Metal Monday–The 100 Best Power Ballads of All-Time

As promised, here is my list of the top 100 power ballads of all-time.  As I argued last week, the normal definition of the power ballad is a soft song that builds toward a rockin’ climax but many consider songs like the KISS classic, “Beth” a power ballad but it doesn’t build but remains steady from beginning to end.  So, I have defined a power ballad as any ballad by a band widely considered to be a hard rock or metal band.

Even though this list was compiled from the roughly 6000+ songs on my iPod, I don’t pretend to believe that I have considered every great ballad.  So, feel free to list any you think I have missed in the comments section.

As to criteria, I have ranked them first by influence and second by awesomeness.  The list is partially annotated to give you a feel of why I have chosen some to place as high as they have and, again, I am not quite arrogant enough to believe I have nailed.  So, again, feel free to disagree.

Here we go:

  1. “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin.  The song that arguably created the power ballad and certainly influenced rock bands from Aerosmith to Styx to try their hand at it. Zeppelin refused to release it as a single but the ascendency of FM radio in the mid-seventies helped make it a huge hit anyway.
  2. “Home Sweet Home” by Motley Crue.  Many bands tried to release hit ballads in the ’80’s (including noble attempts by The Scorpions) but the Crue made a ballad single mandatory. The music video was so popular on MTV’s nightly call-in Top 10 that it drove channel execs to create the “Crue Rule,” which eliminated a music video from consideration for the list after three months.
  3. “Wanted Dead or Alive” by Bon-Jovi.  MTV Unplugged reflected the late ’80’s and early ’90’s acoustic craze and it all started with this song.  The acoustic build up to the rock ode to the hardship of the road re-directed music and helped move it away from synthesizers.
  4. “Love Hurts” by Nazareth.  Early power ballads avoided the “wussy” label by focusing on the emptiness of consumerism (“Stairway to Heaven”) or spousal abuse (“Only Women Bleed”) or overcoming adversity to achieve your goals (“Dream On”).  Only Styx had dared to lean into sappy wussiness with “Lady” in 1974.  But Nazareth was undaunted and covered the song first recorded by The Everly Brothers in 1960.  Nazareth’s version was an FM hit and, along with “Beth” by KISS, opened the floodgates for hard rock bands to make the “oh face” while singing about love lost and found!
  5. “Beth” KISS.  Speaking of “Beth,” KISS hated the song that Peter Criss brought to them and even taunted Criss while he tried to record the vocals but Bob Ezrin, who had produced the hit ballad “Only Women Bleed” for Alice Cooper the year before knew it was gold.  “Beth” was a top 10 smash that took KISS to another level and helped bring strings into the forefront (for good [“November Rain”]or for ill [“I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing”]).
  6. “November Rain” Guns N’ Roses.  Axl Rose took the ballad and infused it with true epicness that stemmed from Axl’s love of  seventies-ear Queen.  November Rain is the longest song ever to hit the top 10 with 2 count them 2, guitar solos.
  7. “Open Arms” Journey.  Let’s face it, Journey mastered the radio friendly power ballad.  Many would place “Don’t Stop Believing” on this list, if not at the top of it, but if you listen it isn’t a ballad!  Tempo matters, folks!  But “Open Arms” is truly a classic piece of cheesy goodness.
  8. “Dream On” Aerosmith.  Steven, Joe & the boys answered Zeppelin with an American salvo about making it big and it still sounds awesome nearly forty-years later!
  9. “Fade to Black” Metallica.  In the ’80’s, true denim & leather metal heads believed ballads were for “posers!” That was until Metallica unleashed this suicidal tale.  It opened the doors for future thrash ballads like the truly underrated “Years of Decay” by Overkill.
  10. “Here I Go Again” Whitesnake.  More remembered for the music video, frankly, this tune barely counts as a ballad as it ramps up pretty quickly.  But it is the apex of an important ballad theme, “I’m a lone wolf, girl!” and, in the words of the poets of Night Ranger, “hold on to me, baby but don’t hold me down!”
  11. “Catch the Rainbow” Rainbow.  The mightiest voice in metal, the late Ronnie James Dio, unleashed this Bic lighter classic in ’75.  The fusion of Dio’s voice and Blackmore’s guitar may have brought us perilously close to the apocalypse because how much more could God ask for?
  12. “Wish You Were Here” Pink Floyd.  Even the great Pink Floyd went down the ballad path in the heyday of the rise of FM radio.  Also, a true bromance song lamenting the emotional breakdown of the band’s founder.  Awesome.
  13. “Patience” Guns N’ Roses.  Bon-Jovi may have re-introduced the acoustic guitar to rock in the mid-eighties but it took “the World’s Most Dangerous Band” to make totally unplugged a cool thing.  It nearly even re-introduced whistling!
  14. “Mr. Crowley” Ozzy Osbourne.  Many won’t think of this as a ballad but give it a listen and tell me I’m wrong.  Moreover, what better ballad than a song about the self-described “most evil man alive.”  Very metal.
  15. “Beyond the Realms of Death” Judas Priest.  Rob Halford could sing a Jonas Brothers song to a $50 Casio keyboard and sound heavy and this is the best of the Priest metal ballads.
  16. “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” Poison.  Possibly the biggest ballad of the 1980’s even if the lyrics are often truly lame (“like every cowboy sings a sad, sad song”???) and, like Bret Michaels, it hasn’t aged well.
  17. “Only Women Bleed” Alice Cooper.  In the early days of the power ballad, no one could quite understand what “Stairway” or “Dream On” was about at the time (and no one with any testosterone cared about what Styx was singing about in “Lady”) but everyone got the message of this one.  A great ballad about the painful topic of abuse.
  18. “One” Metallica.  Another one that many don’t normally think of as a ballad but give it a listen and tell me I’m wrong.
