These are twenty records that were released between 1956 and 1963 that I deem to be the best romance songs of the era, ranked from #1 to #20.
best romance rank title artist highest ranking week debuted
1 Stranger On The Shore Acker Bilk 1 4/7/1962
2 Moon River Andy Williams
3 Theme From a Summer Place Percy Faith 1 1/25/1960
4 It's Just a Matter of Time Brook Benton 3 2/9/1959
5 The Way You Look Tonight The Lettermen 13 9/25/1961
6 I Can't Stop Loving You Ray Charles 1 5/19/1962
7 It's All In The Game Tommy Edwards 1 8/25/1958
8 Misty Johnny Mathis 12 10/15/1959
9 Can't Help Falling in Love Elvis Presley 2 12/18/1961
10 Stand by Me Ben E. King 4 5/22/1961
11 Since I Met you Baby Ivory Joe Hunter 12 12/1/1956
12 I Only Have Eyes for You The Flamingos 11 6/8/1959
13 Unforgettable Dinah Washington 17 10/26/1959
14 All The Way Frank Sinatra 2 10/28/1957
15 Come Softly to Me The Fleetwoods 1 3/16/1959
16 Put Your Head On My Shoulder Paul Anka 2 9/14/1959
17 Twilight Time The Platters 1 4/7/1958
18 Wonderful, Wonderful Johnny Mathis 14 5/6/1957
19 When I Fall In Love The Lettermen 6 12/4/1961
20 There's a Moon Out Tonight The Capris 3 1/23/1961
Johnny Mathis has five songs on my A+ list of romantic ballads, , including the double sided hit "Chances Are" / "The Twelfth of Never."

While the new sound of rock and roll came to dominate the pop record charts during The Elvis Era, there was still a place for the classic love song. These are the songs for slow dancing and romancing at the local lover's lane. Of course in those days you'd mostly have to rely on the local deejay to provide the right song at the right time as this was before even the 8-Track players had been invented. I've selected and ranked what I consider to be the best "love" songs of the era -- excluding the heartbreak songs. There is some gray area here as some, while proclaiming eternal love, still are a bit of a lament over lost love. For example, Ray Charles' "I Can't Stop Loving You" is clearly tinged with sadness, it seems to me it is expressing an undying love.

Two of the top three are instrumentals. My top ranked romance song, "Stranger on the Shore" could easily be disqualified from this list if the lyrics were considered, but since there are no voices on the record, I choose to ignore those lyrics which clearly declare a heart break produced as one watches their love sail away "taking all my dreams and taking all of me." On the other hand, "A Summer Place" is a bonafide love song even with the lyrics: "There are no gloomy skies when seen through the eyes of those who are blessed with love." The number two ranked "Moon River" could also have been an instrumental as Henry Mancini's version reached #11 in 1962. Jerry Butler also had a #11 vocal version of the song. But I listed Andy Williams' version, even though it was never released as a single -- most recognize it as the classic version.

Johnny Mathis and The Lettermen both get two songs in the top twenty. Mathis was the king of the romantic ballad during The Elvis Era. I selected "Misty" at #8 even though it was (at the time) one of his less popular ballads. Mr. Mathis had nine top twenty records during the era, five of which I would give an A+ rating. The Lettermen were the soft counterpoint to rock and roll in the early 1960's and their renditions of two romantic classics, "The Way You Look Tonight" and "When I Fall in Love" both make the list.

The Platters were ever-present on the charts in the mid to late 1950's and their r&b influenced ballads are representative of the era. I find "Twilight Time" to be their best -- another Platter classic, "Only You" predates the era (1955). The doo-wop sound of rock and roll is also represented on the list by The Flamingo's "I Only Have Eyes For You," The Fleetwoods' "Come Softly To Me" and The Capris' "There's A Moon Out Tonight."

There are other romance songs that I would also give an A+ rating, but to continue to split hairs and rank them is too taxing an effort -- therefore they are listed in alphabetical order.

Other A+ Romance Records From The Elvis Era:
Allegheny Moon by Patti Page 6/16/1956 #2
All I Have To Do Is Dream by The Everly Brothers 4/28/1958 #1
A Thousand Stars by Kathy Young & the Innocents 10/31/1960 #3
Chances Are by Johnny Mathis 9/16/1957 #1
Cupid by Sam Cooke 6/26/1961 #17
Dreamy Eyes by Johnny Tillotson 1/20/1962 #35
Gee Whiz by Carla Thomas 2/20/1961 #10
Gypsy Woman by The Impressions 11/20/1961 #20
Happy, Happy Birthday Baby by The Tune Weavers 9/23/1957 #5
He'll Have To Go by Jim Reeves 1/11/1960 #2
I'll Remember (In the Still of the Night) by The Five Satins 9/29/1956 #24
It's Not For Me To Say by Johnny Mathis 5/20/1957 #5
Let It Be Me by The Everly Brothers 1/25/1960 #7
Love Letters by Ketty Lester 3/10/1962 #5
Memories Are Made of This by Dean Martin 12/3/1955 #1
My Special Angel by Bobby Helms 10/14/1957 #7
Old Cape Cod by Patti Page 6/3/1957 #3
One Summer Night by The Danleers 6/30/1958 #7
Only Sixteen by Sam Cooke 7/6/1959 #28
Save the Last Dance for Me by The Drifters 9/19/1960 #1
Sealed With a Kiss by Brian Hyland 6/30/1962 #3
So Much In Love by The Tymes 6/22/1963 #1
So This Is Love by The Castells 5/26/1962 #21
Sukiyaki by Kyu Sakamoto 5/25/1963 #1
There's No Other by The Crystals 12/11/1961 #20
The Twelfth of Never by Johnny Mathis 10/14/1957 #9
You're the Reason I'm Living by Bobby Darin 2/2/1963 #3
You Send Me by Sam Cooke 10/28/1957 #1