I won’t lie, I frequently revisit The Best of Bread whenever I’m hankering for a bit of a self-care day. Picture this, you’ve settled in for the night, you have a candle going and the dulcet vocals of David Gates are coming out over your speakers—it doesn’t get much better than that.
When you think of soft rock staples, it’s hard to skip over Bread. Never straying far from an easy-listening tempo, their tracks are mellow gold of the highest caliber. Below, we’re going through 10 of the best Bread songs for your listening pleasure. Let’s dive in.
1. “Sweet Surrender”
Gates is letting go of his inhibitions in “Sweet Surrender.” Baby I’m through runnin’ it’s true / I’d be a fool to try to escape you / Maybe I’m beat but oh what a sweet surrender, he sings. This breezy, melodic song was one of the last No.1 hits the band ever produced.
2. “Make It with You”
Few easy-listening songs can rival “Make It With You.” Lighter-than-air musicality paired with Gates’ tender vocals makes for something truly hypnotizing. It’s one of their signature tracks for good reason and will continue to be an easy-listening staple.
3. “Baby I’m-a Want You”
When Gates first brought “Baby I’m-a Want You” into rehearsal, it fell flat. The following day he raised the key and immediately had a No. 1 adult contemporary hit on his hands. Without much to cushion Gates’ vocals, this track highlights his pure tone in a way few other Bread songs do.
I found her diary underneath a tree / And started reading about me, Gates sings on this sparse number in which a man finds his lover’s diary and gets more than he bargained for. As this lulling acoustic number goes on, the man finds out that his girl is in love with someone else. He resigns, and as I go through my life / I will wish for her, his wife / All the sweet things she can find.
5. “Lost Without Your Love”
“Lost Without Your Love” signified Bread’s comeback to the charts after being away for nearly three and a half years. The title track for their final album, this love song sent the band off with a No. 1 on the charts.
6. “The Guitar Man”
The instrumentation in “Guitar Man” was a little heavier than the group’s previous singles in 1972, largely due to a wah-wah guitar solo from Larry Knechtel. The lyrics reflect the loneliness a rock star can have while chasing fame. The fading roar of a crowd in the outro adds to the song’s somber mood.
7. “It Don’t Matter To Me”
“It Don’t Matter To Me” was originally included on Bread’s 1969 debut. In the wake of the band’s breakthrough success with “Make It With You,” the track was re-recorded in a more streamlined version. The track is a bit unusual, reaching the middle-eight within the first minute of the song. Slightly, experimental, “It Don’t Matter To Me” deserves a revisit.
8. “Everything I Own”
At first listen, “Everything I Own” is a romantic devotion. While the lyrics could certainly be interpreted that way, for Gates, the track is an ode to his late father. At the funeral, a friend took Gates aside and said “Your dad was so proud of what you were doing.” Gates agreed, “My success would have been so special to him as he was my greatest influence. So I decided to write and record ‘Everything I Own’ about him. If you listen to the words, You sheltered me from harm, kept me warm, you gave my life to me, set me free, it says it all.”
Gates was inspired to write “Aubrey” after watching Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s – though he’s admitted he didn’t fully understand the movie. It’s a beautiful composition complete with lush strings and intricate guitar picking. The song had a surprising cultural impact, transforming Aubrey from a boy’s to a girl’s name.
Gates wrote this shimmering romantic ode in 1971. If a picture paints a thousand words / Then why can’t I paint you? he sings in the opening line. Drawn from their third album, Manna, “If” is likely the one Bread song you know if you’re not too familiar with the group. Shooting straight up to No. 1 upon its release, this track is certainly an enduring hit for the soft rockers.
(Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)