  19. “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” Def Leppard.  Long before Leppard decided to be a syrupy pop band of middle-aged guys trying to woo high school girls (creepy!), they cranked out this truly awesome ballad.
  20. “Quicksand Jesus” Skid Row.  Many will point to “I Remember You” as the best ballad ever belted by Sebastian Bach but this one is much better from the group’s much better second album “Slave to the Grind.”
  21. “House of Pain” Faster Pussycat.  Speaking of ballads with a little substance (at least “Quicksand Jesus” sounds like it has substance), “House of Pain” is THE song for anyone with daddy issues, which, as far as I can see, includes more than half of the population.
  22. “A Tout le Monde” Megadeth with Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil.  I always wondered why there weren’t more duets in hard rock and heavy metal and this one proves it can work.
  23. “Years of Decay” Overkill.  It is a crime that this band is not huge.  They never produced anything but good albums and this song kicks tail!  Check it out.
  24. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” Guns N’ Roses.  Let’s face it, GNR, not Journey is the master of the power ballad.  This hit was totally unique, especially the eerie refrain of “Where do we go now?”
  25. “Cemetary Gates” Pantera.  The Cowboys from Hell produced a surprising number of ballads but this is one is the best.
  26. “Nobody’s Fool” Cinderella.  The screw you ballad is the best, especially right after a break-up, and this one is at the top of my “up yours, baby!” list.
  27. “Who Wants to Live Forever” Queen.  There are a half-dozen Queen songs worthy of the top 50 but this one was featured in “Highlander” and that counts for a lot!
  28. “Goodbye to Romance” Ozzy Osbourne.  A farewell to Black Sabbath from the singer they canned but was poised for a bigger solo career. Awesome.
  29. “Bother” Stone Sour.  Originally a rush job for the Spider-Man soundtrack.  The song’s awesomeness made-up for the horrible Nickelback-Saliva collaboration!
  30. “Closer to the Heart” Rush. A ballad about the government and need for harmony.  I like the song but I think this proves that Canadians spend too much time drinking Labatts and watching grown men skate.
  31. “I Remember You” Skid Row.  If there is A band that I truly miss from the 1980’s, it is this one.  No reunion? Say it ain’t so, Baz!
  32. “Keep on Loving You” REO Speedwagon.  A huge hit for AOR’s merry band of balladers.  Can you hear this song without singing it over and over again? I dare you!
  33. “The Unforgiven 2” Metallica.  Yet, another Metallica ballad hits the list.  Who knew they were such softies! I prefer the sequel to the original but love both.
  34. “1916” Motorhead.  Lemmy’s moving ode to the boys who died for a truly useless war.
  35. “All of My Love” Led Zeppelin.  “Stairway” wasn’t the only great Zep ballad. This one gets few spins on classic rock radio but deserves more attention as it is rumored to be written by Plant for his late son.
  36. “Diary of a Madman” Ozzy Osbourne.  The title track to Ozzy’s brilliant follow-up to the triumphant Blizzard of Ozz.  It is a favorite of Dream Theater and A Perfect Circle who both covered the song.
  37. “This Love” Pantera.  The kind of ballad you would expect from Pantera–a “it’s over, so get out” song!
  38. “Broken” Seether with Amy Lee.  I’m not a huge Seether fan or Evanescence fan but I love everything about this song.
  39. “Estranged” Guns N’ Roses.  I don’t know what the song of video is about but I loved both.
  40. “Sister Christian” Night Ranger.  I don’t know what “motorin'” is but I couldn’t stop singing it in ’84 and there are days when I still can’t stop singing it.
  41. “Cryin'” Aerosmith.  Better known for the music video that introduced Alicia Silverstone.  Still, a good song.
  42. “Hollow” Pantera. A ballad about a friend in coma but Phil swears it wasn’t written about a real person…who sits around just thinking about that?
  43. “Don’t Cry (alt. lyrics)” Guns N’ Roses.  A ballad they decided to withhold from Appetite.  Personally, I think they would’ve been better off chucking “Think About You” and including this one.  The version with alternative lyrics from Illusion 2 is better.
  44. “Don’t Close Your Eyes” Kix.  A haunting ballad from an underrated straight ahead rock & roll band. Well worth checking out.
  45. “To Be With You” Mr. Big.  I never understood why a band with one of the best guitarists and bass players in the world played so many simple acoustic songs but it worked.
  46. “Wasted Love” Iron Maiden.  The lone power ballad from Maiden and it is fair stab.
  47. “A Return to Serenity” Testament.  Another woefully underrated thrash ballad.
  48. “Just Between You and Me” April Wine.  Who knew Canadians have feelings? Good for them!
  49. “Love Walks In” Van Halen.  Eddie and the boys long refused to record a ballad but got a new lease on life with Hagar in ’86 who is an underrated ballad writer.
  50. “For the Movies” Buckcherry.  The tattooed boys from Buckcherry tried to bring back the power ballad in ’99.  A noble effort.
  51. “Wasted Time” Skid Row.  Another gem from “Slave to the Grind” that didn’t receive nearly enough attention.
  52. “In The End” Linkin Park.  I will admit that I love Linkin Park and they openly love the music of the ’80’s as well and it clearly shows on this hit from the beginning of the century as audiences transitioned from raising Bic lighters to cell phones.
  53. “No One Like You” Scorpions.  Just barely a ballad but definitely killer.
  54. “In This River” Black Label Society.  A tribute to the late Dimebag Darrell.
  55. “Sorry” Buckcherry. The band didn’t even plan to release this song as a single but, in a rare act of modern courage by Deejays, the tune hit the radio and the rest is history.
  56. “Something to Believe In” Poison.  An attempt by Bret Michaels at some depth…he didn’t quite make it but it was a valiant effort, dude!
  57. “Two Sides of Love” Sammy Hagar.  An ear worm that sticks with me all day.  Great song.
  58. “Wild World” Mr. Big.  I guess it was only a matter of time before a rock band covered a Cat Stevens song–it worked.
