10 Best Classic Rock Songs To Play On A First Date

10 Best Classic Rock Songs To Play On A First Date

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What makes the 10 best classic rock songs to play on a first date? That depends on what kind of first date it is. If the idea is to be a romantic dinner for two at home, there are many ballads and easy-listening classics that could do the trick. However, if the idea is to jazz it up a little as if hosting a house party for two, there are some great rockers that could also fit the bill. Sometimes, even a first date that has a specific theme to it can be lots of fun as a couple strives to impress the other with the possibility of scoring at least a second date.

10 Best Classic Rock Songs to Play on a First Date

#10 – Tunnel of Love (performed by Bruce Springsteen)

“Tunnel of Love” was the title track from Bruce Springsteen’s eighth studio album, which was released in 1987. On the US Billboard Hot 100, it became a number nine hit while on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart at number one. In Canada, it was a number seventeen hit. The song itself used an amusement park ride as a metaphor for marriage while Springsteen performed all of the musical instruments involved from his home studio in Rumson, New Jersey.

While the song itself discusses marriage, it also makes a good song to play on a first date, especially if the couple involved shares the mix of hope and fear of something that could potentially lead to a long-term romance. Since its release, “Tunnel of Love” has been a favorite for many couples who’ve played it as their wedding song or as a theme song to simply describe their relationship together.

#9 – Hungry Eyes (performed by Eric Carmen)

Performed by Eric Carmen, “Hungry Eyes” was a single he recorded and released in 1987 as a power ballad. It became a number four hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was at least a top ten hit among the nations of Australia, Belgium, Canada, South Africa, and Sweden. The song was written by John DeNicola and Franke Previte for the Dirty Dancing soundtrack and it shared the same fate as “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” as a big hit for the album.

The movie itself focused on a relationship that blossomed between Patrick Swayze’s character, Johnny Castle, and Frances “Baby” Houseman, played by Jennifer Grey. In the song, the man was purely focused on his love interest as someone who did more than win him over with visual appeal. Since the movie’s theme was about dancing, “Hungry Eyes” made a good choice for couples to dance to as part of either their first date or as a love theme should their romance lead to the exchange of wedding vows.

#8 – Waiting for a Girl Like You (performed by Foreigner)

Foreigner’s 1981 hit, “Waiting for a Girl Like You” was a power ballad that was released as the second single from the group’s album, 4. Lou Gramm and Mick Jones co-wrote the song, along with Ian Mcdonald’s composition of a synthesizer that stood out as one of the song’s highlights. It was performed by Thomas Dolby, not long before he became world-famous in 1982 for “She Blinded Me with Science.”

As for “Waiting for a Girl Like You,” what makes this a great song for a first date is the confession of a person admitting to the other how much they mean to them. Since first dates are typically the most important step taken by the two people involved, making a positive impression to win each other over is the primary goal. “Waiting for a Girl Like You” still makes a great slow dance song for couples, whether it be a date at home or at a public outing that has this classic on its jukebox tracklist.

#7 – Sometimes When We Touch (performed by Dan Hill)

Released in 1977, “Sometimes When We Touch” was a single by Canadian singer-songwriter Dan Hill performed from his album, Longer Fuse. The song’s musical score was written by Barry Mann while Hill wrote the lyrics. On the US Billboard Hot 100, this became a number three hit, as was the case in Australia. On the Canadian Top Singles chart and its Adult Contemporary Songs chart, “Sometimes When We Touch” peaked as high as number one. The US Billboard Adult Contemporary Songs chart had this peak as high as number ten. Since its release, “Sometimes When We Touch” has become a huge favorite for couples to play on dates, weddings, and anniversaries.

Even over the stretch of time, this song remains one of the ultimate classics for romantics hoping to turn a first date into something more. In 1973, nineteen-year-old Hill was determined to write a song to win over his girlfriend. At the time, she was dating other men while Dan Hill remained exclusively faithful to her. While Hill’s attempt to keep his woman failed, “Sometimes When We Touch” was successful for other couples who found it was the perfect song to use to win over their potential love interest.

