Easy listening music, often referred to as ‘lounge music', is an excellent choice when you're looking for something relaxing.
Today we're going to look at some of the best easy listening songs of all time. These songs are in no particular order, so keep your pitchforks in the garage if a Barry Manilow song is listed a bit higher than your favorite Chicago hit.
1. Everything I Do (I Do It for You) by Bryan Adams
The tune that has been the first dance song at many a wedding, ‘Everything I Do' by Bryan Adams is from the soundtrack for ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves' staring Kevin Costner. The song, believe it or not, is more popular than the movie.
The song is about a man's undying love and devotion to the woman he loves. The lyrics are simple and direct, but the sentiment of Adams' voice is heartfelt. Spliced with clips from the movie, the music video received plenty of rotation on MTV in the early 90s.
2. Save the Best for Last by Vanessa Williams
We're staying in the 90s with this one. Vanessa Williams was a pageant queen that found an easy listening hit with Save the Best for Last in 1992.
The song is about taking the time to appreciate the moment with the one you love and not taking them for granted. It's about recognizing the special person in your life and not letting them slip away. The lyrics talk about a person in a relationship, who is thinking back to the time when they first met, and how they should have known right away that this was the one.
3. Take On Me by A-ha
One of the first easy-listening hits of the 80s, 1983's Take On Me by A-ha is a radio staple and remains one of the most incredible music videos of all time.
The song is about a young man trying to win a girl's heart. He is trying to show her that he is serious about his feelings for her and that he won't give up until she gives him a chance. So he sings, “Take on me, take me on/I'll be gone in a day or two,” to show her that he is determined to win her over.
4. Mister Sandman by The Chordettes
A sleepy classic that conjures images of nightcaps and peaceful slumbers in a cozy bed, this 1954 standard is usually the first song you hear in movies that take place in the 50s.
The lyrics in Mister Sandman are charmingly nostalgic and evoke a longing for a simpler time. The song has gotten covered by numerous artists over the years and has become a classic of American popular music.
5. Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head by B.J. Thomas
Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head is a beloved classic song composed by Burt Bacharach and Hal David and sung by B.J. Thomas. Since its debut in the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the song has been featured in countless movies, commercials, and TV shows.
The song is a gentle, upbeat track that encourages us to look on the bright side and find solace in adversity. The lyrics are simple yet profound, describing how the rain will eventually subside even in the darkest times.
6. Desperado by The Eagles
Easy-listening songs are primarily about love, but the world took notice when The Eagles dropped this masterpiece in 1973.
The song centers around the titular Desperado, a mysterious outlaw struggling to make sense of his life. He is a man who lives on the edge, and he is a symbol of the struggles of the American Dream. The song lyrics are full of heartache and longing as the protagonist searches for meaning in his life.
7. Hard To Say I'm Sorry by Chicago
We've reached the power ballad portion of our list, and what better way to introduce that than with this Chicago hit?
Hard to Say I'm Sorry, released in 1982, is a powerful lesson on the difficulty of apologizing and accepting blame in a relationship. The song begins with a haunting piano melody, setting the mood for the song's emotional journey. Peter Cetera's soulful vocal performance brings the lyrics to life, conveying the sadness and regret of a broken relationship.
8. Strangers in the Night by Frank Sinatra
You know we couldn't make this list without an appearance by Old Blue Eyes himself. Frank Sinatra's 1966 classic is a perfect example of Sinatra's signature crooning style, and its romantic tone has made it one of the most beloved love songs of all time.
The song tells the story of two strangers who meet in the night, and despite their differences, they fall in love. The emotion and sentiment of the song are timeless, and it has become an iconic symbol of romance.
9. Mandy by Barry Manilow
It's challenging to make an easy listening list without Barry Manilow. While Manilow has dozens of song credits to his name and numerous hits, Mandy, without question, is the very definition of easy listening.
The song tells the story of a man reminiscing about a lost love. He remembers their good times together and how he misses her now that she is gone.
The lyrics of “Mandy” are pretty simple, but they effectively convey the narrator's emotions. The words “I remember all my life, Raining down as cold as ice” perfectly describe the feeling of lost love and longing that the narrator is experiencing.
10. Unforgettable by Nat King Cole
Nat King Cole's “Unforgettable” is a timeless classic covered by many artists since releasing in 1952. The song has such a unique and soulful sound that it is easy to see why it is so beloved by music fans worldwide.
The song engenders covers time and time again, but the song reached a larger mainstream audience with Cole's daughter, Natalie Cole, revisiting it with her own spin and her father's accompanying vocals in 1991.
11. She's Got a Way by Billy Joel
Billy Joel's 1981 hit “She's Got A Way” is a classic love song that captures the power of a woman's charm over a man. Many artists, including John Mayer and Carrie Underwood, have covered it since its release.