  59. “Never Say Goodbye” Bon Jovi.  Never released a single but played on Top 40 radio anyway.  Bon Jovi at their cheesy best.
  60. “Nothing Else Matters” Metallica.  Yet another Metallica ballad.  You have to wonder how many Journey and REO Speedwagon songs Lars and James have hidden on their iPods.
  61. “Take It On The Run” REO Speedwagon.  1981 saw REO release back-to-back classic power ballads.  Love the songs but hate to have seen what personal junk they went through to produce them!
  62. “Love Song” Tesla.  The record company tried to talk the boys from Sacramento out of releasing the song but it turned out to be one of their biggest hits.
  63. “Everytime I Look at You” KISS.  The unplugged version of this one is the best.  Forget the poorly produced stinker from Revenge, which sounds out of place on the album.
  64. “Two Steps Behind” Def Leppard. This was Lepp’s last hurrah before being relegated to the “where are they now” category.
  65. “Love Kills” Vinnie Vincent Invasion.  What isn’t to love about the theme song of Nightmare on Elm Street 4?
  66. “Alone” Heart.  I had a huge crush on Nancy Wilson of Heart in the ’80’s…oh, Nancy, you missed your chance, babe!
  67. “Alone Again” Dokken.  The song that possibly saved Dokken from being dropped from their record company after their first two singles bombed.
  68. “The Price” Twisted Sister.  Most know Twisted Sister for the twin hit music videos “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock” but the third single was a better song.
  69. “Screaming in the Night” Krokus.  The Swiss band who gave up prog rock for spandex rock and nearly hit it big with this ballad that helped propel the album Headhunter to gold.  Unfortunately, they failed to score a follow-up hit and headed back across the pond.  Maybe their name, which is German for a certain type of flower doomed them.
  70. “Forever” KISS.  Yes, this was a song co-written by that “no talent ass clown” Michael Bolton but I will risk my man card here and admit that I love it.
  71. “What Does It Take” Honeymoon Suite.  I always suspected Honeymoon Suite would make it big but at least they gave us a great song to make the “oh face” to.
  72. “The Show Must Go On” Queen.  Freddy Mercury was dying of AIDS at the time and could barely stand when he recorded it.
  73. “Angel” Aerosmith.  I thought it was a song for wussies until I was dumped by a girl about the time it hit the charts then I spent more than one night listening to it in the dark with headphones.  Darn you high school vixens!
  74. “Still in Love with You” Thin Lizzy.  Check out the version on “Live and Dangerous” and you too will mourn the loss of Phil Lynott.
  75. “Changes” Black Sabbath.  Not my favorite Sabbath song but a decent attempt.
  76. “Tears of the Dragon” Bruce Dickinson.  One of the greatest metal vocalists singing a ballad about a dragon? How could that not be awesome.
  77. “Ride On” AC/DC.  One of the few AC/DC songs that can even be considered a ballad about the life of a “ramblin’ man.”
  78. “Watch the Children Pray” Metal Church.  I don’t know what it is about but it’s depressing as a thrash ballad should be!
  79. “Close My Eyes Forever” Lita Ford and Ozzy Osbourne. One of the few duets to make the list.  I always thought Ozzy was an odd choice to be singing a love song to a hottie like Lita.
  80. “Reason to Live” KISS. It hasn’t aged well but, at the time, it hit me hard.
  81. “Still Loving You” Scorpions.  The bad boys from Germany with a song nearly begging a former lover for another shot…no wonder they lost two wars.
  82. “The Ballad of Jayne” L.A. Guns.  A song co-written by the co-founder of Guns N’ Roses.  You have to wonder what Axl would have done with this tune about the suicide of a former lover.
  83. “Fly to the Angels” Slaughter. Speaking of dead lovers…man, I never realized how many ballads about death were written by party bands!
  84. “Believe” Savatage.  A sermon from the band’s street opera.
  85. “Cat’s in the Cradle” Ugly Kid Joe.  Another ballad for those with daddy issues…do you notice that parental issues and suicides really played a large part in rock ballads?
  86. “I Won’t Forget You” Poison.  Not quite as wimpy as “Every Rose” but not as substantive as “Something to Believe In.”  Not bad.
  87. “Dreaming Neon Black” Nevermore.  One of the newer ballads from one of the few good metal albums to come out of the late ’90’s.
  88. “Love Bites” Def Leppard.  This one was always waaaay too wimpy for me but it was a huge hit, so I reluctantly grant it a slot.
  89. “More Than Words” Extreme.  A weak stab at a “Patience” style hit but still good it if it hits you in the right mood.
  90. “Can’t Find My Way Home” House of Lords. A good cover of the Blind Faith hit.
  91. “I’ll Be There For You” Bon Jovi.  I thought New Jersey was a major step down from Slippery When Wet but this cut was decent.
  92. “Heaven” Warrant.  Another song that I hated in the ’80’s UNLESS my girlfriend and I had just made up after a fight then it was poetry…bad poetry but poetry!
  93. “High Enough” Damn Yankees. I wasn’t a big fan of this big hit if for no other reason than Ted Nugent dressing like a model for Chess King but it’s cool if it strikes you in the right mood.
  94. “Winds of Change” Scorpions.  It captured a time but sounds a little pedestrian 20 years after the fall of the communism…except among the hippies of Occupy Wall Street.
  95. “Mama I’m Coming Home” Ozzy Osbourne.  A good song but I think it is creepy to refer to your lover as “mama.”
  96. “I Want to Know What Love Is” Foreigner.  I thought this was way too girly but it was a huge hit, so here it is.
  97. “The Ballad” Testament. A lesson in song title simplicity.
  98. “Don’t Know What You’ve Got (Till It’s Gone)” Cinderella. I was never a huge fan of this song but I recognize how big it was.
  99. “Silent Lucidity” Queensryche.  See comments directly above.
  100. “Come Sail Away” Styx.  Like most Styx songs, the lyrics are bizarre–a sailboat is actually a spaceship driven by angels????  Anyway, as lame as it is, like Cartman, I can’t stop singing it once I hear it.

