Top 96 Soft Rock Songs of the 20th Century
, Program Director
96. This tune, written by Todd Rundgren, was the Austin, Texas duo’s last soft rock hit. From 1979: England Dan and John Ford Coley "Love Is the Answer"
95. Originally from Montreal, now living in Portland, a former drummer with a very distinctive voice, perhaps the male equivalent to Cher. Gino Vannelli "Living Inside Myself"
94. Named after a resort town near Melbourne, Australia, this band formed Down Under emerged from the ashes of Mississippi, a band named after a state in the southern United States. That’s not really so strange. There was only one Australian in the original band. From 1979, The Little River Band "Cool Change"
93. Cross-dressing, quick-witted lead singer Boy George brought this British pop-soul group to the top of the pops in both the U.S. and the U.K. in 1983. However, drug addiction was to tear them apart. Culture Club "Karma Chameleon"
92. "Hey, let’s have a couple lead singers from hard rock bands do our love theme!" In the real world, the guy from Footloose who suggested this would have been fired. In Hollywood, it had a happy ending! Mike Reno (from Loverboy) and Ann Wilson (from Heart), "Almost Paradise"
91. Leaving the Commodores turned out to be a smart business move. This is from his amazing string of top 10 hits in the early ‘80s: Lionel Richie "My Love"
90. From the winner of 1982’s Best New Artist award at the Grammys, this was the smash hit from the Australian group’s Business As Usual album. Men At Work "Down Under"
89. They had 10 hits in the top 40, but this was the biggest hit for Boz Scaggs’s former backup band. From 1982, Toto "Africa"
88. The Detroit native’s first number one hit after leaving the Supremes in 1969. Diana Ross "Ain’t No Mountain High Enough"
87. One of England’s most successful New Romantic synth-pop bands from the early ‘80s. Spandau Ballet "True"
86. The drummer from Tommy Roe’s backup band with his only hit, a romantic fantasy about being in the Bogart/Bacall film of the same name. Bertie Higgins "Key Largo"
85. Formerly with the Champs ("Tequila"), this Texas-born duo moved to L.A. to become soft-rock mainstays. Seals and Crofts "We May Never Pass This Way (Again)"
84. From Tuskegee, Alabama, this former lead singer of the Commodores became one of the most popular solo artists of the early ‘80s. Lionel Richie "Truly"
83. One of the Christian music scene’s biggest stars, while still a teenager crossed over in a big way to the pop charts with this #1 smash duet with the former Chicago member. Peter Cetera and Amy Grant "The Next Time I Fall"
82. VH1 produced a movie earlier this year about a band called Stoneground that disappeared after Woodstock. Actually, only their female singer disappeared. The rest resurfaced as this mellow San Francisco-based band. While disco was sweeping the country in the late ‘70s, they managed a couple of tuneful hits. Pablo Cruise "Love Will Find A Way"
81. The critics were not kind to this bassist-singer-songwriter’s work in the 1970s. Nonetheless, he could still write a mighty catchy tune after the Beatles. Paul McCartney and Wings "With A Little Luck"
80. This band consisted of two Swedish couples who married and divorced during the band’s lifetime. It doesn’t seem to have stopped them from making some of the most infectious bubblegum music of all time. Abba "Dancing Queen"
79. From the multi-platinum Rumours album came this song, later to be used as Bill Clinton’s campaign song. Fleetwood Mac "Don’t Stop"
78. This ethereal British trio turned out to be a one-hit wonder, but what a wonderful hit. Dream Academy "Life In A Northern Town."
