We understand that learning how to play the piano on your own comes with its own learning curve. It requires hard work, a strong drive and tons of determination to master the piano renditions of old favorites. Not to mention — you have to stay inspired and focused.
We have helped you out with some of the heavy-lifting, so to speak, by sifting through the thousands of classic love songs on the piano, and put together a roundup of the best romantic songs people can play on the piano. Featuring songs from the 19th century to your favorite queen-bee Beyoncé’s jam with Jay-Z, we don’t discriminate when it comes to a good composition.
We’ve also linked you to some helpful piano tutorials that should help you adapt songs on the piano, genre no bar. Our compilation of 18 best piano love songs for Valentine’s Day could be the breath of fresh air you needed to put romance back in your piano-playing.
Read on to know more about 18 of the most popular love songs of all time, and how you can play them on the piano for a performance your audience will remember:
Liebesträume or “Love Dream”: Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt, a Hungarian composer and pianist, is a creative powerhouse from the Romantic era, and this track of his is riddled with intricate detailing; it is a powerful love anthem. Liebesträume is actually a set of three solo piano pieces that was published back in 1850, and the same melody has been used throughout the three works.
This classical piano piece can make for a great piano rendition at family get-togethers or formal events, with its emotional reach transcending all age groups.
A Sunday Kind of Love: Etta James
Composed by Barbara Belle, Stan Rhodes, Louis Prima and Anita Leonard back in 1946, “A Sunday Kind of Love” is a classic. Over the years, it has matured like good wine to become a quintessential pop and jazz tune which has been covered by various artists.
Claude Thornhill and his orchestra were the first to record this old romantic song on November 11, 1946, which went on to be released in January 1947. Its vocalist, Fran Warren, is known particularly for this signature song, and it has won hearts all over the world.
My Heart Will Go On: Celine Dion
This famous love theme from “Titanic” is a tearjerker that has endured over the decades. The director James Cameron certainly chose his music well, with this song being composed by James Horner, and produced by Walter Afanasieff and Simon Franglen.
With lyrics written by Will Jennings, this song was initially recorded by Celine Dion, and released in 1997 as a part of her “Let’s Talk About Love” album along with the soundtrack album for the film. This love song took the charts by storm, going to number one across the world, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, United States and Canada; it also went on to become not just Celine Dion’s biggest hit song, but also the best-selling single of 1998 in the world, besides being one of the best-selling singles of all time.
Endless Love: Lionel Richie and Diana Ross
Soul legends Lionel Richie and Diana Ross joined forces to co-write and record this pop love ballad back in 1981. The duo recorded it on Motown Records, and it has gone on to be used as the theme song for the Brooke Shields-starring film “Endless Love”.
Produced by Richie and arranged by Gene Page, this song was released as a part of the film’s soundtrack that year. A nominee for the Academy Award for Best Original Song for Richie, “Endless Love” has grown to become one of the most popular wedding dedication songs on the 80’s.
What’s really interesting about covering this song on the piano is that it gives you the chance to incorporate your own touches, with the addition of rhythm variations, trills and the re-harmonization of chords, which makes it seem more spontaneous.
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough: Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
This soul/R&B classic was written back in 1966 by Valerie Simpson and Nickolas Ashford for a label that is a division of Motown, known as the Tamla label. Some of the biggest stars in soul and R&B music have covered this uplifting composition.
First recorded by the inimitable Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, it went on to become a hit single in 1967; it returned to the limelight just three years later, when the one and only Diana Ross recorded it. Not only was it her first solo number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, it was also nominated for a Grammy.
I Just Called To Say I Love You: Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder’s classic ballad “I Just Called to Say I Love You”, that he has written, produced and performed, can probably thaw out the coldest heart.
It endures to date as the artist’s best-selling single, and has topped a record-breaking 19 charts. This is the kind of a song that has gained so much popularity over the years, and across generations, that it hardly needs an introduction.
Initially released as a single from the soundtrack album “The Woman in Red” in 1984, this one made a real mark and won both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
I Knew I Loved You: Savage Garden
Released as part of their second album, “Affirmation”, Australian pop duo Savage Garden is the band behind “I Knew I Loved You”, perhaps one of the most romantic English songs, which is probably one of the most popular ones in recent times.
Shooting to number one on the “Billboard Hot 100” chart, it became the Australian band’s second number one hit in the United States, and was pretty much the last song by an Australian artist to reach such heights for over a decade. Interestingly, its music video includes a performance by a much younger Kirsten Dunst and could often be found playing on MTV.
Ben E. King: Stand By Me
This is hands-down one of the best love songs out there, and was written by the American singer-songwriter Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, produced by the legendary producer Jerry Wexler, and first performed by King. Gospel-infused vocals fill this song with emotions and soul, and it was a song about enduring love originally written for Betty Nelson, King’s then partner, with whom he went on to enjoy more than five decades of marriage with.
Here’s the sheet music for the song, which has been covered and re-recorded over 400 times by various artists. It was also a part of the soundtrack of “Stand by Me”, a 1986 film. This song has had such a wide-reaching impact, besides its commercial success, that it was declared as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress, and was inducted into the National Recording Registry.
Love Me Do: The Beatles
Does this iconic love song ever get old? As far as love songs on the piano go, this Beatles number should be one of your top choices. The peppy number was the debut single of the legendary Beatles, released in the UK in 1962; it had been written quite a few years before the release, though — before the band had even formed, in fact.