Well, there you have it.  I’m sure I missed a few good ones and you can berate me for intentionally omitting others (like anything by Winger and White Lion).  So, feel free to leave a comment (even a nasty one) and the rest of you be sure to look these songs up on Youtube, crank them up, dim the lights and break out the old Bic lighter.

If you like this list be sure to check out the Top 500 Hair Metal Songs of All-Time.

Until next week, grace and peace.

102 thoughts on “Metal Monday–The 100 Best Power Ballads of All-Time

    • Well just had to comment on your post regarding the top 100 power ballads .. and i got to say there all awesome ballads but just notice a few, well not few but alot of ballads i can’t find on your top 100 but check out Black Label Society you know Zakk Wylde’s band … he’s was with Ozzy Osbourne but had released a few album’s during his tenure with Ozzy .. before he got let go off Ozzy Osbourne band just two years ago (I Think) .. anyways here’s a few of Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society and two ballads from Zakk Wylde’s Book Of Shadows (before he formed Black Label Society)

      Black Label Society

      Darkest Days
      The Last Goodbye
      Nothing’s The Same
      Sick of It All
      Damage Is Done
      In This River
      Once More
      Just Killing Time
      Spoke In The Wheel

      Zakk Wylde’s Book Of Shadows

      Throwin’ It All Away
      Evil Ways

    • Great list man, but I feel you made one snub, and it happens to be my favorite power ballad. Where is “I Don’t Believe In Love” by Queensryche?

      • Bob, great song but I’m not sure I consider it a power ballad–borderline to be sure but just didn’t quite cross the line for me. There is certainly an argument to be made for it though. Thanks for stopping by, bro!

  1. Karra Otworth was too wimpy to post a comment but, instead, sent a Facbook message asking me why I didn’t include Meatloaf or Cheap Trick’s “The Flame.” Valid points but I’m calling her out for her cowardice in not posting the comment her self.

  2. Takes me back. Nice touch adding “In the End”. I used to introduce nihilism in my Philosophy class with that song:D

  3. Nice list Matt. your tastes of 80’s is a lot different from my tastes of 70’s and 90’s, but I enjoyed reading your list nonetheless.
    my top 10 Honorable mentions:
    over the hills and far away- led zeppelin
    comfortably numb – pink floyd
    on the turning away – pink floyd
    simple man – lynard skynard
    big empty – stone temple pilots
    lithium – nirvana
    porcelina of the vast oceans- smashing pumpkins
    black – pearl jam

  4. Great list but some songs I don’t like (e.g. Poison)

    It worths mentioning Kansas – Play the Game Tonight (1982),
    Deep Purple – Wasted Sunsets (1984), Kingdom Come – What Love Can Be (1988 – Germany),
    Steelheart – She’s Gone (1990), Saigon Kick – Love Is On The Way (1992), Annihilator – Phoenix Rising (1993 – Sweden).

    More recent great power ballad songs:
    Goo Goo Dolls – Iris (1998), Hammerfall – Remember Yesterday (1998 – Sweden),
    Staind – It’s Been Awhile (2001), Three Doors Down – Here Without You (2002), Audioslave – Like a Stone (2002), Fuel – Falls on Me (2003).

