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Readers' favourite love songs: 'It still tears me up after 35 years'

Nina Simone pictured in 1960.
Nina Simone, whose voice makes the list, pictured in 1960. Photograph: George Pickow/Getty Images

Everyone has a song that turns them into a mushy all-out romantic.

Last week, in the run up to Valentine’s Day, music stars shared their favourite love songs including hits by Nick Cave, Aretha Franklin and Roberta Flack. But, like people’s tastes in lovers, the list proved controversial.

Here’s a selection of the best love songs, as suggested by Guardian readers in response.

Leonard Cohen – So Long, Marianne

“Some songs flip you inside out no matter how many times you hear them, said dylan37. “The very best form an unbreakable bond between your heart and soul. This is a quietly devastating prayer to love and has a hushed, candlelit beauty all of its own.”

Hazel O’Connor – Will You?

Littlemissmolly: “it has to be Hazel O’Connor’s Will You? It completely captures those first tentative steps as a crush morphs into a relationship: ‘Take off your eyes / Bare your soul / Gather me to you and make me whole’. All bound together with the best sax solo ever.”

Dire Straits – Romeo and Juliet

“An absolute classic that still tears me up 35 years later,” said dtm1966 of this much-loved song from the headband-wearing sultans of stadium rock.

Neil Diamond – Let Me Take You In Your Arms Again

“My first crush ever had this as its song,” said palfreyman. “She never knew about my crush, or this song, and it’s a cheesy enough number anyway with cod-disco accompaniment, but at the time, aged 14, it meant the world to me.”

Buzzcocks – Ever Fall in Love With Someone (You Shouldn’t Have Fallen In Love With)

All together now: “‘You spurn my natural emotions / You make me feel like dirt and I’m hurt’: just genius,” said Maria Gibbons.

Cowboy Junkies – Misguided Angel

“I have a lifelong love affair with this group,” said Delilah Winchester. “This one can nearly always bring me to tears. Exquisite.”

The Temptations – Just My Imagination

“Great song, probably my favourite,” wrote solentview of this Motown classic. “It’s about a man who longs for the woman who passes by each day – who doesn’t know he exists. Doesn’t stop him imagining a future together with her.”

Elbow – Mirrorball

“Here’s my pick,” said one unromantically-named reader. “Not going to argue it’s the greatest ever, but it’s ours and I have tearfully fond feelings towards the Mr every time I hear it.”

Wannadies – You and Me Song

“An absolute cracker,” said francoisP. “Just joyous,” agreed Muth Newkeen about this hardy indie disco perennial.

Hunters & Collectors – Throw Your Arms Around Me

“This still sends a shiver down my spine every time I hear it,” said baselinebob. “It is so full of love, lust and longing need. You simply don’t get more visceral than that.”

The Beatles – Something

I’m with Frank Sinatrasaid tippisheadrun. “Something, by George Harrison, is the greatest love song.”

Nina Simone – I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes)

“For many years I was afraid to play this,” said carnbeyleavitt. “My wife died of cancer at age 45, and Simone’s version of the song just made me well up. Other versions were just a song, but Simone makes it an absolute lament.”

The Beach Boys – God Only Knows

“Despite trying to think of a more obscure choice,” writes TheCedarRoom, “this was my first reaction.” Fine by us – and the many dozens of readers who recommended your post.

The Go-Betweens - Quiet Heart

Brisbane’s finest up next. “Do yourself a favour and listen to this beautiful song if you’re unfamiliar with it,” said 13Charlie, advice that can be applied to The Go-Betweens’ entire back catalogue.

Iggy Pop – Candy

Iggy Pop and Kate Pierson’s duet was the pick of profbarabas. “Iggy’s desperate, raw voice and Kate’s angelic singing gives me goosebumps every time.”

The Cure – Friday I’m In Love

We end on an unusually joyous pop note from the oft-miserable Robert Smith. Reader Tintenfische said he liked this one the best, adding an all important detail to end on: “thankfully, so too does my partner.”

This article titled "Readers' favourite love songs: 'It still tears me up after 35 years'" was written by Guardian readers and Matthew Holmes, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 14 February 2018 11.00am

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