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Top 10 Hair Metal Ballads
Because I am a font of truly useless information and I am also a child of the seventies and eighties, I figured I'd make a list of my top ten hair metal ballads.
As a teenager, I loved literally everything about hair metal, and that's carried over into my forties. Yeah, some of it is really cheesy now, but it was awesome then! It was really hard to pick just ten, though I am a girl who isn't really big on love songs.
If you have a bone to pick with me, or think I shouldn't have left your favorite hair metal ballad off of the list, please comment so we can settle it like the Aqua Net loving, spandex wearing, ear splitting screaming adults that we really are. I'm also giving you little pieces of my brain (you zombie) in the form of trivia alerts. I looked it up, so you wouldn't have to!
Without further ado, I bring you my picks for the Top 10 Hair Metal Ballads.
10. Motley Crue - Home Sweet Home
Motley Crue are definitely one of the most memorable hair metal bands, in part because they're still churning out albums and touring. Home Sweet Home may well be the most popular hair metal ballad of all time, but it's taking the number ten spot on my list because that's how I roll.
Home Sweet Home is from 1985's Theatre of Pain album. It's about too much time spent on the road and how not everything turns out the way we want it to. "Just when things went right / Doesn't mean they're always wrong / Just take this song and you'll never feel left all alone..."
Trivia Alert: Home Sweet Home has been covered several times. Chester Bennington of Linkin Park recorded his voice over Motley Crue's music for a Hurricane Katrina tribute. Limp Bizkit covered it in 2005, and Carrie Underwood included her version on her 2009 album Play On.
9. Skid Row - I Remember You
I was so in love with Sebastian Bach of Skid Row when I was a teenager. It helped that he was very young when Skid Row started gaining popularity in 1989. Seeing Skid Row and Aerosmith at the Richmond Colosseum is one of my fondest memories.
I Remember You is another ballad that has managed to stay relevant. It's about love and promises and things remembered. 'We spent the summer with the top rolled down / Wish ever after would be like this / you said I love you babe without a sound.' When Bach hits those high notes, I imagine glass shattering. It is a sweet, sweet song, though. Skid Row weren't afraid to let their romantic flags fly.
Trivia Alert: Skid Row is still making records, and so is Sebastian Bach, they're just not doing it together anymore. Bach was fired from the band in 1996 over an argument about opening for the band KISS. Bach wanted to and the rest of the band didn't. In an ironic twist of fate, Skid Row ended up opening up for KISS on their KISS Kruise in October 2011, without Bach.
8. Tesla - Love Song
Though Tesla had a few hit records, in my opinion they were severely underrated as a band. They weren't as flashy as some of their peers, and most of their music wasn't very heavy but it was good, solid stuff. Their second record, The Great Radio Controversy, was released in 1989 and was the one that 'blew them up' as they say today . It also spawned one of the best metal ballads ever, Love Song.
This isn't a song sung by a man in love, it's a comforting shoulder and pat on the back to someone who has lost their love. It's not the end of the world, and there are plenty of fish in the sea. 'Waiting for you / is a love made just for two / just keep an open heart / and you'll find love again, I know.' If you only listen to one song I've linked to in this Hub, make it this one. It's not my number one pick, but I believe it may be one of the best songs ever.
Trivia Alert: Tesla's original band name was City Kidd. Because their manager thought the name was crap (not to mention there already was a band called City Kidd), they changed their name to Tesla. Their name, their first album, Mechanical Resonance, their second record, The Great Radio Controversy and some of their song titles are a nod to Nikola Tesla, a mechanical engineer and inventor.
7. Lita Ford and Ozzy Osbourne - Close My Eyes Forever
Lita Ford was probably the most successful of all of the 1980s female headbangers. She would have had to be, since she got her start in the band The Runaways, with Joan Jett! Known for her sexy costumes and knowing her way around a guitar, Lita was on top of the world in the late eighties.
This 1989 song, a duet with Ozzy Osbourne, was about the immortality of love. If I close my eyes forever, will it all remain unchanged? Will you still love me when I'm gone? Do you even really love me now?
Note: Lita Ford is out on tour with Def Leppard and Poison this summer. Check her website to see if she's playing near you!
Trivia Alert: When Lita and Ozzy made this song, she was the top female rock vocalist and he was the top male vocalist in the entire world. They were both also managed by Ozzy's wife, Sharon. Lita recently said in an interview that, when they wrote the song, Sharon got pissed at Ozzy because he didn't come home that night. Lita swears they 'didn't do nothing!'
6. Slaughter - Fly to the Angels
I don't remember a whole lot about Slaughter, other than their single Up All Night and this one. I'm sure I had their posters on my wall at some point, because Mark Slaughter was, after all, adorable.
Fly to the Angels is about the loss of someone and trying to deal with the hole they've left behind. 'But now you've got to fly / Fly to the angels / Heaven awaits your heart / And flowers bloom in your name.'