    Still new and fresh:
    Anberlin – Breaking (2008), Avenged Sevenfold – So Far Away (2010)

    • Thanks for the suggestions. I hadn’t thought about “Iris” and “Like A Stone” is great; definitely should’ve included.

  5. Wait… so because you wanted “beth” on the list, you decided to make your own definition of “power ballad”. I don’t think so. Just like “more than words” isn’t a power ballad, neither is “beth”. I’m thinking “Don’t you ever leave me” Hanoi Rocks, and “I remember you” Skid Row. This list should be called top 100 ballads by hard rock bands.

    • Of course he thinks Beth deserves to make the list. He’s certainly not the first- that’d have been me. Your suggestion, however, has a title only a comatose woman would hang around to hear the first stanza. It’s…interesting. Seriously, do you think “Don’t you ever leave me” is a verbal expression of love that a sane or non-sociopathic woman really wants to hear? If so, it may explain why you come across as an angry, uptight weenie. Sorry, Charlie 😉

  6. Also… ballads are normally songs about love or heartbreak, and usually narrative, as in a story. I wouldn’t say “wanted dead or alive” is a power ballad. “One” Metallica, not a power ballad… that’s just Metallica being Metallica. Again think: Hanoi Rocks “Don’t You Ever Leave Me”, “Don’t Know What You Got Til It’s Gone” Cinderella, “High Enough” Damn Yankees, “Angel” Aerosmith. It’s basically a mid to late 80’s phenomenon, but there’s a slim few 70’s and early 80’s exceptions.

    • Calm yourself, Charlie. I don’t think there is a federal law re: the form and subject matter of a power ballad but thanks for stopping by.

      • Hey im with charlie, you dont know the definition of a ballad. Dead or alive? Whats the matter with you?? Lol!

  7. I think you have a great list that includes a few tracks i am not personally familiar with but will check out. As an online dj i tend to like a variety of music and have come to realize any given list unless based solely on top chart info is biased as to ones opinions and likes or dislikes of music and bands. I give you credit for including those that were not ones you particularly cared for but recognized their importance based on general popularity.

  8. Liked the list however I think it should have included Snuff by Slipknot and Fell On Black Days by Soundgarden. However, everyone is entitaled to their own opinion.

  9. great list…
    thank you..
    my personal suggestions are
    journey – of a lifetime
    angra – bleeding heart
    allen lande – reach a little longer
    black sabbath – solitude
    within temptation – lost
    quiet riot – don’t wanna be your fool
    accept – no time to lose
    firehouse – all she wrote
    ffdp – far from home
    gary moore – empty rooms
    iced earth – i died for you
    lynyrd skynyrd – i never dreamed
    sonata arctica – last drop falls
    opeth – to bid you farewell

    • Thanks Kat. You are welcome to do your own, so I can stop by and drop rude, insubstantial comments!

  10. A couple great ones that are way too unknown by a great band that shoulda been huge ( I agree with you about years of decay and overkill too) are painted skies and lonely by crimson glory actually half their songs are basically great power ballads an amazing forgotten band that I’d say areat the top of my list of underrated bands metal church overkill savatage and iced earth would be my top 5

  11. Hi Matt!
    Thank you for this great list!
    I am a huge power ballad fan from Germany – and some of these songs I have heard for the first time.
    Especially I was delighted, that you have a few Swiss songs in your repertoire – and i think you should listen the ballads from GOTTHARD. I believe you would enjoy these songs.
    Here is my favorite: (Father, is that enough)
    Sunny regards from Munich, Bavaria, Germany
    PS: So sorry for my terrible English!

  12. Um… I’m looking and looking… No Deep Purple??? If “When a blind man cries” or “Sometimes I feel like screaming” are not power ballads, then “Child in time” sure is.

    And… does ballad need to be about love? Where are Anabantha (Tu me matas), X Japan (Forever love), Yngwie (Prisoner of your love), Gary Moore (Still in love with you), Grave Digger (Ballad of Mary, Queen of Scots), Opeth (Benighted or Face of Melinda), Uriah Heep (July Morning), Agathodaimon (Sacred divinity), Accept (Mistreated or Seawinds), …

    And…. too much ‘tallica… I’d rather put in “One more f*cking time” by Motorhead…

    And… song which has nothing to do with love, but definitively is power ballad… “Then came the last days of may” by Blue Oyster Cult…

    BTW, thank you for the list. Great work.

    Next time try the same topic, but only ONE song by artist… That would be interesting, right? 😉

  13. Good list, I won’t quibble with the ordering, as that’s just nitpicky. But what do you mean “Winds of Change” is now pedestrian? You’re shortchanging it. It’s not just about the fall of communism, it’s about the collective exhale we all took when the Cold War ended, and the level of hope we all had for Eurasia to finally put the long line of post-WWII events behind them. That song, and
    Jesus Jones’ “Right Here Right Now” (although not a power ballad, of course), capture an incredible moment of triumph in history.

    Plus, it’s got whistling too.

  14. I’m not a huge fan of them, but HINDER brought the power ballad back AGAIN with that Lips of an Angel song awhile back. In this day and time, any power ballad with a guitar in it that becomes a hit is quite an achievement.

