The Five Best Bad Eighties Rock Ballads
Ah, the eighties, those heady days of mall bangs, Forenza sweaters, and rock ballads so bad they were good. These hit love songs by your favorite eighties rock bands are sure to bring back memories of those days of cassette tapes and shoulder pads. Of slow dances, of MTV, of singing into a hairbrush behind closed doors. Through an unscientific survey of Gen-Xers (okay, just my husband and me), I've compiled a list of the best of the worst of the bad eighties rock ballads. Raise your lighter (the real thing, no apps please) and take a trip down the only road you've ever known as we count them down.
5. "Heaven in Your Eyes" by Loverboy
This power ballad by Canadian rock band Loverboy was featured on the soundtrack for Top Gun, that Cold War-reffic fighter pilot movie that first introduced us to eighties stars Meg Ryan and Val Kilmer. The song reached number 12 on the Billboard charts in 1986. Loverboy keyboardist Doug Johnson refused to appear in the music video because he felt the movie over-glamorized war. Big-haired girls everywhere swooned over hottie lead singer Mike Reno and shots of Tom Cruise from the movie and did not notice Johnson's absence.
4. "Amanda" by Boston
Boston released Amanda in 1986 as the first single from the Third Stage album and the band's first single since 1978. It became one of the last songs of the century to hit number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart without a music video. Without the benefit of video footage, we are forced merely to imagine the creeper in the song who wants to declare his love for Amanda without scaring her away.
3. "I Want to Know What Love Is" by Foreigner
Despite such enduring rock hits as Cold as Ice and Juke Box Hero, British-American rock band Foreigner never topped the charts in either the U.S. or the U.K. until this gospel-inspired ballad hit number 1 in 1985. Fortunately, the whiny lyrics were upstaged by the New Jersey Mass Choir's backing chorus, giving Foreigner its only number 1 hit. The choir is featured in the video.
2. "The Flame" by Cheap Trick
The Flame paved Cheap Trick's comeback after a years-long slump. Known as the American Beatles in Japan, this band from Rockford, Illinois, peaked in the early eighties but saw their commercial fortunes decline after guitarist Tom Petersson left the band in 1980. He rejoined in 1987 and the group churned out this factory ballad in 1988, which became the band's first and only number 1 single in America.
1. "Can't Fight This Feeling" by REO Speedwagon
This soft-rock offering from REO Speedwagon's Wheels are Turnin' album topped the charts in 1984. It's a song about a man who's fallen in love with his friend but is afraid to let her know. Sound familiar? The video is the standard MTV fare of the day, featuring the floating heads of the clean-shaven, big-haired band members along with various other floating objects like teddy bears, candles, and ships. Watch for the scene where the boy finally stops fightin' that feeling and proposes to the girl; the girl's red taffeta dress with poufy shoulders and perfectly permed hair are pure eighties.
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