The Five Best Bad Eighties Rock Ballads

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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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thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden

This was a great list of Best Bad eighties Rock Ballads:) I love ballads and the ballad " I want to know what love is" is my favorite. I wonder why some bands just managed to get one hit! Great topic, I loved the music and it brings back many good memories! Thanks,

Tina


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks for stopping by, Tina. There are so many good bad ballads from that era, it was hard to narrow down the list to just 5. But I assure you we applied a detailed scoring process to get to the finalists.


Nicole 4 years ago

I'm a fan of the group in the picture at the beginning of your article!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Nicole. That band needs to reunite and go on tour again.


lucybell21 profile image

lucybell21 4 years ago from Troy, N.Y.

Wow this hub is bringing back some memories. Love it. Nice trip down memory lane!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks for checking out my hub, LucyBell. Glad I could help bring back some memories!


jenubouka 4 years ago

Oh how the eighties were a time of innocence in some weird way. These songs do recall those times of air instruments and karaoke tributes. I love all of the songs.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks for reading and commenting, jenubouka. It's fun to crank up a good eighties power ballad and recall those days.


ChaplinSpeaks profile image

ChaplinSpeaks 4 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina

All of my informative teen years were in the 80s. Maybe that is what is wrong with me! I voted with the majority for Foreigner's song, and must admit I sing along on XM radio - as recently as last week. Thanks for sharing an awesome hub!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Chaplin. I was a teen in the 80s also, not that there's anything wrong with it. : )


FalconSays profile image

FalconSays 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

I voted 'I wanna know what love is' ha ha, since I've yet to be married :-) I'm a sucker for 80's music. Great Hub


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Falcon. I'm a sucker for it, too. Last year at New Orleans Jazz Fest I drug my traveling companions over to the stage where Bon Jovi was playing, much to their dismay. But to see Jon Bon Jovi singing Livin' on a Prayer made my whole festival!


ThoughtSandwiches profile image

ThoughtSandwiches 4 years ago from Reno, Nevada

Deborah...

Ahhh...the 80s.

So many bad ballads to pick from and you have a wonderful selection. If I had my druthers? I would endorse your Foreigner..."I Want to Know What Love Is..."

Thanks for bringing me back!

Thomas


WANDA 4 years ago

"I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LOVE IS" IS ONE OF MY FAVORITES ALSO, BUT FOR PERSONAL REASONS, "WHEN I'M WITH YOU", BY SHERIFF IS THE BEST! BEST MUSIC ERA EVER!! (THE 80'S)


pftsusan profile image

pftsusan 4 years ago from Eatontown

That was some list. I voted it up. I very much was for Foreigner. Even more so for Van Halen (who just released Tattoo with David Lee Roth), Bonjovi, Simple Minds and The Cure.

Then don't forget Annie Lennox and The Human League. And before I hit the send button, Journey.


Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

I would add some Journey to this list but overall it's fun. I really enjoy REO Speedwagon and Foreigner especially. But overall my top 80s ballad would definitely be "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," it's 80s and timeless all at once. Cool list!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks for all the great comments. You guys are killing me with all these songs you're bringing up! I will say "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" was a finalist, as was "Open Arms" by Journey and "When It's Love" by Van Halen, but after applying a sophisticated (yeah, right) scoring method, this is what I ended up with. And I limited this to the rock love ballad genre, but I agree that there was a lot of great music in the 80s. The Cure also was a favorite of mine back in the day.


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

I was a big Heart fan and they churned out a few ballads in the eighties, the best of which was probably 'Alone' but when I watch the video now on You Tube I am only reminded of my mullet haircut and wearing too much eyeliner during those years..but I was much thinner then so not all bad! Great hub, interesting and fun.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Haha! I think we all had some unfortunate hairstyles back in the day. And putting on eye makeup was kind of like painting a mural. Yikes!


sam209 profile image

sam209 4 years ago

Wow! With so many bad rock ballads coming out in the 80's, it's hard for me to name just one. When I seen Foreigner, I couldn't help but think of "Waiting For A Girl Like You."

This is a very cool hub Deborah! When I seen the title I knew I had to click on it.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Sam. And that's another good one for the list! Glad you stopped by.


prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 4 years ago from Canada

You know, I still love those oh-so-cheesy songs, although I would never admit it! Oh wait, I just did. :)


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

They're so cheesy you just gotta love 'em! Thanks for stopping by, PP.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

Deb,

What a fun Hub! Thanks for publishing it.

My favorite of the five is Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is."