  15. Excellent list but miss WASP with several songs…. (The Idol, Heavens hung in black, Hold on to my heart, Forever free)

    • Marius, thanks! I’m a huge WASP fan but never thought their ballads were up to snuff but you may be right that Forever Free should be on the list. Thanks again!

      • how come there’s not a single W.A.S.P. ballad? must be in this list, those songs are better than any of bon jovi’s or even metallica’s!: “keep holding on”, “Sleeping in the fire”, “Heavens hung in black”, “Hold on to my heart”: the best of the power ballads, not just a bunch of girlie love songs.
        Def Leppard’s “foolin'”, “bringgin’ on the heartbreak”
        skid row’s “breakin’ down”, “In a darkened room”
        Helloween’s “A tale that wasn’t right”, “Your turn”;
        Mötley Crëw’s You’re all I need;
        and the eerie Black Sabbath’s “She’s gone” must be on the top and it’s not even mentioned! =(

  16. Great list, Matt. I’m glad you put Forever and Reason to Live by KISS. A lot of people will disagree with me on this, but I think their best and most diverse stuff came from their 80’s glam metal days. And I love those two songs.

  17. Hi,
    these are some great ballads too.check it out

    Hinder – Lips Of An Angel
    Judas Priest-Before the dawn
    Led Zeppelin – Since I’ve Been Loving You
    meatloaf-objects in the rear view mirror
    nickelback – Lullaby
    Nickelback – I’d Come For You
    Oasis – Don’t Look Back In Anger
    Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun
    U2 – White As Snow
    u.f.o- HIGH FLYER

  18. I was so glad to hear you define what a power ballad REALLY is — “soft song that builds toward a rockin’ climax” — totally defined by Stairway to Heaven. What I’d like to see, Matt, is a list based solely on THAT definition.

  19. Not too sure if its your idea of a ballad, but I’ve always loved Lynyrd Skynyrd- Free Bird. Gets me singing every time on my hairbrush mic! :)

  20. This is a great list and brings back a lot of memories most of these my parents used to listen to before they started complaining they were “too old” for heavy music so i took there collection. The songs i would like to add too the list are

    Parisiane Walkways – Gary Moore + Phil Lynott
    She Talks To Angels – The Black Crowes
    Threadbare – Stone Sour
    Only Human – Saving Abel
    Pieces – Sum 41 (I noticed Punk Pop was completely ignored but this is a great song considering)
    I Miss You – Blink 182
    I Could Have Lied – Red Hot Chili Peppers
    For The Love Of God – Steve Vai (Instrumental Track from Passion and Warfare album but still a great bit of music)

  21. Great list some of the songs I don’t know will research them. Thanks for taking the time to put this list together.


    The Erica

  22. Great list! Too many over two decades to narrow down.
    I am thinking Tesla might fit with “We’re no good together”.
    Steelheart with “I’ll never let you go (angel eyes)”
    Something from Sammy Hagars “Standing Hampton”…

    Bro, just grateful that you took the time to post this!

    Like reliving monsters of Rock all over! (Banging air guitar)

    Better get to bed, have to take the kids to school 😉


  23. Probably the best list I have seen so far, but how is it Alice Cooper ” I’ll never cry ”
    does not make any list that I have seen so far. thanks tho for bringing back some great memories

  24. You might want to look at these songs:
    Who I am Hates Who I’ve Been – Relient K
    Dark Road Out of Hell – Sum 41(3 different songs that make one so I would recommend finding it on youtube).
    Tonight the World Dies – Avenged Sevenfold
    Name – Goo Goo Dolls

  25. What about No Stranger to Love from Tonny Iommi’s Seventh Star?? – Glenn Hughes has to be in your list.

  26. Matt,

    Came by way of Melanie’s site and saw this one. Since I really liked the 80s and hair bands I thought i would check it out. You forgot Stryper. :) OKay, so I am a Stryper fan.

  27. Hi, Sorry to interlope on your thread, I’ve been going ballad crackers for several weeks now. All the lists have spurned music that I hadn’t heard before, some of yours will strike virgin territory for me, despite being 65 I still like to Wrock. I went to see Rammstein last year so that shows my heart is in the right place. I notice nobody has ever included Mutter in their lists lol. Here are a few tracks that some of you, either haven’t considered or are unaware of.

    Dare – just about any of their tracks could be classed as ballads
    Thunder – castles in the sand
    Kooga – Gabrielle (Nev McDonald of Skin before he found fame)
    Magnum – les morts dansant. I always consider a storytellers night to be a ballad, and how far Jerusalem, others may disagree, Swan was also a superb ballad and quite a few Magnum tracks should be recycled.
    Doro/Udo -dancing with an angel is a superb track that I have only recently unearthed
    Scorpions, dokken, accept have all made several worthy ballads.
    Helloween – does keeper of the seven keys count, gives me an orgasm every time.
    Some people have mentioned Blink and Sum which surprises e on a metal thread, but both have made some superb ballads, if you like that surely a mention must be made for Simple Plan’s perfect, and untitled are worth a listen, as is Something corporate’s Konstantine.
    System of a down – question, Green Day – wake me up when September ends, even AC/DC had a crack ata ballad back in the Bon Scott days

  28. Nice list. I found out that I enjoy these types of music but I’m too young to know most of the songs so thank you for your efforts in compiling and posting this.

