BBC Radio 2 reveal the most-played love songs of the 21st century

BBC Radio 2 and music licensing company PPL have joined forces to create the first ever Valentine’s Day love song chart based purely on radio airplay. The Top 40 chart consists of the most-played love-related songs to be played on the station since the beginning of the 21st century.

The chart was revealed throughout the day on Valentine’s Day on Radio 2 with Robbie Williams taking the number one spot with his 1997 hit ‘Angels’, pipping classics to the post such as Aretha Franklin’s ‘I Say A Little Prayer’ and ‘Lovely Day’ by Bill Withers which came in at number two and three, respectively.  There were also surprising entries in the Top 20 for Joan Armatrading’s ‘Love & Affection’ and Roxy Music with their 1975 art-rock single, ‘Love Is The Drug’. 

Elsewhere, the Top 40 is made up predominantly of internationally renowned heritage artists from throughout the past six decades  with the likes of Van Morrison (‘Brown Eyed Girl’, No. 4), Oasis (‘Wonderwall’, No. 8), Dusty Springfield (‘Son of a Preacher Man’, No. 10) and Queen (‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’, No. 13) all featuring. 

The oldest track in the Top 40 is Nina Simone’s version of ‘My Baby Just Cares For Me’, originally released in 1958.  At the other end of the spectrum, Adele’s 2011 single ‘Someone Like You’ is the most recent inclusion in the chart.

The BBC Radio 2 & PPL most played love song chart Top 20 (Full Top 40 available on request)

1.)  ‘Angels’ – Robbie Williams (1997)

2.)  ‘I Say A Little Prayer’ – Aretha Franklin (1968)

3.)  ‘Lovely Day’ – Bill Withers (1977)

4.)  ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ – Van Morrison (1967)

5.)  ‘Let’s Stay Together’ – Al Green (1972)

6.)  ‘There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart)’ – Eurythmics (1985)

7.)  ‘True’ – Spandau Ballet (1983)

8.)  ‘Wonderwall’ – Oasis (1995)

9.)  ‘Love and Affection’ – Joan Armatrading (1976)

10.) ‘Son of a Preacher Man’ – Dusty Springfield (1968)

11.)  ‘Uptown Girl’ – Billy Joel (1983)

12.)  ‘Can’t Fight The Moonlight’ – LeAnn Rimes (2000)

13.)  ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ – Queen (1979)

14.)  ‘Love Is The Drug’ – Roxy Music (1975)

15.)  ‘Best of My Love’ – The Emotions (1977)

16.)  ‘Run To You’ – Bryan Adams (1984)

17.)  ‘Stars’ – Simply Red (1991)

18.)  ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’ – Roy Orbison (1964)

19.)  ‘Baby Love’ – The Supremes (1964)

20.)  ‘Haven’t Met You Yet’ – Michael Bublé (2009)

*Compiled using PPL data from 2000 to 2016

Robert Gallacher, Commissioning Editor at BBC Radio 2 said: What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than to countdown the Top 40 most-played love songs. There are some great tracks in the list and love was well and truly on our airwaves throughout the day.”

Peter Leathem, Chief Executive at PPL said, “We are delighted to be able to partner with the UK’s most-listened to radio station, BBC Radio 2 to provide the airplay data for their most-played love song chart in time for Valentine’s Day this year.  There are some fantastic tracks in the Top 40 and I’m proud that an organisation as prestigious as the BBC were able to utilise our data.”

PPL is the organisation that licences music when it is broadcast or played in public and then ensures that the musicians and record labels get paid fairly as a result.  The data for the most-played love song chart was based on UK radio airplay between 2000 and 2016.  Independent music, talent, content, and post production company Wisebuddah produced the chart countdown on Valentine’s Day.