Trivia Alert: Slaughter got their recording contract in an unusual way. The band was actually part of Vinnie Vincent Invasion, a group formed by a former member of KISS. Vinnie Vincent maxed out his credit limit with Chrysalis Records, so they gave his contract to Slaughter. Oopsie?
5. Def Leppard - Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad
Most people pick the Def Leppard song Love Bites for their top hair metal ballads, but I think that Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad is much more heart wrenching. Two Steps Behind could have made this list, also.
'Here I am, I'm in the wrong bed again. It's a game I just can't win.' This is a song about unrequited love. He's in love with her, but she doesn't love him back. Sad, really. She'll, you know, give him some, but not what he really wants from her.
Trivia Alert: Def Leppard have been releasing singles since 1979, that gives them thirty-three years in the business. They are also one of only a dozen or so acts to receive Diamond Awards from the RIAA for more than one album that sold at least ten million copies. Hysteria and Pyromania have one each. (source)
(There is no mp3 for this song available for sale on Amazon.com, or any of the classic Def Leppard songs for that matter. I do not know if it is available on iTunes or not, as I do not use an iAnything.)
4. White Lion - When the Children Cry
I won't lie. Back in 'the day,' White Lion was kind of a joke. They were Hair Metal Light, if there was such a thing. Though most of their songs were fluffy, get-teenage-girls-to-buy-our-records nonsense, When the Children Cry was a sad social commentary that really didn't have much of a place in the self serving, superficial world of hair metal. Now, here I am twenty (thirty?) some-odd years later, remembering this song fondly.
When the Children Cry is White Lion's apology for personally ruining the world that they get to inherit. It was on their 1988 album Pride. 'What have we become? / Just look what we have done / All that we destroyed / You must build again.' I remember feeling bad for those kids, until I realized I was probably one of them.
Trivia Alert: Though White Lion officially went the way of many hair metal bands by breaking up in 1993, lead singer Mike Tramp has tried at least twice to record and tour under the band's official name. In 2004, Tramp released an album called Last Roar, which is a re-release of the album Remembering White Lion. Though he originally tried to call his band White Lion, he was forced to rename it Tramp's White Lion.
3. Enuff Z'Nuff - Fly High Michelle
Enuff Z'Nuff, though curiously still making records, never really made a big dent in the American music market. Fly High Michelle was their biggest hit, peaking at number 47 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1989. The bad was full on glam, with crazy hair, lots of spandex and scarves everywhere. In my opinion, they out-glammed Poison, which was hard to do.
This song was Enuff Z'Nuff lead singer Donnie Vie's tribute to a friend who passed away from a drug overdose. The video itself is pretty trippy. But the song, even though it may sound a little odd in places, is very poignant. 'I know that what goes up, comes down / I didn't know you'd hit the ground / why'd you have to give it up / you were just a little girl / I'll never look into your blue eyes / fly high Michelle.'
Trivia Alert: Though Enuff Z'Nuff toned down their 'glamness' for their 1991 album, Strength,' they never managed to chart another hit. In 1993, they filed for bankruptcy, though they are still releasing albums and touring.
2. Steelheart - I'll Never Let You Go
Peaking at number 15 on the Billboard Singles Chart in 1991, Steelheart scored their only major hit with I'll Never Let You Go. The song is sometimes referred to as Angel Eyes.
Though the lyrics were a little cheesy, every teenage girl in 1991 wanted a guy to sing this song to her. When my heart starts to crumble / And the tears start to fall / You hold me close with tender lovin' / And give me strength to carry on.
I did say they were cheesy, didn't I?
Although I do make fun of the cheese factor, Steelheart are still alive and making records. So I guess they got the last laugh?
Trivia Alert: Steelheart's lead singer, Miljenko Matijevic, provided some of the vocals for the movie Rock Star, starring Mark Wahlberg.
1. Guns N Roses - November Rain
I struggled over whether to make November Rain or Sweet Child O Mine my number one. I consulted my best friend, and said November Rain. YouTube shows over 93 million views for November Rain, and Sweet Child O Mine has only 45 million. So November Rain it is, because I temporarily forgot about Patience. Either way, my number one was going to be a GNR song because, well, they're my favorite band of all time.
November Rain is one of the slickest songs GNR ever made, with it's symphonic background and two huge guitar solos. It's about falling in love and falling out of love. 'Nothing lasts forever, even cold November rain...'
By far, the coolest part of the video is Duff McKagan hanging out under the table as it starts raining.
Trivia Alert: At 8:57, November Rain is the longest song to ever crack the Billboard Top Ten and the video for the song is one of the most expensive ever made.
Just because I left them off the list, doesn't mean they weren't considered!
Faster Pussycat - House of Pain
Poison - Every Rose Has It's Thorn
W.A.S.P. - Widow Maker
Cinderella - Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)
Bon Jovi - Never Say Goodbye
KISS - Forever
Queensryche - Silent Lucidity