Classic love songs have South Africans all choked up this Valentine’s Day

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[Johannesburg] 13 February 2023  Amapiano might have a chokehold on South Africans’ hearts for the rest of the year, but when it comes to Valentine’s Day, it’s the classics that are getting them all choked up!

Data shared by streaming giant Spotify ahead of Valentine’s Day shows that South Africans are adding iconic love songs by artists like John Legend, Ed Sheeran, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey to their playlists to express their feelings. Their tastes also don’t differ much from global favourites, with many of these same artists featuring in the global top 10 love songs added to playlists going into Valentine’s Day.

Legend’s emotional All of Me is the most added love song both in South Africa and globally. British pop star Sheeran occupies two spots among South Africa’s favourite love songs with Perfect and Thinking Out Loud, which is no surprise given that globally, he occupies the top artist spot when it comes to love songs.

Soundtracks to romantic movies also feature strongly among South Africa’s most playlisted love songs- with Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You, featured in The Bodyguard, Bryan Adams’ Everything I do (I do it for You) from the 1991 movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Christina Perri’s Twilight theme song, A Thousand Years, all ranking in the top 10 most playlisted tracks.

A number of South Africa’s favourite love songs are also deeply nostalgic with half of the top ten songs being more than 20 years old. Houston’s version of I Will Always Love You was released in 1992, although the original, by Dolly Parton, dates back to the 70s. Mariah Carey’s Always be My Baby is 28 years old, while Alicia Keys’ If I Ain’t Got You, turns 20 this year. The oldest song however is the Elvis Presley classic, Can’t Help Falling in Love, which was released in 1961 and is enjoying a resurgence due to the recent release of a biopic of his life.

The list of artists that South Africans are adding to their playlists has a bit more current appeal- with recent Grammy winners Beyonce and Taylor Swift and this year’s Super Bowl halftime artist, Rihanna all ranking in the top 10. And it seems when it comes to love – women say it best as six of South Africa’s 10 most playlisted artists are women.

And while there are no South African artists ranking in the top 10, Spotify EQUAL alumni Elaine is tugging on South Africans’ heartstrings. Her track You’re The One, is the literal one, as the top ranked South African love song.

See below for the full lists of most playlisted love songs on Spotify both in South Africa and globally.

Song South AfricaArtist South AfricaSong Global
All of Me by John Legend Perfect by Ed SheeranThinking Out Loud by Ed SheeranI Will Always Love You by Whitney HoustonIf I Aint Got You by Alicia KeysJust the Way You Are  by Bruno MarsEverything I do (I do it for You) by Bryan AdamsA Thousand Years by Christina PerriAlways be My Baby by Mariah CareyCan’t Help Falling in Love by Elvis Presley
Ed SheeranJohn LegendBruno MarsBeyoncéWhitney HoustonRihannaJustin BieberAlicia KeysTaylor SwiftMariah CareyAll of Me by John Legend Thinking Out Loud by Ed SheeranJust the Way You Are by Bruno MarsMy Girl by The TemptationsI Will Always Love You by Whitney HoustonCan’t Help Falling in Love by Elvis PresleyPerfect by Ed SheeranMake You Feel My Love by AdeleA Thousand Years by Christina PerriAt Last by Etta James


If you would rather skip making your own playlists and have Spotify make one tailored specifically to you and that special someone, then Blend should be your go to. Blend brings together the musical tastes of two or more people, using Spotify’s personalisation and collaborative tools, to create a playlist based on your musical tastes. 

Here’s how you can create your own Blend: 

 1. Navigate to the “search” tab on the Spotify app

2. Type “Blend” into the search bar, and click the “Blend” genre that shows as the first result

3. Select “Create a Blend” – this will take you to a page that prompts you to invite your friends

4. Click “invite”

5. Either copy the share link, or choose the app on which you’d like to share your Blend link, and share

the link with the Spotify user or users that you’d like to create a Blend with

6. When the user/s click the link, they’ll be invited to join the Blend playlist

7. Enjoy your Blend!

Each Blend comes with a percentage taste match, and if you would like to know what your taste match says about your musical compatibility, then check out this Instagram post

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