Among several recording artists, “Sometimes When We Touch” became a favorite for them to cover. Tammy Wynette’s 1985 version became a country favorite in Canada and the US. However, Dan Hill’s version became the pop culture favorite and it was the one played most often in movies such as 2008’s Tropical Thunder. It was also played on different television programs, including The Simpsons. In 1994, the popularity of “Sometimes When We Touch” resurfaced as the 1994-released music video featured Hill playing the piano as he sang his signature hit.

#6 – Just Between You and Me (performed by April Wine)

Usually, April Wine performs hard rock. This has been the Canadian rock band’s niche ever since it was founded in Nova Scotia by the brothers David and Ritchie Henman, along with their cousin, Jim Henman. Myles Goodwyn came on board as the lead vocalist as part of one of the most popular rock bands that came from the Great White North. 1981’s The Nature of the Beast was April Wine’s ninth album and the one that released “Just Between You and Me” as a single.

At first, there was reluctance by the band to release this power ballad as a single but it turned out to be one of April Wine’s greatest hits. On the US Billboard Hot 100, it peaked as high as number twenty-five while in Canada at number thirteen on the Toronto-based CHUM Chart. On the UK Singles Chart, it also became a number fifty-two hit.

What makes this song stand out as first date potential is the vow of exclusivity between two people. When that first date is shared by a couple that already has strong feelings for each other, “Just Between You and Me” is perfect. Even long after it was released as a single, this song has been a favorite played on dates, as well as at wedding receptions and anniversaries.

#5 – Nights in White Satin (performed by the Moody Blues)

“Nights in White Satin” was written by Justin Hayward while he was touring in Belgium at nineteen years old. At the time, he received a set of white satin bedsheets from his then-girlfriend. This was a powerful love ballad that had Hayward desperately wanting to spend time with his love interest who was on the other side of the world at the time. This was released as a single in 1967 by his group, the Moody Blues, as one of the tracks from its second studio album, Days of Future Passed.

When it was released the first time, it peaked as high as number nineteen on the UK Singles Chart but failed to break into the US Billboard Hot 100. However, it was reissued in 1972 which would soar as high as number two on the American music chart. This became the group’s biggest hit, as well as its best seller which would become certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). This was also a number-one hit in Canada.

In the UK, the song made its second appearance on the music chart, this time peaking as high as number nine. “Nights in White Satin” became an endearing classic, especially in the UK as it hit its music chart yet again in 2010. It peaked as high as number fifty-one on that occasion. The beauty behind this song is the romanticism that makes it perfect to play on a first date. It’s also become a wedding favorite that still receives lots of play today.

#4 – You’re the Inspiration (performed by Chicago)

Together, Peter Cetera and David Foster wrote “You’re the Inspiration,” a powerful ballad that would be featured on Chicago’s fourteenth studio album, Chicago 17. Released in 1984 as a single with Cetera as the lead vocalist, it peaked as high as number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 and at number one on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary Songs chart. It was also number one on Canada’s Adult Contemporary Songs chart while it peaked as high as number five on its Top Singles chart.

In 1986, it was the most performed song in its ballad category according to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). If the goal on a first date is to win over someone’s heart as a feel-good number, “You’re the Inspiration” fits.

This is a song that puts the love interest on a pedestal as the “it” person in your life that you’d like to have more than just a first date with. Around the world, this became a favorite first dance song for couples who just exchanged their vows. “You’re the Inspiration” is a timeless classic that continues to win over the hearts of romantics who know a good song to win over a potential love interest when they hear one.

#3 – Lady (performed by Styx)

1973’s “Lady” was a power ballad released by Styx with Dennis DeYoung as the lead vocalist. This was a song he wrote for his wife, Suzanne Feusi that would become one of his group’s greatest hits ever produced. It was part of the tracklist belonging to Styx II and has stood the test of time as one of the most powerful love ballads ever performed. At first, “Lady” didn’t receive much airplay until a DJ in Chicago heard it play on a jukebox at a pizza restaurant.