77. No one would guess that this group formed in New York City. From 1966, after changing their base of operations. The Mamas and the Papas "California Dreamin’"
76. She can belt it out like no one else. Whitney Houston "I Wanna Dance With Somebody Who Loves Me"
75. This British singer, keyboardist, and guitarist was already famous for his work with the Spencer Davis Group (remember "Gimme Some Lovin’" – that’s him singing), Traffic, and Blind Faith (with Eric Clapton) before moving to a more soft rock style in the late ‘70s. Steve Winwood "Back In the High Life Again"
74. A country-rock band from Cincinnati of all places, from the Bustin’ Out album. Pure Prairie League "Amie"
73. This trio, two Americans and an Englishman, formed in London in 1969, moved to the U.S. in 1972, and promptly received the 1972 Best New Artist Grammy award for songs like this. America "Ventura Highway"
72. A true-one hit wonder. His vocals share a great resemblance to cousin Kenny’s. Dave Loggins "Please Come To Boston"
71. Philadelphia vocal trio’s biggest hit. Three Degrees "When Will I See You Again"
70. A minor masterpiece from 25 years ago, with backing vocals by the Beach Boys. Chicago "Wishing You Were Here"
69. This mellow country-rock band was formed in Boulder in the mid-70s from the ashes of the Flying Burrito Brothers. Firefall "Just Remember I Love You"
68. Burt Bacharach penned this super hit for the former Blue Belle joined by a former Doobie Brother. Patti Labelle and Michael McDonald "On My Own"
67. This was the Chicago native’s first big hit after leaving the band Chicago in 1985. Peter Cetera "Glory of Love"
66. The first pop hit for this regular on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and member of the original cast of Hair in Los Angeles. Seattle-born Jennifer Warnes, "The Right Time of the Night"
65. Originally from Tucson, she has one of soft rock’s greatest voices. Linda Ronstadt "Long Long Time"
64. Like Phil Collins, the male artist here started in the rhythm section, playing the bass for Chicago before becoming their lead singer. The female artist is the consummate entertainer with a voice like no other. Cher and Peter Cetera "After All"
63. Pop-rock masterpiece from the Scotsman’s City to City album. Gerry Rafferty "Baker Street"
62. Written and sung by a Scottish wine collector, this song, written about British comedian Tony Hancock and produced by Alan Parsons, has a timeless quality about it. Al Stewart "Time Passages"
61. This "blue-eyed soul" duo from California weren’t really brothers. This was their first big hit, produced with Phil Spector’s trademark Wall of Sound. TheRighteous Brothers "You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’"
60. Soulful to the max, this song was a huge hit for the former nurse in 1966. In England, he even had a second hit with it in 1987 due to its inclusion in a Levi’s commercial! Percy Sledge "When A Man Loves A Woman"
59. Originally released only in Japan, backed by a Japanese string quartet, this song was made popular by the few U.S. radio stations, Mixx 96.1 among them, who got hold of the Japanese release months before it surfaced in the U.S. Celine Dion "To Love You More"
58. A huge hit from 1984 from one of the true superstars of soft rock, who started in London as a child actor and went on to become the drummer in progressive rock group Genesis. Phil Collins "Against All Odds (Take A Look at Me Now)"
57. It’s Déjà vu all over again! Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young "Teach Your Children"
56. Originally written for Marilyn Monroe, this rewrite earned 33 million dollars for The Princess Diana Memorial Fund. Elton John "Candle In the Wind –1997"
55. This song was recorded three days before his death in a plane crash at the age of 26. Otis Redding "Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay"
54. Their first hit, and a perfect summer song, which, ironically, became a hit in the Fall of 1972. Seals and Crofts "Summer Breeze"
53. Until this song, this band was better known as a hot funk band, as anyone who has heard "Brick house" or "Slippery When Wet" can attest. Featuring the lead vocals of Lionel Richie, the Commodores "Easy."
