It sold over 15 million copies and topped the charts in over 30 countries. Notably, it was also covered by Brandy in 1999.

K-Ci & JoJo – All My Life

Whenever you need to indulge in a smooth, soulful love song, look no further than this fantastic song from K-Ci & JoJo. It’s a love ballad that expertly blends R&B and soul with impactful lyrics filled with devotion and love.

Released in 1998 as the third single from their first studio album, it sold 700,00 copies in the US alone. But the appeal and reach of this song stretched to several other countries, where it also topped the charts and reached Gold or Platinum status.

Take That – Back for Good

The British have a habit of creating fantastic all-male bands, and the pop sensation Take That is just one of many. By the time 1995 rolled around, they had already solidified themselves as a force in the UK. Take That is also where Robbie Williams got his start in the music industry.

Crafting a tale of apology and longing, it’s a beautiful pop ballad. It was so huge that the release date had to be moved up after its debut at the 1995 BRIT Awards. Upon release, it instantly hit number one in the UK and saw Take That finally crack the top 10 in the US.

Spice Girls – 2 Become 1

The Spice Girls were among the most successful girl groups of the 90s, and their infectious energy and unique character saw them gather a huge international following. After the success of their first two dancier releases, this Pop ballad highlighted the group’s range.

A lovely song that details how two people bond and form a romantic connection. It was also a commercial success giving the group their third number one single in the UK, and worldwide it comfortably reached the top 10 in several countries.

Wet Wet Wet – Love Is All Around

Scottish soft rock band Wet Wet Wet formed in 1982, but it wasn’t until 1994 that they reached international success with Love Is All Around. This cover of The Troggs rock and roll UK hit also served as the lead track for the movie Four Weddings And A Funeral.

It sat atop the UK charts for 15 weeks and was a chart-topping hit in Australia and Europe. It also reached #41 on the Billboard charts. A timeless masterpiece that easily holds its place among the best love songs of the 90s and beyond.

Elton John – Can You Feel the Love Tonight

Elton John is one of the most significant artists of all time. An icon with a career that has spanned decades. In the 90s, he teamed up with Tim Rice to write Can You Feel The Love Tonight for the Disney animated movie The Lion King.

It peaked at number four on the US Billboard charts and was a top ten global hit. A fantastic pop and soft rock ballad, it won the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and Academy Award for Best Original Song.

All You Need Is Love

Love songs hold a special place in the hearts of many. From inspiring romantics to easing the pain of a broken heart, they are a staple across all music genres. The 90s graced us with a superb selection of love songs that continue to be popular today.

Whether you need some slow songs for a wedding or enjoy curling up on a cold winter night with your loved one, there is something special about love songs that no other topic can match.

Watch The Full Playlist

The full playlist with every song in this post can be watched via the video below or directly on our YouTube channel.

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Article by Robert Calabrese
Article by Robert Calabrese

Robert has over 15 years of experience working in the digital marketing industry. From a very young age he was influenced by music theory as part of his education and played a variety of instruments. From there, his passion moved into electronic music and the equipment used to create it. Using his education and experience, Robert started his own digital marketing company and successfully operates his business in the music industry.

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