If you’ve read my first guide to Essential Power Ballads, I hope you enjoyed it! Welcome to Volume 2!
A sappy gem from the Unmasked era, and co-written by Michael Bolton, “Forever” showcases a sincere Paul Stanley making a promise of eternity to his love. Stanley doesn’t have a great voice, but his passion makes up for that in spades, at least for this song. It turns out that the band that brought us such family-friendly hits as “Let’s Put The X In Sex”, “Love Gun” and “Lick It Up” has a soft side after all.
Bon Jovi- “This Ain’t a Love Song”
From the band’s 1995 release, and last good album (and it was great) These Days, “This Ain’t a Love Song” proved that Jon Bon Jovi was not in a good place romantically, and also that he had not yet lost the knack he had for crafting heart-wrenching power ballads. His voice is still strong on this record, and his powerful vocals are the focal point of the song.
REO Speedwagon- “Keep On Loving You”
Although the Speedwagon was not a “hair metal” band like many of their contemporaries of the time who were cranking out tear-soaked stadium shakers, they still knew very much how to craft a rock song with heartfelt lyrics and a chorus that will remain lodged in your head for all of time. This one is easy to come by, as it still gets steady rotation on classic rock radio stations.
Skid Row- “I Remember You”
In an uncommon turn of style for Toms River, New Jersey’s own Skid Row, the band turns in this power ballad, although the emphasis is still on POWER. Lead singer Sebastian Bach, who bandmates Rachel Bolan and Dave “Snake” Sabo managed to find somewhere in Canada, sings with his usual ear-splitting vocal power about “walking hand-in-hand” and “love letters in the sand”. If that’s not beat-you-over-the-head poetry, then I don’t know what is.
Foreigner- “I Want To Know What Love Is”
One of the most well-known power ballads of all-time, and ultimately the most recognizable song from a band that still exists, but features none of its original members (save for an occasional appearance by Mick Jones in concert). What’s interesting about this song is that there’s no guitar, but that’s more than made up for by the badass gospel chorus that presides over the tune’s impassioned extended ending.
If you missed the first installment of this series, you can find it right here. Stay tuned for Volume 3 next Tuesday!