Champaign - How ’Bout Us (1981)
A ballad that seemed to set the template for ’80s love songs: gently throbbing bass, boy-girl dialogue, critical sax solo.
Killer line: "Some people are made for each other/Some people can love one another for life, how 'bout us?
Lionel Richie - Hello (1984)
Richie already had form in the ’70s for super smoothies with Three Times a Lady and Still, but he blew them out of the water with this.
Killer line: "Hello, is it me you’re looking for?"
Alexander O’Neal - If You Were Here Tonight (1985)
The king of the slow jam at the peak of his career. O’Neal was playing in stadiums with a giant bed on stage on which he would invite ladies to join him.
Killer line: "When the lights go out/I cannot pretend/This bed’s too big for me/To be in alone"
LL Cool J - I Need Love (1987)
The ladies already loved one of rap’s first pin-ups but he cemented his reputation as a sensitive bad guy with this shot from the heart.
Killer line: "You can scratch my back, we’ll get cosy and huddle/I’ll lay down my jacket so you can walk over a puddle"
Chaka Khan & Rufus - Ain’t Nobody (1983)
When Quincy Jones heard the plaintive keyboard intro to this he wanted to give it to Michael Jackson. Luckily, Khan had first dibs and turns in one of her most soulful vocals.
Killer line: "I make my wish upon a star/And hope this night will last forever"
Foreigner - Waiting for a Girl Like You (1981)
Proving that soul music didn’t have the monopoly on the genre, arena rockers Foreigner shocked their fans with this moody love song.
Killer line: "This heart of mine has been hurt before/This time I wanna be sure"
Anita Baker - Sweet Love (1987)
The definitive singer of the"quiet storm" style of mid-Eighties soul, Baker was working as a secretary when this propelled her to fame.
Killer line: "Hear me calling out your name/I feel no shame/I’m in love"
Style Council - You’re the Best Thing (1984)
After breaking up the Jam, Paul Weller wanted to stop shouting about the world and instead turned out a beautiful homage to his motown heroes.
Killer line: "I could run away but I’d rather stay/In the warmth of your smile lighting up my day"
Joyce Sims - Come Into My Life (1987)
Sims, a classically trained pianist, teamed up with electro-funk producer Kurtis Mantronik and kept her vocals relatively restrained for a ballad.
Killer line: "Because I can brighten up your day/If you’re feeling bad, I put a smile on your face"
Fat Larry’s Band - Zoom (1982)
Drummer Fat Larry Jones and his band nearly hit No 1 in the UK with this innocent ode to falling in love.
Killer line: "Zoom – just one look and then my heart went boom/Suddenly and we were on the moon/ Flyin’ high in a neon sky"
Sade - Your Love is King (1984)
The Nigerian-British model took her smooth jazz stylings to the top of the charts both in Britain and across the Atlantic, and this was her slick calling card.
Killer line: "Touching the very part of me/It's making my soul sing/I'm crying out for more/Your love is king."
Mary Jane Girls - All Night Long (1983)
Addictive mix of sweet soul harmonies and lewd funkiness, over a fat bumping beat.
Killer line: "climb up on the ladder honey, what I got is better than money"
Womack & Womack - Teardrops (1988)
This no-brainer groove from soul veterans Cecil and Linda is guaranteed to provoke embarrassing behaviour at parties.
Killer line: "whispers in the powder room, 'she cries on every tune, every tune, every tune'"
New Order - Bizarre Love Triangle (1986)
At the peak of New Order's powers Bernard Sumner penned this electro-disco paean to the pains of love. Its meaning may be elusive but its power is undeniable.
Killer line: "Every time I see you falling/I get down on my knees and pray/I'm waiting for that final moment/You'll say the words that I can't say."
Cameo - Candy (1986)
Thrill again to the funk/pop /R&B/psychedelic genius that was Larry Blackmon. Come back Larry, there's still work to do!
Killer line: "Strawberry! Raspberry! All those good thangs".
Whitesnake - Is This Love? (1987)
David Coverdale is one of rock's most testosterone-fuelled singers, invariably belting it out with as much chest hair on display as possible, and 'Is This Love?' is the nearest the soft metal lothario has ever come to wearing his heart on his sleeve.
Killer line: "I can't stop the feeling/I've been this way before/But, with you I've found the key/To open any door."