52. One of three number 1 singles from her 13-million copy selling debut album. Whitney Houston "How Will I Know"
51. From Abbey Road. Glorious. The Beatles "Here Comes the Sun"
50. One of the most successful songwriters of the ‘60s for other artists, this became her first self-recorded number one hit from the classic Tapestry album. Carole King "It’s Too Late"
49. This poignant song comes from 1973’s Don’t Shoot Me I’m only the Piano Player album. Elton John "Daniel"
48. Emigrating to Southern California from England may have led to much internal friction, but the turmoil within didn’t stop their Rumours album from becoming one of the best-selling albums of all time on both sides of the pond. Fleetwood Mac "Dreams"
47. This Australian duo met through one of those "let’s form a band" ads in a local paper and rapidly turned the land Down Under upside down with their ‘90s update on the ‘80s synth-Band sound. Their 3rd US single went to #1 in December 1997 and became our most requested song of 1998: Savage Garden "Truly Madly Deeply"
46. From the most influential rock group ever at the end of their illustrious career. The Beatles "Let It Be"
45. The Grammy award-winning Song of the Year from The Stranger album. Billy Joel "Just the Way You Are"
44. One of the first rock bands to experiment with classical sounds, from their landmark album Days of Future Passed. Moody Blues "Nights In White Satin"
43. This sentimental singer-songwriter has never found much fame beyond his native Canada. However, this particular song is still one of the certified soft rock classics 22 years after its release. His other hit, "Can’t We Try," was with Vonda Shepard 10 years before Ally McBeal propelled her to stardom. Dan Hill "Sometimes When We Touch"
42. From their first album, released in the summer of ’70, this song was co-written by Jackson Browne. The Eagles "Take It Easy"
41. The term "singer-songwriter" was practically invented for this artist. Ironically, he achieved his first number one hit with this song written by Carole King. James Taylor "You’ve Got A Friend"
40. Formed at Alabama’s Tuskegee (tusk/kee/gee <hard g>) Institute, including saxophonist Lionel Richie, this band went on to great success with the Motown label. From 1978, the Commodores "Three Times A Lady"
39. Linda Ronstadt’s backup band didn’t hit it big with this song from their self-titled debut album, but it’s gone down as a classic in the country-rock genre. The Eagles "Peaceful Easy Feeling"
38. The love theme from An Officer and a Gentleman, filmed in Port Townsend. Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes "Up Where We Belong"
37. This was one of four Top 10 singles from an album that sold more than 17-million copies, Rumours. Fleetwood Mac "You Make Loving Fun"
36. Formed as Tom and Jerry, this New York City duo sported songs with superb lyrics and angelic harmonies. Simon and Garfunkel "Bridge Over Troubled Water"
35. From his 1980 Phoenix album, one of the most beautiful soft rock love songs. Dan Fogelberg "Longer"
34. The song that introduced us to soft rock’s most enduring artist, from 1970: Elton John "Your Song"
33. For all of us who’ve ever wished we’d said the right thing while we still had the chance. From Genesis bassist Mike Rutherford and a super-group from various English bands. Mike + The Mechanics "The Living Years"
32. From Broadway to a nightclub act with Barry Manilow to a movie role as Janis Joplin. Bette Midler "The Rose"
31. This group of English brothers staged a remarkable comeback by bringing the disco sound to all America in 1975. From Saturday Night Fever: Bee Gees "How Deep Is Your Love"
30. One of soft rock’s great love songs, also number one for Mariah Carey and Luther Vandross. Lionel Richie and Diana Ross "Endless Love"
29. One of the soulful Irishman’s very few hits in a brilliant career that spans 35 years, R.P. McMurphy’s choice as the number one soft rock song of all time. Van Morrison "Brown-Eyed Girl"
28. A minor hit for Jennifer Rush in the mid-80s became a tour-de-force of passion and power for this Canadian singer, the youngest of 14 children, whose first hits were in her native French. Celine Dion "The Power of Love"
27. A power ballad from the hard-touring, hard-rocking band from the midwest named after a fire truck. REO Speedwagon "Can’t Fight This Feeling"
26. Dolly Parton had an earlier hit on the country charts with this song, but it was eclipsed by our featured artist’s "soaring version" from The Bodyguard soundtrack. Whitney Houston "I Will Always Love You"
