Refresh your date-night playlist this fall to include love songs by some of Canada’s greatest.
Here are 15 of our favourite Canadian love songs, in no particular order:
“Put Your Head On My Shoulder” by Paul Anka (1959)
This classic song makes us think of warm summer nights and first loves.
Swoon-worthy lyrics: Put your head on my shoulder / Whisper in my ear, baby / Words I want to hear / Tell me, tell me that you love me too
Another Anka love song we love: “Diana”
“You’re Still The One” by Shania Twain (1998)
Ninety-seven percent* of Canadian newlyweds picked this song for their first dance in the early 2000s.
Swoon-worthy lyrics: You’re still the one I run to / The one that I belong to / You’re still the one I want for life
*Exact number unknown.
“Secret Heart” by Ron Sexsmith (1995)
Because sometimes you need to give your heart a pep talk.
Swoon-worthy lyrics: Secret heart, what are you made of? / What are you so afraid of? / Could it be three simple words / Or the fear of being overheard? / What’s wrong? / Let her in on your secret, heart
Also worth a listen: Feist’s cover of the song
“Constant Craving” by k.d. lang (1992)
This Grammy-winning single (and Lang’s biggest hit) captures desire at its most honest and desperate:
Swoon-worthy lyrics: Constant craving / Has always been
“Harvest Moon” by Neil Young (1992)
Stereogum’s James Jackson Toth calls “Harvest Moon” “one of Neil’s greatest songs.” And AllMusic critic Matthew Greenwald describes the melody as “positively gorgeous.” We couldn’t agree more.
Swoon-worthy lyrics: Because I’m still in love with you / I want to see you dance again / Because I’m still in love with you / On this harvest moon
“A Case Of You” by Joni Mitchell (1971)
One of Mitchell’s best-known songs (and for good reason) from her now-classic album Blue, describes new love at its most intoxicating — after the relationship ended. (She makes specific mention of a map of Canada, making this song a must on all Canadian romantics’ playlists.)
Fun fact: Mitchell’s then-boyfriend, James Taylor, played guitar in the original recording.
Swoon-worthy lyrics: Oh, I could drink a case of you, darling / Still I’d be on my feet / Oh, I would still be on my feet
“Try” by Blue Rodeo (1987)
“[There’s] no denying Try deserves its place in the great ballads of all time,” writes Maclean’s Michael Barclay.
(We’re also suckers for Jacksoul’s soulful cover of the megahit.)
Swoon-worthy lyrics: Every time you walk in the room / I couldn’t ever be sure of a smile / You were never the same way twice / I’m falling in love / Oh, night after night / Oh, it’s crazy
Another Blue Rodeo love song we love: “Lost Together”
“Head Over Feet” by Alanis Morissette (1995)
Perhaps the least cynical single on her smash-hit album, Jagged Little Pill, “Head Over Feet” is a sweet ode — and thank-you note — to someone who is both a best friend and a lover. Chivalry is celebrated here.
Swoon-worthy lyrics: You’re the best listener that I’ve ever met / You’re my best friend / Best friend with benefits / What took me so long?
“Lovers In A Dangerous Time” by Bruce Cockburn (1984)
In “Lovers,” Cockburn contrasts innocent love — he says he was inspired by infatuated teenagers in a school yard — with the realities of the Cold War. CBC Radio One named the song one of the greatest Canadian songs of all time.
Swoon-worthy lyrics: When you’re lovers in a dangerous time / Sometimes you’re made to feel as if your love’s a crime / But nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight / Got to kick at the darkness ’til it bleeds daylight
We’re also fans of the Barenaked Ladies’ 2006 cover.
“11:11” by Arkells (2015)
The newest song on our list, this single from Hamilton-based Arkells is a departure from their previous love songs, with no hint of cynicism or dysfunction. “There’s nothing but hope in the air, blue skies ahead,” says frontman Max Kerman.
Swoon-worthy lyrics: I knew from the beginning / It was you from the beginning
“My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion (1997)
You didn’t expect a list of Canadian love songs without a mention of our most famous diva, did you? And this particular love song, a bonafide global sensation, should not be ignored, even if it was played to death in 1997. (We’ll overlook the fact that the songwriter is American. Celine’s voice trumps all.)
Swoon-worthy lyrics: Love can touch us one time / And last for a lifetime / And never let go till we’re gone / Love was when I loved you / One true time I hold to / In my life we’ll always go on
“Mushaboom” by Feist (2004)
The title of this single comes from a small village in Nova Scotia. It celebrates the dream of a sweet, simple future in a place that’s “barely on the map.”
Swoon-worthy lyrics: I got a man to stick it out / And make a home from a rented house / And we’ll collect the moments one by one / I guess that’s how the future’s done
“Beautiful” by Gordon Lightfoot (1972)
He’s long been considered one of Canada’s greatest songwriters, so it’s tough to pick Lightfoot’s best love song. We’re going with the gorgeous 1972 ballad “Beautiful.”
Swoon-worthy lyrics: At times I just don’t know / How you could be anything but beautiful / I think that I was made for you / And you were made for me
“Bobcaygeon” by The Tragically Hip (1999)
Another song named for a small Canadian town, Bobcaygeon is the place where the song’s protagonist dreams of starting a new life with his new love. The song won the Juno Award for Single of the Year in 2000.
Swoon-worthy lyrics: When I left your house this morning / It was a little after nine / It was in Bobcaygeon, I saw the constellations / Reveal themselves one star at a time
“(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” by Bryan Adams (1991)
There’s no wedding song that gets couples on the dance floor faster. Arguably the best part of the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Adams song is loved — ironically, secretly or unabashedly — by all.
Swoon-worthy lyrics: Yeah, I would fight for you / I’d lie for you / Walk the wire for you / Yeah, I’d die for you
Other Adams love songs we can’t get enough of: “Heaven,” and “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?”
10 other Canadian love songs we love:
- “Suzanne” by Leonard Cohen
- “Nowhere With You” by Joel Plaskett Emergency
- “Ice Cream” by Sarah McLachlan
- “Everything” by Michael Bublé
- “Sometimes When We Touch” by Dan Hill
- “Boston and St. John’s” by Great Big Sea
- “Could I Have This Dance” by Anne Murray
- “The Girl” by City and Colour
- “Call and Answer” by The Barenaked Ladies
- “Don’t Forget Me When I’m Gone” by Glass Tiger
What Canadian love songs would make your list?