  29. Wow!

    Matt, thanks for the hard work! As someone who wishes to explore rock and metal music more, this list is a great start!

    Also, thanks for including “Wasted Time” by Skid Row. When Skid Row is mentioned, everybody goes “18 And Life” which is a fine song, but not the only song Skid Row has to offer. “Wasted Time” could actually be their best song, and seeing someone else acknowledging it is great!

    I would also ask you, if I may, to consider the following:
    “Lady of the Valley” from White Lion (Pride),
    “Promises” from Megadeth (The World Needs a Hero),
    “The Evil that Men Do” from Iron Maiden (Seventh Son of a Seventh Son),
    and at least one song from Dream Theatre: “The Answer Lies Within” (Octavarium), “Disappear” (Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence), “Hollow Years” (Falling into Infinity), “Space-Dye Vest” (Falling Into Infinity), Octavarium, “Trial of Tears” (Falling into Infinity), “Vacant” (Train of Thought)… (I could go on and on, I’m a huge fan of DT :-) )

    Nevertheless, a great list. Keep up the good work!

  30. STRYPER “Honestly”…because it was the cheesiest song by one of the cheesiest bands of a cheesy era. And let’s face it, who doesn’t like cheese?

  31. I can not help but think of Queensryche’s “Is Anybody Listening” and of course< some new stuff from my Gothic days LaCuna Coils "Heaven's a Lie" and "Swamped". Just kidding with the last two but they are within the power Ballad defintion.

  32. So “pastor” matt, I don,t know if you listen to Christian metal, but there are some bands with ballads that definitely could be on this list, if not for popularity, awesomeness would for sure work. If your not familiar with any, I can give you a list or resources of stuff from 80s Glam and punk to current thrash, power, and (un)death metal.

  33. Hey Matt, thanks for posting this list…it’s awesome. I grew up in a country in Central America in the 80’s where the predominant music was split between reggea, calyso, disco, and a local blend called “bruk-down”. So my love for Heavy Metal was something of a difficult cross to bear, and my ethnicity didn’t make it any easier. Metal was considered “that crazy white man’s music” and I was considered really weird for being into metal the way I have. But going over your list takes me back to the best years any of this world’s generations will ever know. My heart breaks for all these poor saps who think that what’s big now is what great music is.
    Anyhoo…going back to the power ballad issue: Have you ever checked out Nightwish? They have a bunch of good stuff. I particularly like “Phantom of The Opera” as a power ballad being that it starts slow and builds up as per your definition.
    Also, I know RATT isn’t known for ballads and Stephen Pearcy doesn’t have the best of voices suited for ballads, but “Closer To My Heart” from their “Invasion of Your Privacy” album” would be their only attempt at a ballad. Tell me if that would qualify for your ballad list.

  34. This is a great list, just what I was looking for to find “new” music. Growing up in the 2000’s (and no I’m not gonna be a youtube comments 12 year old who begs for attention because “my muzic sux and dis stuff the shit justin beeber is girl”) i don’t have the luxury of these songs being played on the radio like they once were, so naturally i need to go out and search on my own. I look forward to reading your top 500 glam/hair/pop songs list. On a closing note, and I admit i didn’t read every comment so my apologies if this has been suggested, but I’ll Never Let You Go (Angel Eyes) by Steelheart is in my opinion an amazing ballad that I feel would be a good addition to this list.

  35. Thank you so much for bringing back happy memories – here are some of those you might take into consideration for your next list:
    Foghat – I’ll Be Standing By (yes, yes,Foghat’s no hair metal band – but still the one of the best anthems I’ve ever heard)
    Lee Aaron – Barely holdin’ on
    Vixen – Love is a killer
    Andy Taylor – Night Train
    House of Lords – Love Don’t Lie
    Witness – Desperate Lover
    Ricchie Samborra – Stranger in this Town
    Last Autumn’s Dream – My Alibi
    Keep up the good work, a fellow metalhead

  36. Here’s one that has grown on me lately.

    Remember Everything – Five Finger Death Punch

  37. Great list Matt! Lots of music I haven’t thought of for years and a so much I had never even heard of.

  38. a few you left off that are think are great.
    1. Hinder- Lips Of An Angel
    very underrated band. Austin has the vocal styings of Steven Tyler and the writing skills to match. Thier manager: however sucks.
    2. Deff Leppard- Too Late For Love
    Rock Classic off Pyromania with a one of a kind haunting melody.
    3. Motley Crue- Without You
    Also was absent on your top 500 Hair Metal. Great song it showed the Crue could ham it up with the rest of em and in style.
    4. Giuffria- Call To The Heart
    Greg Giuffria put together a great AOR band with the glam look. If you listen to thios song: you will notice how many glam rockers got thier inspiration for thier power ballads from.
    5 Loverboy- This Could Be The Night
    Much better than Honeymoon Suite and slightly edgeier than Bryan Adams.
    6. KISS- Beth
    To me the best Rock Ballad ever. It’s perfectly fitting for a rock band whos on the road most of the time and shows that Rock n Roll is the best genre suited to make ballads. The fact that it features classical instruments like violins,further shows the hidden stregnth that Rock musicians have.

    In retrospect you only had room for 100, so maybe you should legnthen the list a bit.

