Tunes for that lovin’ feelin’

Romantic duets have long been a staple in popular music—many having lasting influence decades after their initial release.

Robin Doyscher, Senior Reporter

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner for us all, and whether you’re committed, dating, single or “it’s complicated”—music about love is perhaps the most universal form out there. And ever since the advent of music recording, duets are among the most memorable and long-lasting songs to remain in our cultural memory. The combined star power of two heavy hitters in music tops charts sells out arenas and fills radio stations across the country. Here are some of the most iconic love songs to listen to whether or not you’re with somebody.

Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell — “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing”

At first I considered “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” as the Motown rep for this list—but I feel “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing” reaches a level of sentimentality and cheese that’s needed for love songs to work. The background orchestral elements as well as Gaye and Terrell’s exquisite sense for harmonizing and playing off each other’s voices is why these two were such an unstoppable songwriting duo in the late 1960s.

George Michael & Aretha Franklin — “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)

Moving from the swinging sixties to the eighties, it’s important to include a good anthemic power ballad with the hallmarks of the 1980s signature synthpop. George Michael and Aretha Franklin were two massive hitmakers in music—with Michael becoming the best selling musical artist of 1988. This entire duet is a perfect blend of the melodrama and gravitas behind the stadium pop hits of the 80’s. Plus, Michael dances in a funny way in the music video—so, bonus.

Beyoncé & Jay-Z — “Crazy In Love”

If you were into music in the early 2000s, you knew how dominant these two were across the entire industry. While nowadays Bey and Jay are more business moguls, their output from 2002 to 2009 was nothing short of groundbreaking. The stomping drum beat, the iconic horns and Jay’s signature delivery provide a perfect lead-in for Beyoncé’s last verse and chorus. When listening to this song it’s a strong reminder that Beyoncé’s early career would become formative for the types of pop music made today.

Sonny and Cher — “I Got You Babe”

Sonny Bono and Cher were one of the most talked-about celebrity couples of the 1960s, and it’s easy to see why. Sonny helped steer Cher’s career to incredible success, while Cher’s showmanship helped curate a more palatable image of Sonny. While the two had a notoriously messy marriage (made only slightly less messy by Cher’s extremely tumultuous relationship with Greg Allman that would follow). “I Got You Babe” is one of the best love songs for its admission that even in the roughest times you still have someone beside you to appreciate the little things with. It may not be the most hot and heavy song out there, but it says a lot with very little.


The best love songs don’t just remind you of being in love, they allow you to feel the initial passionate spark that drew you and the one you love together in the first place. They allow you to reminisce and feel all the ups and downs of a relationship. So, if you’re looking for a few playlist additions this Valentine’s Day don’t be afraid to dig into the past.