Diana Ross & Lionel Richie - Endless Love (1981)
A glutinous torrent of syrup from two of pop's most shameless tear-jerkers? Coming right up.
Killer line: "Ooh woow, boom boom, boom boom boom boom boom"
George Michael - Careless Whisper (1984)
John Peel was appalled when this popped up in his listener-voted Festive 50 for the year, but it's still the song which first showed George Michael could really write.
Killer line: "I'm never gonna dance again/'Cause guilty feet have got no rhythm/Though it's easy to pretend/I know you're not a fool."
Soft Cell - Say Hello, Wave Goodbye (1981)
Great tune, gripping lyrics, heroic vocal by Marc Almond - not bad for a li'l ol' synth duo.
Killer line: "I'll find someone that's not going cheap in the sales"
Gregory Isaacs - Night Nurse (1982)
Although it eventually became synonymous with a certain brand of cough medicine, this reggae original is actually a desperate plea from one of the maestros of lovers' rock.
Killer line: "Night nurse /Only you alone can quench this Jah thirst/My night nurse, oh gosh/Oh the pain it's getting worse."
Sister Sledge - Thinking Of You (1984)
Still hugely infectious, because the Sisters' voices dovetailed perfectly with Chic's infinite groove machine.
Killer line: "What do you think brought the sun out today, it's my baby, oh help me sing"
Mac Band - Roses Are Red (1988)
Smoochy R&B opening shot from production duo LA and Babyface who went onto huge success, inventing 'new jack swing' while The Mac Band promptly disappeared.
Killer line: "Roses are red/Violets are blue/Baby/Well, if there's anything I'm certain of/It's love you."
Peabo Bryson & Roberta Flack - Tonight I Celebrate My Love (1984)
Mmm! Dig those tinkly Eighties keyboards. Almost tasteful, considering its schlockbusting potential.
Killer line: "Tonight our spirits will be climbing to the sky lit up with diamonds"
Jennifer Warnes & Joe Cocker - Up Where We Belong (1982)
A power-ballad for the end of time. Movie producer Don Simpson wanted to cut this from An Officer And A Gentleman, but he didn't and it won an Oscar.
Killer line: "The road is long, there are mountains in our way"
Atlantic Starr - Secret Lovers (1985)
Barbara Weathers' delicious lead vocal is the key to this high-flying ballad, soaring above the group's nifty arrangement.
Killer line: "How could something so wrong be so right"
Gap Band - Outstanding (1983)
Exuberant funk stomper, fired up with bass, big horns, handclaps and the mighty tonsils of Charlie Wilson.
Killer line: "You blow my mind, I'm satisfied"
Barry White - Never Gonna Give You Up (1987)
A surfeit of the Hamster of Lurve can provoke a diabetic coma, but the big man's plush sound upholstery spells "Valentine's Day".
Killer line: "I'm never ever gonna quit cause quittin' just ain't my schtick"
Mica Paris - My One Temptation (1989)
Ace! If Mica had been born in LA instead of London's East End she'd be a full-scale soul diva by now.
Killer line: "Life is tough if you find you got it all and you're not satisfied"
Art Of Noise - Moments In Love (1985)
More an intellectual treatise on the idea of "love" than the thing itself, yet its glacial fascination endures.
Killer and indeed only -- line - "moments in love"
Spandau Ballet - True (1983)
Mock the Spands if you must, but this remains a weddings-and-bar-mitzvahs classic.
Killer line: "I bought a ticket to the world but now I've come back again"
Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Power Of Love (1984)
There must be 150 songs with this title, but Holly Johnson's awesome feat of crooning means this is the one that endures.
Killer line: "I'll protect you from the hooded claw, keep the vampires from your door"
Kool And The Gang - Cherish (1985)
The Gang's bittersweet and surprisingly metaphysical ballad must be the epitome of Simon Bates' long-lost Our Tune.
Killer line: "If you receive your calling before I awake could I make it through the night?"
Luther Vandross - So Amazing (1987)
Luther's best-loved moment was this exquisite soul soufflé. Makes you believe a man can fly.
Killer line: "I'll follow you to the moon and the stars above".
The Jets - Crush on You (1987)
The career peak of a large family of soulful Tongan Mormons who later quit the pop industry in favour of making religious music.
Killer line: "No more charades/My hearts been displayed/You found out I've got a crush on you."
ABC - All of My Heart (1982)
Old romance from new romantic fops fronted by Sheffield smoothie Martin Fry who famously promoted the song in a gold lamé suit.
