10 Kind of Lost Power Ballads Just In Time for Valentine’s Day
It's time to take another trip back in time and remember some of the songs you forget with another edition of my lost songs. Last week during our Friday Happy Hour show Mike Pettis and I were chatting about my latest Lost Songs installment "10 More Lost Songs From the '80s: How Many Do You Remember?" when he told me he'd like me to do an article on 10 Lost Power Ballads.
Now, I've always been more of a pop guy, so I told him sure, but he'd have to help me with the list. Well, he had his list sitting in my email before we were even done with our Friday Happy Hour show! I'm not sure if all his suggestions are what I'd consider "lost songs". As I think I've heard three or four of them on rock radio stations rather recently. (It's shocking I know, but I do listen to more stations than Awesome 92.3. Scandalous, isn't it?) As for putting them on this list, sometimes you just say what the hell, ya know?
So what's a power ballad? According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a power ballad is, "In pop music, a slow love song that is sung with a lot of emotion." Urban Dictionary's definition says the following about power ballads: "An emotional hard rock/heavy metal song, often with a slow tempo, dramatic sung vocals, and many instruments, including acoustic ones and synthesizers. Power ballads usually start soft, then heaviness builds up with drums and heavy electric guitars."
When I think of a power ballad, in most cases, I tend to think of the hard rock/hair rock genre, with the notable exceptions being Bad English's "When I See You Smile" and Celine Dion's epic "It's All Coming Back To Me Now" that just seem to fit the definition even though I would consider Bad English power pop and Celine Dion light rock.
So grab your sweetie, sit down and watch these lost and not so lost power ballads.
Kix-Don't Close Your Eyes
So when does a rock song actually chart better on the Billboard Hot 100 chart than the Billboard Rock chart? When it's a power ballad. That's exactly what happened with "Don't Close Your Eyes". It went to 11 on the Hot 100 and 16 on the Rock Chart in 1989.
Saigon Kick - Love Is On the Way
A hit from 1992 is Saigon Kick's "Love Is On the Way". The song is their biggest hit and went to #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Steelheart - I'll Never Let You Go
Steelheart's 1990 power ballad is known by two similar names. "I'll Never Let You Go" or "I'll Never Let You Go (Angel Eyes)". It was the second release from their self titled 1990 release.
White Lion - When the Children Cry
White Lion wrote "When the Children Cry" immediately after Live Aid and it was influenced by singer Mike Tramp's childhood. It was the third song released off their 1987 album "Pride" and it peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Firehouse - Love of a Lifetime
The Firehouse song that I remember was "Don't Treat Me Bad", not their power ballad "Love of a Lifetime". Love of a Lifetime was released in June 1991 right at the point when music was really changing. Impressively the band took the song from number 81 that June to number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 by September.
Scorpions - WInd of Change
"Wind of Change" is one of the best-selling singles of all time with 14 million copies sold worldwide. This is one of those songs that probably isn't lost, and you're likely to hear on a rock station. Singer Klaus Meine composed and wrote the song following the band's visit to the Soviet Union during the height of perestroika and was a monster #1 almost everywhere. It even got played on the sleepy light rock station your mom listened to and went to #43 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. On the Hot 100 chart, it came in #4, and #2 on the Rock chart.
L.A. Guns - The Ballad of Jayne
Rumored to have been written about Jayne Mansfield, L.A. Guns became a one-hit-wonder when "The Ballad of Jayne" went to #33 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1990. On the Rock chart, the song fared slightly better going to #25.
Tesla - Love Song
Tesla took "Love Song" to #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1990. And the music video for "Love Song" was filmed at the former Cal Expo Amphitheater in the band's hometown. A local radio station had gotten wise that the group was shooting a video and had run a contest awarding the fans who created the best banner backstage passes. Which explains why fans are holding up banners throughout the video. You'll still hear this one on rock radio, from time to time too. So it may not be as lost as some of the other songs on this list.
Skid Row - I Remember You
I couldn't put this list together without including this tune, "I Remember You" from Skid Row. The Marist High School prom theme for the class of 1990. Please forgive us for picking this ill-advised, now dated, prom theme. But what do you expect from a bunch of dudes in 1990 at an all guys high school? Personally, everything about that prom was rather forgettable, including the theme. Homecoming was my favorite dance that year, followed by my friend Amy taking me to her prom, where they at least had the common sense to theme it after Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight". "I Remember You" went to #6 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Slaughter - Fly to the Angels
There's not a lot to say about "Fly to the Angels". The song cracked the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and went to #15 on the Mainstream Rock chart. It was one of Slaughter's best-selling songs according to Songfacts.
Lita Ford & Ozzy Osbourne - Close My Eyes Forever
When the Wikipedia entry for "Close My Eyes Forever" told me the song was written as the result of an accident in the studio, and, both Ozzy and Lita were drunk and stoned when they wrote it. That sent me to Songfacts to see what scandal resulted in its writing. Well aside from the boozing and ingestion of other mind-altering substances, not much. Sharon and Ozzy had met Lita at the studio, and Sharon got bored and went home. And well, by the time the duo had wrapped up writing the song the sun had come up. So the big scandal, Ozzy not coming home till dawn. Which, in the world of Ozzy isn't much of a scandal is it? Epic lyrics took this song to #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1989 and is Ozzy's highest-charting single of his solo career.
An observation on one of the Songfacts blurbs about "Fly to the Angels" really stood out to me. "It was also yet another power ballad, at the turn of the 1980s/1990s decade when it seemed every heavy metal band had to release one power ballad in order to chart." Look at the years and dates of most of these songs. There's some truth to that, and part of that was because the music was changing. Radio was changing.
And whether you were a hair rock act like Slaughter, a mainstream pop/rock guy like Phil Collins, or an aging corporate rock act like .38 Special. When the '80s were giving way to the '90s if you wanted to put a hit on the radio, ballads were the way to do that in the run-up to dance, hip-hop /rap, and alternative dominating most of the early to the mid-'90s music scene.