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Top Ten Ballads of the 80's and 90's

Updated on January 28, 2011

Once upon a time in America there lived a genre of music that so captivated teenagers and young adults that they would forever immortalized the music. Music has a way of freeing the soul. It can make you feel happy, sad, or even angry. Sometimes when the mood strikes us we also feel a need to listen to a certain type of song. Wandering down the avenues of my memory I realize that music has helped to shape who I am, and I am positive it has helped to shape numerous others.

The music to which I am referring is none other the 80's and 90's hair metal bands. The hair metal bands originated in California in the early 80's, maybe even the late 1970s. With the emergence of these types of bands came an influx of young crazed fans similar to the onset of rock and roll in the 1950s. MTV came out in the mid 80's as way of supporting these bands and ultimately giving birth to the ever fascinating music video.

But, nothing in life is perfect and in order to firmly cement themselves as an 80's hair metal band, the musicians would have to create a ballad, a love song. The ballads of the 1980s and early 1990s forever defined a generation, so in celebration of those ballads, here is a list of my ten favorite ballads.

The Almighty Monster Ballads
The Almighty Monster Ballads

Number Ten

When I See You Smile by Bad English

When I See You Smile was released in 1989 by the band Bad English.  The song made it all the way to number one on Billboards music charts in 1989 as well.  The band was formed when the keyboardist, singer, and bassist from The Babys joined together with two other band members.  They chose their name at a pool hall while playing pool.  Singer John Waite missed a shot and keyboardist Jonathan Cain joked about how bad his english was. 

Number Nine

Heaven by Warrant

Heaven is a power ballad written and sung by the rock band Warrant.  It was released in 1989 and became Warrants most successful single at #2 on Billboards top 100 chart.  Cherry Pie is often considered to be Warrants most popular ballad and is usually associated with Warrant.  Heaven however, went on to receive greater acclaim as their number one power ballad.

Number Eight

Is This Love by Whitesnake

Is This Love by Whitesnake is one of their biggest hits.  It was released in 1987 on their self-titled album.  The song was written by lead singer David Coverdale and John Sykes.  It reached 10th on VH1’s Greatest Power Ballads.  Is This Love is Whitesnake’s number two most defining songs right after Here I Go Again which is number one.  The song also reached number 2 on U.S singles charts in 1987.

Number Seven

Have You Ever Needed Someone by Def Leppard

Have You Ever Needed Someone is one of Def Leppard’s power ballads.  The song was released in 1992 on their album Adrenalize which went double platinum.  The song reached number 12 on Billboard Hot 100 list.  Def Leppard is a rock band from Sheffield England and formed a band in 1977.  Def Leppard is ranked 31st on VH1’s greatest artists of hard rock.

Number Six

When I Look In Your Eyes by Firehouse

Firehouse formed in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1989.  When I Look In Your Eyes was released in 1992 and became Firehouse’s second hit ballad and reached number 8 on Billboard Hot 100 list.  Although the song is a 1992 power ballad it once again was composed and sung by an 80’s band.  I rank this song at number 6 for that reason otherwise I would have ranked it higher.

Number Five

Amanda by Boston

Amanda is a song performed by the American rock band Boston, as this type of song was not typical for Boston it was labeled as a power ballad.  Boston’s power ballad quickly became their biggest hit by reaching number one on Billboards Hot 100 chart and stayed there for two weeks.  The song was written in 1980 by Boston and later released on the 1986 album Third Stage.

Number Four

Home Sweet Home by Motley Crew

Home Sweet Home was Motley Crue’s power ballad of the 1980’s.  Motley Crue formed in 1981 in Los Angeles CA.  The band is made up of four members: Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, and Vince Neil.   The band is widely known as a hair metal band of the 80’s and had much success with many of their songs including Home Sweet Home.  Home Sweet Home is a power ballad released in the Theatre of Pain album from 1985 and still ranks at #12 on VH1’s chart of the greatest power ballads of all time.

Number Three

Still Loving You by Scorpions

Still Loving You was released by Scorpions in their album Love at First Sting in 1984.  Although they had much success with many of their songs Still Loving You is known to be their greatest power ballad.  Scorpions formed their band in 1965 from Hanover Germany.  The jumped on the American Music scene in 1984 with the release of Love at First Sting and cemented themselves as American rock stars with Rock you Like A Hurricane and Still Loving You.  Even though Scorpions is a hard rock band their power ballad comes in on my top ten list at number three.

Number Two

High Enough by Damn Yankees

The band Damn Yankees was formed in 1989 when Tommy Shaw, Jack Blades, Ted Nugent, and Michael Cartellone joined together.  The song High Enough was released on their first self-titled album in 1989 and went double platinum in 1990.  The song though technically a power ballad of the 90’s I added it here because it is a great song from an 80’s band.  It achieved the rank of #3 on Billboard Hot 100 charts.

Number One

Don’t Stop Believing by Journey

Don’t Stop Believing was released by Journey in 1981 on their album Escape.  A lot of people think of this song when they hear Journey.  The song had a meteoric rise in the 80’s and reached number eight on Billboards music chart.  Journey is an American rock band that formed in 1973; their greatest success came in the late 70’s and early 80’s with the release of the album Escape and the song Don’t Stop Believing became their signature song.

Power Ballad Collections


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    • wesleycox profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Thank You

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      = = LOVE IT! = =

    • profile image


      7 years ago

    • Little Kim profile image

      Little Kim 

      7 years ago from Any town U.S.A.

      lOVE THESE SONGS!! One song I also love is from John Waite of Bad English is "Missing You" makes me cry.

    • wesleycox profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Thank you moondive, I also like these songs.

    • moondive profile image


      8 years ago from Modena,Italy

      I like this songs:)

    • wesleycox profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Cari: Thank you for visiting and enjoying my list.

    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 

      8 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      This is a great list and takes me back to my high school and early college days. What about LoveSong by Tesla - they are a great band!

    • wesleycox profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Andy: Thank you for visiting and commenting. I do have to agree that G'n'R was the greatest metal band of the 80's and 90's, especially with hits like Sweet Child of Mine and such. Thank you again.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice selection! Disappointed not to see at least one of G'N R's ballads as I think they could have been THE greatest metal band ever, but man they messed up.

      Queensryche's Silent Lucidity anybody? Makes my hair stand..thanks for the memories

    • wesleycox profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Your welcome chammock, these songs play in my house regularly because they'll never get old. Take your time but I'm sure you'll remember how great all of these songs were.

    • chammock profile image


      9 years ago

      I grew up in the 80's, turning 15 in 1980. I am more than just a music fan. Maybe I fancy myself as somewhat of a music connoisseur. I remember all these songs like they were just out yesterday. You definitely go the #1 right by Journey. I would have to think back to see if any others really stand out. Maybe I will post another comment after some soul searching.

      Thanks for taking me back a couple (actually a few) decades.

    • wesleycox profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      PL: I assume you mean that I am forever young. I'll tell my wife as well. Thanks for reading.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      once again, your musical choice is not the same as mine, but you are so a writer never give up all together, your such a man, but you have not lost your little boy inside yet. I hope you know what i mean by that, i love to read about how you feel so much for your wife and family, but there is a little boy in there too that needs nurturing, you bring out all the maternal instincts in me, Give your wife a big hug from me and tell her she is one of the most lucky women on earth, god bless xxxxx

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      okay I would never admit I liked this as a kid but I have to tell you that I loved this hub! I actually like almost all the songs you mentioned on here....good one wesley!


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