  39. Great list. Listen to damn near all of them already but I would put “Love can make you blind” by Every Mother’s Nightmare.

  40. Nice list. I won’t argue about what is and what isn’t power ballad because I’m not an expert. Based on the songs included here I’d also add “Stay Don’t Leave Me” by Axxis

  41. Great list pastor Matt! Just recently started getting into some Christian metal (Skillet, Flyleaf, Red, Fireflight, We As Human, Saving Abel) so will check out your list.

    Just wanted to throw out a couple more ballads:

    Dio – Sacred Heart
    Pantera – Planet Caravan
    Cinderella – Coming Home (IMO – better than Nobody’s Fool and Don’t Know What…)
    Motley Crue – Danger
    Scorpions – Holiday (from World Wide Live. Probably not better than the three you already have on the list but it is an amazing song.)

    Keep Rockin!

  42. Great job Matt! My own top 16 of the genre, in no particular order:

    Zed Yago – The Pale Man
    White Lion – You’re All I Need
    Kingdom Come – What Love Can Be
    Quiet Riot – Don’t Wanna Be Your Fool
    Cinderella – Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)
    Blind Guardian – Nightfall
    Dream Theater – Lifting Shadows Off A Dream
    Accept – Winter Dreams
    Queensrÿche – Someone else?
    Alice Cooper – Stolen Prayer
    Nazareth – Love Hurts
    Judas Priest – Before The Dawn
    Kiss – Beth
    Motörhead – 1916
    Mötley Crüe – Without You
    Cinderella – Through The Rain

  43. Nice list! I think White Lion’s ‘When the Children Cry’ deserves to be mentioned as well.


  44. I think an argument can be made that “See Me, Feel Me” from “Tommy” is a power ballad. It starts out slowly as a plea for healing, builds in both speed and volume and ends on a triumphant note complete with an electric guitar solo. It also predates “Stairway to Heaven” by two years. I can think of at least two other songs by the The Who that qualify as power ballads: “Behind Blue Eyes” and “Love Reign O’er Me”.

    Other great power ballads from the classic rock era that didn’t make your list:

    Lola by The Kinks
    Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
    Somebody To Love by Queen
    Purple Rain by Prince

  45. I must say I definitely disagree with much of this list (many of the songs I would not consider power ballads, and I think many of the songs you don’t like have actually withstood the test of time).

    Much kudos, though, for having the patience to come up with a top-100 list of power ballads. lol Mine probably would have been a top-20.

  46. Good list. I agree with nearly all the song selections. But I feel that Black Sabbath’s “She’s Gone” and Def Leppard’s “Too Late For Love”should have made the list.

  47. I think you should have included at least one of steel panthers ballads, like community property, weenie ride, stripper girl, girl from Oklahoma, or if you really really love me.

  48. Hi Matt. Great List and some awesome suggestions from the posters. I’ve got two that weren’t mentioned~~~

    Ozzy – So Tired – from bark at the Moon
    Great White – The Angel Song – from Once Bitten, Twice Shy.

    Thanks for the list!!!

  49. I thought your list was awesome and it took me back! So many songs I was going “oh yeah, I remember that!!” Loved the comment “don’t know what motorin’ is” on Sister Christian. I cannot believe how SNARKY some of the comments are on here! Relax, people – this doesn’t cost you a dime and you don’t have to agree – your “rights” have not been violated because Matt’s opinions differ from your own. GLAAD and the NAACP and the ACLU will be slapping you with lawsuits soon – watch out!

  50. thanks for the list
    i’m not sure if it can be considered a power ballad but i think The Beatles “Hay Jude” is another excellent ballad

  51. One of the most underrated power ballads that NOBODY has heard was “There Stood the Fence” by Toxik. Toxik was a super underground technical speed/thrash band, but this was one hell of a track. Look it up!

  52. Another great ballad by an underground thrash band was “Escape From Within” by Flotsam and Jetsam. Thrash bands wrote some great ballads too! Toxik had “There Stood the Fence”, and Laaz Rockit had “The Omen”. Great stuff!

  53. i know these are a little newer but would “runaway train” or “misery” by soul asylum be acceptable or maybe “the freshmen” by the verve pipe. “found out about you” gin blossoms? i may be totally off from your description idk.

  54. Dude it surprises me that you had “Alone” by Heart in number 66. The song is the epitome of the power ballad genre. U could at least put it in the top10.

  55. Pearl Jam-Black
    Not only one of the best power ballads but one of the most beautifully written songs ever.

  56. Voice of the Soul by Death…not sure if it qualifies as a power Ballad…but if no one else has mentioned it…there is one of my favourite ballads…minus any vocals mind you. “If 6 was 9”

  57. Many of these songs are not power ballads, many are not even ballads and some are too terrible to be in a “best ballad” list.

    Here I Go Again, really??? Mr Crowley???

    Maybe there’s a Cannibal Corpse song you think would fit this list too???

    Sorry if I’m being rude, I LOVE metal ballads as a rule (slow or fast ballads), but I came to this page looking for some new good songs I may like and I couldn’t help to see how bizarre this list is.

  58. How about Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, Children of the Damned and Is this Love

  59. Hi

    Great list thanks for this made my own playlist much better all round

    just found this link very cool

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