The song is simple and sweet, with Joel singing about how this woman's beauty and charm have taken him. The lyrics are full of admiration and wonder as he sings about her eyes, voice, and smile. Even though he doesn't know what she's thinking, he can't help but get drawn to her.
12. Do That to Me One More Time by Captain and Tenille
This beloved 1979 soft rock classic has been covered by many artists over the years and is still as relevant today as it was back in the 70s.
The song, written by Toni Tennille, tells the story of a couple that is deeply in love and wants to keep that connection alive. The lyrics are simple and sweet, but the melody makes the song shine. The track gets driven by a gentle piano line and features backing vocals that help to add depth and emotion to the tune.
13. One More Night by Phil Collins
Released in 1985, “One More Night” has become a timeless classic that thousands worldwide still appreciate.
The lyrics of “One More Night” tell a story of someone struggling to let go of a lingering love that won't go away. The narrator is begging for one more night with their beloved so that they can make things right between them. The song speaks to the desperate longing we feel when trying to hold onto something we can't entirely release.
14. We've Only Just Begun by The Carpenters
We can't help but think about what could have been if Karen Carpenter was still alive. Her death weighed against the hope and optimism of “We've Only Just Begun” is a lesson in dichotomy.
It was first released in 1970, but its message resonates just as strongly today as it did then. The lyrics tell of a couple just starting out in life and of the optimism they have for their future together. Its lyrics are sweet and uplifting, speaking of a future filled with hope, possibility, and the promise that the best is yet to come.
15. Escape (The Pina Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes
Okay, so hear us out on this one. So you're telling me that a song about infidelity finds its way onto this list?
“Escape” is an iconic tune, telling us the story of a man bored with everyday life and wanting something new and exciting. Forget that this song seems somewhat dated by today's tech standards in relationships, but enjoy the breezy sounds of waves spliced throughout the song.
16. If You Leave Me Now by Chicago
Chicago is back on this list, and with good reason. Written by bassist Peter Cetera and released as a single, “If You Leave Me Now” is a hauntingly beautiful ballad that speaks of the pain of a love lost.
The lyrics are simple yet powerful, as Cetera sings of the regret and sorrow that would come if his beloved were to leave him. He begs her not to go, pleading for her to stay and promising that things could improve. Finally, he acknowledges that he is wrong and needs her, and he implores her to “please don't go.”
17. Can't Fight This Feeling by REO Speedwagon
Another power ballad on this list, “Can't Fight This Feeling” by REO Speedwagon, is about the realization that love can be concrete if you embrace it.
The song lyrics are about a man completely in love with a woman and trying to express his feelings despite fear and insecurity. He can't fight the intense emotions he feels for her and is overwhelmed by love. He knows he can't deny his feelings and is powerless against them.
18. The Girl From Ipanema by Astrud Gilberto and João Gilberto
A breezy classic that immediately makes you feel like you need a Pina Colada in hand, The Girl from Ipanema is an easy-listening standard.
Written by Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, it was first performed in 1962 by Astrud Gilberto and João Gilberto. It tells the tale of a young girl from Ipanema, a beachside neighborhood in Brazil. The narrator is enamored with her beauty and grace as she walks by and wishes he could be with her.
19. Gravity by John Mayer
Finally! Something contemporary! John Mayer's 2005 hit, “Gravity,” would make even Albert Einstein a fan.
Mayer describes feeling as if he is “falling into something he can't control.” First, he's singing about how love can make us feel so helpless, as if we were getting pulled in a thousand directions. He then talks about how he's trying to find a way to make sense of it all but knows that he can't.
The chorus of the song is powerful. Mayer sings, “gravity is working against me, and gravity wants to bring me down.”
20. Thank You for Being a Friend by Andrew Gold
Before this song became every millennial's favorite TV theme song on The Golden Girls, Andrew Gold released this hit in 1978.
A simple yet powerful anthem paying tribute to the importance of friendship, the song has become a classic among all generations.
The lyrics of this catchy tune speak to the value of having a support system of caring friends to turn to during life's challenging moments. The chorus reminds us that no matter how much time or distance separates us from our friends, their support will always be there when we need it.
21. All Out of Love by Air Supply
The song starts with a man admitting that he's out of love and doesn't know what he’s going to do. He's desperately trying to get his lover to understand that he still loves her and is trying to make things better. He pleads with her to “open up the door” and let him in, so they can talk and figure out what went wrong.
Top Easy Listening Songs, Final Thoughts
Easy listening is more than just the radio station dialed in at the waiting room of your dentist's office. It's an influential genre of music that can be calming, assuring, and engaging to all your emotions.
I hope you enjoyed this list of easy listening songs.