The Top 100: 1 - 10
Last Updated: May 14, 2006

 

1 - Luther Vandross "Superstar/Until You Come Back To Me"
Score: 1637
Originally released on: Busy Body, Epic
Year released: 1983

The third album from Luther Vandross yielded a slew of songs that were beautifully arranged and produced,
and this song was pretty much pitch-perfect. Superstar is slow, it jams, it has multiple meanings, its got strings
that don't condescend the song's R&B treatment, and its got one of the best singers that ever lived doing it. You
can dance to it, you can make love to it, and you can pine over someone for it...and THAT is why this song,
almost hands-down, is the greatest slow jam ever.

2 - The Isley Brothers "Sensuality (Parts 1 & 2) "
Score: 1615
Originally released on: The Heat Is On, T Neck
Year released: 1975

Easily one of the slowest slow jams ever, and rife with all of the Isley Brothers quirks that make a song
distinctly theirs: the keyboard riffs, the pounding toms, and , of course, Ronald Isley, one of the most
unique sounding singers in the history of R&B music. This song has some of the warmest productin
values of any song you can name, which is why it always makes whatever space you hear it in suddenly
feel like a bedroom. You got to give it up to the Isleys; they have more songs on this list than anyone,
and almost every slow jam they've ever done is a classic. Recognize.

3 - The Art of Noise "Moments In Love"
Score: 1585
Originally released on: Into Battle With the Art of Noise, ZTT
Year released: 1983

The Quiet Storm anthem. No slow jam show is complete without it, and even after
more than 20 years and countless remixes this song still digs into your gut where few other
songs can go. With no singing or lyrics, a mad-weird break in the middle and pretty simple
arrangement, the Art of Noise crew out of England lets you know how they get down within
the first few seconds of the song.

4 - The Isley Brothers "Voyage To Atlantis"
Score: 1563
Originally released on: Go For Your Guns; T Neck
Year released: 1977

From the screaming guitar in front to the aquatic echo of Ronald Isley at the end, this song
puts the "water" back in "waterbeds". Most people don't catch it's beneath-the-surface imagery,
but they know a love song when they hear it and that's all that matters. Big, breathy arrangement and
puffy reverbs make this song float on the ear drum.

5 - The Isley Brothers "Between The Sheets "
Score: 1554
Originally released on: Between the Sheets; T Neck
Year released: 1983

This track skirts the line of being slow jam (it's alittle upbeat), but there's no denying it's staying power in this genre:
Between The Sheets is where it's at. 50 million slow jam shows can't be wrong.

6 - Earth Wind & Fire "Reasons"
Score: 1563
Originally released on: The Way Of The World; Columbia/Legacy
Year released: March 1975

A song that's live version is as famous - if not more so - than the original version. Its complex story
of questioning love, wonder and bewliderment have confounded many a slow dancer, but never to the
point of not dancing. This song is more fun sung than danced to, but it's so infectious you
can't help but do both.

 

7 - Marvin Gaye "Distant Lover "
Score: 1508
Originally released on: Let's Get It On ; Motown
Year released: 1973

From early Motown crooner to socially conscious soul man, few artists in the history of R&B have generated
as much sensuality, mystery and plain ol' good music as the late, great Mr. Gaye. This ballad - one of the flat-out
most sensual and legitimate slow jam tracks in his repertoire - works in both live and studio versions equally.
Missing your lover?  This is the song that knows all about it.  It's longing in a bottle.

8 - Prince "Adore"
Score: 1501
Originally released on: Sign O' The Times; Paisley Park
Year released: 1987

Go figure: one of the most frequently quoted and classic slow jams of all time comes off of one of the
most critically-lauded albums in modern music. No one - and we mean no one - has more slow jams than
The Purple One, and Adore is his best one, almost without question. It's catchy burlesque feel, breeezy
wind section and stacked vocals capture Prince at his most sexy and fun. Prince pulls out all the stops for this
song and playas the world over are thanking him nightly for it.

 

9 - Lenny Williams "Cause I Love You"
Score: 1492
Originally released on: Rise Sleeping Beauty; Motown
Year released: 1975

Former Tower of Power lead singer Lenny Williams will forever - and we mean forever - be
remembered as the brother who made the letter "O" sound so good. Nobody begs like Williams,
and when he says he loves you baby, he LOVES you. This song takes its time, and just try not
singing along with him. Go ahead; it'll make you feel good.

10 - Earth Wind & Fire "After The Love Has Gone "
Score: 1488
Originally released on: I Am; Columbia
Year released: 1979

This seminal band had a knack for band arrangements that sounded huge (in part because they
were a huge band) without losing the earthy soul that made their music accessible to everyone.
Like many EWF songs, you have more fun singing along with it than dancing to it, but there's no
denying the power of this tale of hope-filled woe and the redemptive cleanse of a ton of horns
and Philip Bailey falsettos showering down on your head.

 

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