Killer line: "Spilling up pink silk and coffee lace/ You hook me up, I rendevouz at your place/ Your lipstick and your lip gloss seals my fate"
Madness - It Must Be Love (1981)
The Nutty Boys showed they were lovers as well as dancers with their deliciously optimistic cover, replete with timeless video, of the Labi Siffre classic.
Killer line: "Nothing more, nothing less, love is the best"
Tina Turner - What's Love Got to Do With It (1984)
Out from under Ike's shadow this was the number that launched Tina Turner as the wild-haired senior soulstress who could sell by the million.
Killer line: "You must understand/ That the touch of your hand/ Makes my pulse react."
Pet Shop Boys - Always On My Mind (1987)
Unbelievably the wry electro-pop duo took on an Elvis number and came out of it OK. Like all the best covers it goes in a completely different direction from the original.
Killer line - "Little things I should have said and done/I just never took the time/You were always on my mind/ Your were always on my mind."
Pet Shop Boys
The Cure - Love Cats (1983)
Robert Smith's lyrics were enigmatic, to say the least, but this was the song where his wild-haired doom-laden goth persona suddenly bloomed into accessible pop stardom.
Killer line: "We're so wonderfully, wonderfully, wonderfully, wonderfully pretty/Oh you know that I'd do anything for you."
Cyndi Lauper - I Drove All Night (1989)
Lauper had long ceded the Queen Of US Pop title to Madonna but had one last moment in the Sun with this plaintive Roy Orbison cover.
Killer line:"I drove all night/Crept in your room/Woke you from your sleep/To make love to you."
Nina Simone - My Baby Just Cares for Me (1987)
Simone cut this song back in 1958 (although it dates from the '20s) but it shot into the British public consciousness when it was used in a TV ad and went to No.1.
Killer line: "My baby don't care for shows/My baby don't care for clothes/My baby just cares for me."
Whitney Houston - Saving All My Love For You (1985)
The song that launched Whitney, also inventing a newly minted variety of globe-storming soul diva. Bobby Brown and crack cocaine were not even a twinkle in her innocent eye…
Killer line - "Though I try to resist, being last on your list/But no other man's gonna do/So I'm saving all my love for you."
The Smiths - There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (1986)
Although never released as a single, this song from their finest album, 'The Queen Is Dead', became one of The Smiths' definitive numbers and a fan favourite.
Killer line: "And if a double decker bus crashes into us/To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die."
Alyson Williams - I Need Your Lovin' (1989)
A love song for the cooler end of the warehouse rave scene, Alyson Williams' hit has the requisite dubbed out Soul II Soul percussion and a lovely ethereal laziness.
Killer line: "I can't stop thinking of you/I can't get you off my mind/I need your lovin' tonight."
Stevie Wonder - I Just Called To Say I Love You (1984)
Stevie Wonder created some of the most seminal funk records of all time and is an icon, but his greatest commercial success remains this thoroughly syrupy ballad.
Killer line: "No new years day/To celebrate/No chocolate covered candy hearts to give away."
REO Speedwagon - Keep On Lovin' You (1981)
The hairy behemoths of Adult Orientated Rock bestrode America like kings in 1981 when this was a huge No.1 hit alongside its parent album, 'Hi Infidelity'.
Killer line: "And though I know all about those men /Still I don't remember/'Cause it was us, baby, ready for them//And we're still together."
Fresh 4 feat. Lizz E - Wishin' On A Star (1989)
Long before Roni Size won the Mercury Music Prize, his Reprazent associate DJ Krust took this 1979 Rose Royce song into the charts, rejigged for the rave generation.
Killer line: "And I wish on all the rainbows that I see/I wish on all the people who really dream."
The Whispers - It's A Love Thing (1981)
The Wisps' synth-powered knees-up is as super-synthetic as it's comically camp.
Killer line: "The look in your eyes is more than enough to make my poor heart burst into flames"
Jeffrey Osbourne - Stay With Me Tonight (1982)
This is the acme of aerobic funk pop, so get it on your iPods, all you Marathon wannabes.
Killer line: "Oh, give me feelings of delight, please turn out the light"
Phyllis Nelson - Move Closer (1985)
Phyllis's sleek and sultry soul classic has a way of sliding itself up your spine, whether you asked it to or not.
Killer line: "Move your body real close until we feel like we're really making love"