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

I chose REO...that's a great song! 80's music brings back some fun memories! Rockin' Hub!


brittanytodd profile image

brittanytodd 4 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

This is a fabulous hub idea! I love the songs you chose. My parent's grew up in the 80's, so I have a great appreciation for all this music. These songs define the time and also are known as "jams" in my house. Great work! Voted up.


Peanutritious profile image

Peanutritious 4 years ago from Cheshire, UK

OMG! I loved the eighties! Not Rock stuff but more of the Electro type stuff like Gary Numan, Japan etc. It was my childhood and will always be nostalgic to me!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks for the comments, everyone. My favorite is Foreigner, with REO close behind. Brittany, your parents?! Stop, you're making me feel old! : )

Peanutritious, it's nice to meet you. You'll have to check out my other hub on the best New Wave songs of the 80s. It sounds like it would be more your kind of music.


bredandagnes profile image

bredandagnes 4 years ago from Ireland

fun hub-thanks


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thank you, bredandagnes!


rcrumple profile image

rcrumple 4 years ago from Kentucky

Deborah - Great job of selecting these fine songs. You've done well to bring the top of the pop here. As music lists are mostly opinion (and since you asked, : ) ) my top five power ballads would be these. #5 - Whitesnake - "Is This Love", #4 - April Wine - "Just Between You And Me", #3 - Poison - "Something To Believe In", #2 - Warrant - "Heaven", #1 - Guns 'N' Roses - "November Rain". There's another 20 lists of power ballads we could choose from, so no one would ever be satisfied. Great Job and Fun Hub! Up & Interesting


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

I love your list, Richard! Thanks for sharing it.


Shinkicker profile image

Shinkicker 4 years ago from Scotland

I must have BAD taste because I loved all these 'bad' ballads. Great songs :-)


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Just like many things from the 80s, they're so bad they're good. Thanks for the comment, Shinkicker. : )


rasta1 profile image

rasta1 4 years ago from Jamaica

Of course foreigner is going to win the appeal. It had the greatest international success.


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

I went to a fancy dress party as Ozzy Osbourne. He would fit a few decades I think :o), took me ages to wash all of the tattoos off my arms!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Rasta, for me it's a toss-up between Foreigner and REO Speedwagon. Thanks for commenting.

Jools, awesome! I'd love to see pictures of that sometime. Maybe you can write a music hub about Ozzy! Thanks for sharing my hub. : )


DanaTeresa profile image

DanaTeresa 4 years ago from Ohio

I LOVE a good power ballad! These are great. I have seen Journey, REO Speedwagon, Foreigner, and Chicago in concert over the years. And I am not ashamed to admit it. I loved every moment!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, DanaTeresa. Foreigner was my very first concert, back in the day. Have never seen those others, though.


gail641 profile image

gail641 4 years ago from Mason City

I like the ballads by Heart, too. I like the song, "Alone", and "Never" , and I really love to listen to songs by Boston. There were a lot of good songs in the 1980s. Nice list! I like the one song that Ozzie Osbourne sings with Lita Ford, but I can't remember the name of the song.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

How could I have forgotten Heart?! Thanks for the comment, Gail.


gail641 profile image

gail641 4 years ago from Mason City

Your welcome. I've always like Heart and their songs. I've never been to any conserts. At the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa they've had some famous bands there, and also Bill Cosby just recently. Alice Cooper was at the Surf, and I think that Joan Jett was there, too. Richie Valens and the Big Bopper was there many years ago when they had that tragic plane crash that killed Buddy Holly. I like the song by Boston called: More Than a Feeling.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Hi Gail. I've never been to the Surf Ballroom but hear they have some good shows. I'm familiar with that bit of sad history, which is probably what the Surf is most famous for.


gail641 profile image

gail641 4 years ago from Mason City

Hi Deborah, I believe that the sad history is what the Surf is most famous for, too.


Vimural profile image

Vimural 3 years ago from Tucson

Beautiful Collection!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 3 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks for reading and commenting, Vimural. Glad you enjoyed my collection.


Hackslap profile image

Hackslap 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Off this list my favs are 'I Wanna Know what Love is'.. 'Can't Fight this Feeling' and 'Heaven in your eyes' ...

There's a little trivia about 'Heaven in your Eyes'..Loverboy's keyboardist Doug Johnson didn't appear on the video coz it was his way of boycotting 'Top Gun'.. (he felt it glorified war)..


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 3 years ago from Iowa Author

"I Wanna Know What Love Is" is my favorite, too. Thanks for commenting, Hackslap.


oldiesmusic profile image

oldiesmusic 3 years ago from United States

Sweet hub - thanks for sharing!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 3 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks for reading and commenting, oldiesmusic. Glad you enjoyed it!

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