The B List: Favorite Hair-Metal Power Ballads

8. I Remember You – Skid Row: These guys emerged at the end of Hair Metal’s heyday. They broke with Youth Gone Wild, a rocking anthem that boosted them to overnight fame and fortune. The well-received 18 and Life came next, after which the band took it down a notch with I Remember You. Soon after this song was released, Nirvana and Pearl Jam took all the attention away from the hair bands, which was probably a good thing: Trixter, Winger, Warrant and the other early ’90s metal bands really lacked originality.

7. Love Bites – Def Leppard: Would you believe out of all the incredible songs Def Leppard has released, Love Bites was the only one to hit #1 in the United States? After the success of Pour Some Sugar On Me, the band did what all hair metal bands did after putting out a hit, they released a power ballad. Love Bites may feature some cheesy lyrics, but which of these songs didn’t? My favorite part of the song is the little jam at the end of the song featuring a little duel between guitarists Steve Clark and Phil Collen. Good stuff.

6. Silent Lucidity – Queensryche: I was never into Queensryche until the day I first saw the video for Silent Lucidity, another song that fits in both the rock epic and power ballad categories. The song’s Pink Floyd-like lyrics and terrific utilization of an orchestra made me run out and buy the album. Of course, I was 12 years old and wasn’t ready to explore the prog-rock stylings and just plain scary lyrics on the rest of Operation Mindcrime. I remember getting chills when Queensryche played Silent Lucidity live with an orchestra at the 1991 Video Music Awards — almost 17 years later it still brings chills.

5. Patience – Guns N’ Roses: In late 1988, GnR had become a major success and Geffen just couldn’t wait for Axl & Co. to record a new album (sound familiar?). The band quickly recorded four acoustic numbers, which the band threw together with four older live tracks as the Lies EP. In typical power ballad fashion, Patience was the single that came on the heels of the rockin’ Paradise City from Appetite For Destruction. The track starts slow with Axl Rose singing in very low tones before belting out the refrain in his high-pitched scowl, just in case anyone thought he lost his edge.

4. Sister Christian – Night Ranger: Boogie Nights has helped solidify Sister Christian’s slot as creator of one of the best power ballads in the history of rock. Like many of the songs on this list, Sister Christian begins softly and builds up to a powerful crescendo. Anyone that can listen to the song and not throw their fist in the air when the Motorin’ part begins must be a communist. Truth.

3. Every Rose Has Its Thorn – Poison: I’m pretty sure Every Rose Has Its Thorn did more to sell acoustic guitars than any other song in rock history. This classic tale of love lost was naturally written about a stripper that broke Bret Michael’s heart. Rule #1 about strippers Bret, never fall for them, just let them work their magic. Also, check out John Mayer’s version of the song from Chappelle’s Show.

2. November Rain – Guns N’ Roses: Good ol’ Hal Handstand thinks this one is a rock epic and belongs in a separate category. After watching this video for the first time in many years, I fully agree that November Rain is indeed a rock epic on par with Stairway To Heaven, Dream On and Layla. Yet the song was produced in the era of the Hair Band, and its slow tempo and sensitive lyrics make it a power ballad. A fucking awesome power ballad, but a power ballad nonetheless. They really don’t write genius-type songs like this anymore.

1. Home Sweet Home – Motley Crue: When the skirt-chasing badasses in Motley Crue released Home Sweet Home in 1985, it showed that Hair Metal bands could show their sensitive side without appearing soft. Home Sweet Home expanded the Crue fanbase to include more and more women, which was just fine with the men in the audience and, of course, the band. The song itself begins innocently enough with Tommy Lee playing a nice chord progression on the piano before the rest of the band comes in and adds some true power to this ballad about homesickness from life on the road.

In talking to many people about power ballads to compile this list, the only thing that is clear is that everyone has a different take on what rocks and what is cheesy. What are your favorite power ballads?

More: The Power Ballad Timeline, Power Ballad Wikipedia Entry

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29 Responses

  1. Scotty The Body, you never cease to amaze. I actually started compiling some collections of this most powerful facet of rock last year sometime. You definitely picked some of the greatest ever. Here are some of my additional faves that rock so hard, yet are unbelievably cheesy:

    Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’ (killin strings and guitars)
    Def Leppard – Bringing on the Heartbreak
    Heart – Alone
    Ballad Of Jayne – LA Guns (should be in the top 10)
    House of Pain – Faster Pussycat (how could you forget FP?)
    Angel – Aerosmith
    Heaven – Warrant
    High Enough – Damn Yankees (Night Ranger strikes again)

    Get your lighter in the air.

  2. Tesla – What You Give
    Van Halen – When Its Love
    Metallica – Nothing Else Matters
    Skid Row – I Remember You
    Poison – Something To Believe In
    Slaughter – Fly to the Angels
    Extreme – More than Words

  3. High Enough is like the mega power ballad mixing up Night Ranger, Styx, and the Nuge. Good call Old School.

  4. Heaven by Warrant would certainly make my list…I remember listening to that song on repeat all the time while playing Nintendo as a kid. Great list as always, though, pardner.