The song made waves all the way across the world in the United States, as well, hitting number 1 in 1964. This is a very interesting song to cover on the piano, as you distill the sounds of John Lennon’s unmistakable harmonica mingled with the duet vocals he does with Paul McCartney. The band itself has released three recorded version of this one song, with a different drummer on each version.
Bleeding Love: Leona Lewis
This song by Leona Lewis was quite a sensation at one point, and could frequently be overheard on radio or playing in stores. Written and composed by a collective of artists including Jesse McCartney and Ryan Tedder, produced by Tedder, and performed by British vocalist Leona Lewis, it was released as a part of “Spirit”, her debut album in 2007.
Topping charts as a single hit in the UK and Ireland that year, the appeal of this song spread worldwide, reaching number one in charts in a whopping 35 countries, including Germany, the United States and Japan. This international hit is a treat to cover on the piano and makes for one of the most romantic piano love songs.
Crazy Little Thing Called Love: Queen
British rock band Queen’s song “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” makes it to our piano love songs list because it is, at its essence, such a simple song. The iconic Freddie Mercury wrote this hit in back in 1979, while taking a bubble bath in his hotel room. He apparently stepped out of the bath, picked up his guitar and worked out the chords right there and then, in no more than ten minutes.
Whether it is this spontaneity with which it was created, or Mercury’s effervescent talent, the track was released on the band’s album “The Game” in 1980, went on to become Queen’s first number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US that year, and sounds just as good today.
That’s the Way Love Goes: Janet Jackson
This hit number tops the list, as far as upbeat piano love songs go. She wrote this track with long-time collaborators Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and produced the track with them as well.
The first single of her $32 million heavyweight contract with Virgin Records, as a part of her fifth album “Janet”, the lyrics include a sample from James Brown’s “Papa Don’t Take No Mess”, used with permission. The music video of this single also features a cameo by a much younger Jennifer Lopez as a backing dancer with some dialogue. This memorable song earned the artist a nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance as well as a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song.
All I Ask of You: Phantom of the Opera
This operatic pop composition is extremely moving, and the melody played with the right hand is exquisite, even as the left hand drives the piece with relentless motion.
This song is from the English musical “The Phantom of the Opera”, written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Richard Stilgoe and Charles Hart, and produced by Webber. The romantic piano piece is actually a dialogue taking place between two characters onstage, as they discuss the themes of commitment and romance.
L.O.V.E.: Nat King Cole
This hummable classic is one of the many songs by American jazz pianist and vocalist Nat King Cole, that became well-loved pop hits. Part of his eponymous 1965 album, which was also, sadly, his last before his death, it was composed by Bert Kaempfert with lyrics by Milt Gabler.
The song was an international success and has renditions in several languages including Japanese, Italian, German, Spanish and French. It has even been covered by Cole’s daughter Natalie and Grammy Award-winning artist Michael Buble, and makes for a wonderful piano love song for weddings, as well.
I Will Always Love You: Whitney Houston
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more iconic love song than this. It was originally written in 1973, by country singer Dolly Parton, and performed the following year; the version that will be remembered for time immemorial, though, is the one performed by vocal powerhouse Whitney Houston for the 1992 film “Bodyguard”.
The song was reimagined as a soul ballad by producer David Foster, and spent a straight 14 weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart as well as has the distinction of being the best-selling single by a woman, of all time. It also won Houston the Grammy Award for Record of the Year, and Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, in 1994.
Scenes from an Italian Restaurant: Billy Joel
This song appeared on Billy Joel’s 1977 album “The Stranger”, and its melody is said to have been influenced by the second side of Abbey Road by The Beatles.
What makes the song such fun to perform on the piano is that it combines three different musical styles, starting out as an easy-going, melodic ballad, moving to up-tempo jazz and finally to straight-up rock and roll.
The restaurant spoken of in the song was partially inspired by the “Fontana di Trevi”, located opposite Carnegie Hall, which Joel frequented around the year of 1977.
Crazy in Love: Beyoncé ft. Jay-Z
[ Hyperlink: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W20DGisjOSM
The first single from Beyoncé’s first album post Destiny’s Child, “Dangerously in Love”, became the first number 1 album of her solo career, topping charts in both the US and the UK — quite a way to kick of your career as an independent artist.
Grammy-winning producer Rich Harrison deserves a lot of creative credit for this track, having taken care of all the sampling, including the iconic horn sampled from the Chi-lites song “Are You My Woman (Tell Me So)”, as well as the playing all of the instruments on the track, including the congas and the sequencers. Jay-Z, who was dating Beyoncé at the time, rapped over the song the night before she had to turn in the album, according to Billboard. Definitely a good call.
Romeo and Juliet: Mark Knopfler
[ Hyperlink: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBCWZVUIapU
Written and performed by Dire Straits-frontman Mark Knopfler, this song has its roots in the singer’s own life and speaks of his then relationship with Holly Vincent, the lead singer of Holly and the Italians.
It first appeared on the band’s 1980 album “Making Moves”, and went on to become one of their greatest hits. The verses are simple and melodic while the chorus is more complex, and it is truly a timeless treat to perform on the piano.
Here are our favorite Piano Love songs, what are yours?
We hope our compilation of best piano love songs for Valentine’s Day has helped inspire you to get back to your keys, and to try your hand at adapting and performing some of these at your next performance.