25. There have been more than 2,500 different recorded version of this song. This, the original, is the very best. The Beatles "Yesterday"
24. This band was actually formed in Vancouver, B.C. in 1963, but it was not until Seattle’s Wilson sisters joined the band that they actually had any hits. This song’s from their 1985 self-titled comeback album. Heart "These Dreams"
23. Starting as an innovative jazz-rock band in the midwest, a move to L.A. seemed to soften them, perfect for hits like this sung by bass player Peter Cetera. Chicago "You’re The Inspiration"
22. This artist, the Long Island-raised daughter of an Irish opera singer and a a half Venezuelan, half African-American aeronautical engineer, has become the best selling female singer of the ‘90s. Mariah Carey "Hero"
21. This knight’s first collaboration with Disney netted him an Oscar and made The Lion King soundtrack the number one album of 1994. Elton John "Can You Feel the Love Tonight"
20. One of the great comeback songs from the ultimate survivor. Tina Turner "What’s Love Got To Do With It"
19. Though based in England, this is the only one of his songs that ever became a top 10 hit in an English-speaking country. Where is he most popular? Norway, Brazil, and West Africa! Chris DeBurgh "The Lady in Red"
18. This California-based group, one of the groups to bring about the renaissance in harmony singing, stayed at number one for 11 weeks with this hit from their 1994 debut album. All-4-One "I Swear"
17. This rock band formed in San Francisco in 1973 but really came into their own in the early ‘80s. Journey "Open Arms"
16. Already a "guitar god" through his work with groups like Cream, this song about his son’s death showed a side we’d never seen before. Eric Clapton "Tears In Heaven"
15. Daughter of a musical theater star and an accomplished pianist, this artist started her career in 1970 as a blues guitarist, not achieving major success until almost 20 years later. Bonnie Raitt "Something to Talk About"
14. From Pretty Woman, this was this Swedish duo’s biggest hit. Roxette "It Must Have Been Love"
13. The "Titanic" song. ‘Nuff said? Celine Dion "My Heart Will Go On"
12. Their last number one hit – and the biggest of their career. The Beach Boys "Kokomo"
11. This English band was known for rockin’ hard, but they also had a way with a melody, as this power ballad attests. Foreigner "I Want To Know What Love Is"
10. Raised in a household where pop music was strictly forbidden, this artist’s rebellion has been our blessing. This song written by Dianne Warren received the 1997 Grammy for Best Female Vocal. Toni Braxton "Un-Break My Heart"
9. A Van Morrison tune done by one of soft rock’s finest song interpreters. Rod Stewart "Have I Told You Lately"
8. This Miss America’s crown was taken from her when nude pictures of her were published. However, no one can take away her great talent as a singer. Vanessa Williams "Save the Best for Last"
7. One of three consecutive number 1’s from Repeat Offender, written for Barbra Streisand, this former backup singer for Lionel Richie had what it takes to step into the limelight. Richard Marx "Right Here Waiting"
6. From 1989’s Beaches soundtrack, one of Mixx 96.1’s all-time most requested songs. Bette Midler "Wind Beneath My Wings"
5. From Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, this song by the Canadian rocker turned balladeer was number one forever, even longer in England. Bryan Adams "Everything I Do (I Do It For You)"
4. When this song written by Dianne Warren first appeared, some were uncomfortable that a singer in her early teens could sing so knowingly about the nuances of love. In fact, this artist’s version never appeared in Con Air, the movie for which it was recorded. Nonetheless, radio listeners made it their song of the year. Leann Rimes "How Do I Live"
3. The baritone half of the Righteous Brothers and a popular soundtrack singer teamed for this love duet from Dirty Dancing. Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes "I’ve had the Time Of My Life"
2. Few remember the Robert Redford-Michelle Pfeiffer flick this is from, but few can forget this beautiful love song, written by Dianne Warren. Celine Dion "Because You Loved Me"
1. This timeless song, produced by Phil Spector, became a hit in 1965 and then 25 years later with the release of the movie Ghost. It remains one of our most-requested songs to this very day. The Righteous Brothers "Unchained Melody"