  6. let’s also not forget:

    Sammy Hagar – Give to Live
    Van Halen – Dreams (with excellent Blue Angels video)
    Metallica – The Unforgiven
    Guns and Roses – Rocket Queen
    Guns and Roses – Estranged

  7. hehe… I don’t think “iI remember you” is #1 Skid Row’s hit… “18 and life” is much more cooler! an don’t forget about other bands = ) where is GNR’s “estranged” and where is alice cooper? nonono…

  8. Here are some more outtakes, hairspray-drenched Zippo anthems:

    “Wait” by White Lion (If Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again” qualifies as a ballad, so does this midtempo slice).

    “Don’t Know What You Got” or “Nobody’s Fool” by Cinderella
    “Don’t Close Your Eyes” by Kix
    “Love of a Lifetime” by Firehouse
    “I’ll Be There For You” by Bon Jovi
    “Alone” by Heart
    “If I Close My Eyes Forever” by Lita Ford & Ozzy Osbourne

    and, yes, Faster Pussycat’s “House of Pain” must not be forgotten. Great song.

  9. Some I would have added include:

    “Winds of Change” – Scorpions
    “Bed of Roses” – Bon Jovi
    “Endless Rain” – X Japan

  10. Everyone forgot

    “Alone Again” by Dokken
    “Surrender” by Trixter
    “Just Take My Heart” Mr. Big
    & “High Enough” by Damn Yankees.

    These songs are unforgettable, if you have never heard them I suggest you listen to them.

  11. Trixter is great!!
    “Surrender” is a very underated power ballad!!
    to be with you – mr big! (how could you miss this!)
    sometimes she cries – warrant
    white lion is great too..
    firehouse, although a lil bit cheesy!! haha.. still great
    and oh, great white – save all your love!
    twisted sister – the price

  12. These are some that I grew up with:
    Hardline “Can’t find my way”
    Motley Crue “Without you”
    Alice Cooper “Hell is living without you”/ “Might as well be on mars”
    Pink Cream 69 “Ballerina”
    XYZ “When I find love”
    Kingdomcome “What love can be”
    Judas Priest “Lost and Found”
    Arcade Ratt “Cry no more”
    Great White “Save all your love”
    Saigon Kick “Love is on the way”.

    There’s one more that I can’t remember the title band. The chorus goes /- like this “10000 years passed us by, just the other day, it seems like,10000 tears we have cried (or kept hide) just the other day”. I can’t remember who’s from. CAn you help me with this? Thanks.

  13. Pricia, I have also been trying to figure that one out for almost 20 years now! Let me know if you discover the artist.

  14. you forget these song men:the price/twisted sisters,fade to black/metallica,shot in thedark/ozzy osbourne,no one like you/scorpions,youre all ineed/motley crue,in the still of the night/white snake.when i remenber others i added.

  15. Speaking of hair band ballads we can;t figure out who did, or all the words to them…does anyone remember one that had to do with the guy’s g/f leaving for the bog city to find out if she could make it there? it went something like ‘she had to [find out if she could make it] , take [good] care of her New York’ / thanx

  16. ….here is a perfect list of known and unknown tracks!

    Does anybody really falls in love anymore/kane roberts
    Why call it love/phantom blue
    I’ll be there/the escape club
    King of the fools/twisted sister
    Something to believe in/bon jovi
    In a darkened room/skid row
    ‘Till death do us part/white lion
    Come take me now/saigon kick
    I found you/L.A. guns
    The idol/W.A.S.P.
    Open your heart/europe
    I still think about you/danger danger
    Streets of dreams/GN’R
    Where you goin’ now/damn yankees
    Simple man/junkyard
    Love and affection/def leppard
    I wanna be with you/pretty boy floyd
    Make love last/bad english
    Now you’re gone/whitesnake
    Rodeo/motley crue
    Second chance/.38 special
    Reason to live/kiss
    Theatre of my soul/poison
    We die young/steelheart
    Don’t close your eyes/kix
    Die for you/alice cooper
    Wasting love/iron maiden
    Lovin’ kind/great white
    the road to nowhere/ozzy osbourne
    Alone again/dokken
    Not enough/van halen
    Living without you/shoygun messiah
    Forever tonight/precious metal
    Shot of poison/lita ford
    I don’t wanna live without you/sleeze beez
    Mother’s eyes/enuff z’nuff
    Ghost town/cheap trick
    The bitter pill/warrant
    Givin’ yourself away/RATT

  17. Pricia – Not sure if you ever found your answer, but I was just listening to Neverland and the songs “10,000 Years” which is what I think you’re looking for.

  18. CHIP – you made it!!! Yes. THANK YOU. Millions of thanks. You can’t imagine how I searched in vain for the song. Thank you so SO SOOOO much for your memory and your help. I’m truly thankful. A big metal kiss to you.

  19. Does anyone remember a band, I believe, from the very early 90’s called King of the Mountain or King of the Hill? They had one song out and all I can remember is at the end he says “I said I think that I love you, yeayeah”.

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