Jim Smith played it on the city’s radio station, WLS, and “Lady” finally got the attention it deserved. On the US Billboard Hot 100, it peaked as high as number five. It also became a top-twenty hit in Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa. This is an endearing classic and makes a good song to play on a first date. “Lady,” along with “Come Sail Away” make the perfect recipe for that important first date to go right. “Come Sail Away” offers a great invite for a first date while “Lady” works as a great influencer to turn the first date into a wonderfully romantic occasion that could lead to future relationship possibilities.

#2 – Unchained Melody (performed by the Righteous Brothers)

“Unchained Melody” was written as a theme song for the 1955 prison film, Unchained. Alex North wrote the musical score while Hy Zaret did the lyrics. Todd Duncan was the vocalist who sang it for the film and its soundtrack. Since then, it has become a standard and one of the most recorded songs in history.

The most popular cover version came from the Righteous Brothers when they recorded it in 1965. This was a love song that became so popular that it has been performed by nearly seven hundred recording artists around the world, and performed in various languages. Although the song’s title is “Unchained Melody,” Zaret didn’t want the word “unchained” in the lyrics. He wanted the ballad to be about an imprisoned man yearning to be united back with his wife and family. At the time, the 1955 version of “Unchained Melody” earned an Academy Award nomination in 1956 but lost out to “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing,” performed by The Four Aces.

The Righteous Brothers‘ version featured Bobby Hatfield’s solo which became a jukebox standard as soon as it was released. On the US Billboard Hot 100, it became a number four hit. This was also the case in New Zealand. It was a top ten hit among the nations of Belgium, Canada, and the Netherlands. On the UK Singles Chart, “Unchained Melody” peaked as high as number fourteen. As proof of the timelessness of this classic, the 1990’s romantic drama, Ghost, hurled “Unchained Melody” back on the music charts.

The song performed even better on a global scale as it became a number-one hit on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary Songs chart, as well as in Australia, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the UK. On the US Billboard Hot 100, it peaked as high as number nineteen. “Unchained Melody” became certified platinum with the RIAA and the UK’s British Phonographic Industry (BPI). This was also the case with the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) and with the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ). In Austria, New Zealand, and Spain, the single became certified gold.

If there was ever that “it” song to play on a first date, “Unchained Melody” would be it. The yearning to be with someone to spend some quality time with, especially in the name of romance, couldn’t be as more precise as the lyrics poured out in what fans and critics will argue is one of the greatest love ballads of all time.

#1 – (Everything I Do) I Do It for You (performed by Bryan Adams)

1991’s “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” was a power ballad performed by Bryan Adams that became the lead single for the movie and soundtrack of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. The song was written by Jim Vallance and Bryan Adams. It also became one of the Canadian singer-songwriter’s signature hits that would be featured in his sixth studio album, Waking Up the Neighbors. As soon as this song was released as a single, it sped its way to the top of the music charts around the world, including the US Billboard Hot 100, the Canadian Top Singles Chart, and the UK Singles Chart.

“I Do It for You” became one of the best-selling singles of all time as it sold over fifteen million copies and earned a multitude of platinum certifications. The UK’s BPI certified this single platinum three times, as did the US’s RIAA. Australia’s ARIA and Music Canada both certified “I Do It for You” double platinum. Platinum was also achieved in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, and Sweden. In France and Germany, the single was certified gold.

As a first-date song option, what’s not to love here? Adams lyrically expressed he would do anything and everything for that special person, no matter what it was. “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” won a Grammy Award for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television. It did receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song but lost to “Beauty and the Beast,” another song that could also work for a first date, especially if the couple happens to be Disney fans.

However, “I Do It for You” has remained among the top favorite tunes to play for date night, as well as a dance song played at weddings, anniversaries, and other romantic occasions. Since its release, this ballad has been covered by many recording artists such as Ireland’s Fatima Mansions and American R&B/Hip-Hop specialist, Brandi. As impressive as their versions were, nothing beats the Bryan Adams original.

10 Best Classic Rock Songs To Play On A First Date article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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