Thursday, August 18, 2016

Greatest Rock Power Ballads of All Time

There have been so many ballads and power ballads written since the 1970s. Many of them get boring over the years, but these five are the best power ballads that stand the test of time, plus an unheralded track from Canadian Devin Townsend.

Bed of Roses - Bon Jovi

A stellar track off Bon Jovi's 1992 Keep The Faith album, which was produced by Canadian Bob Rock. "Bed of Roses", - written by Jon Bon Jovi about life on the road and the struggle of maintaining a relationship while dealing with travel and temptation - was the second single off the record. Along with an amazing chorus, it boasts a great guitar solo and some stellar fret work from Richie Sambora, who also takes the choruses to new heights with his background vocals. Interestingly, Bon Jovi was actually hung over when he penned the track, giving the song a nice ring of truth to the lyrics (although "I wake up and French kiss the morning" is uber cheesey.

Still Loving You - Scorpions

The second single off the Scorpions' mega-selling 1984 Love at First Sting album, this is a power ballad that doesn't get the credit it deserves. It went to No. 64 on the Billboard Charts, but is among the best ballads ever penned. Written about trying to win back someone's love even though that person doesn't have the feeling anymore. The format of "Still Loving You" is interesting since it doesn't feature a typical chorus, and what is the chorus doesn't come till the latter part of the song, which is an amazing crescendo starting at the 4:40 mark featuring some wicked-feel guitar licks courtesy of Rudolf Schenker, the Scorps rhythm guitarist, that take the track to another level even as the song fades out.

Open Arms - Journey

"Open Arms" easily has stood the test of time as one of the greatest power ballads of all time. It went to No. 2 upon its release in 1982 in support of the Escape album, taking Journey to new heights. It's a traditional ballad with Steve Perry's vocals opening the song over a piano line. Then it kicks into the phenomenal chorus everyone knows and loves. At 3:18, it was the perfect length for mega-radio airplay and stands out as a high school dance classic. It was also used in the cult movie "Heavy Metal".

Dream On - Aerosmith

Aerosmith's first big hit, "Dream On" is both a brooding and uplifting track written by Steven Tyler. With lyrics about living for today and making your dreams come true, the chorus is timelessly uplifting. Guitarist Joe Perry wasn't a fan of the track at first, but later said he came to embrace the song. While being a ballad, "Dream On" still showcases that Tyler trademark screaming at the end. While released in 1973 on their self-title debut, the song didn't become a hit until late 1975/early 1976 and basically saved the band from getting booted off their Columbia record label.

Home Sweet Home - Motley Crue

While Motley Crue's Theatre of Pain wasn't their one of their best records, it gave us "Home Sweet Home", featuring a beautiful piano part written by drummer Tommy Lee. Aside from the amazing verses, "Home Sweet Home's" guitar solo is by Mick Mars is a work of art. It's one of those solos that carries the song to it's peak. "Home Sweet Home" went to No. 98 on Billboard, and was even covered by country crooner Carrie Underwood for a 2009 single. The Crue ended their touring career with a final show at Los Angeles' Staples Centre, and naturally ended it all with "Home Sweet Home".

Bonus Power Ballad Many Haven't Heard: Hold On by Devin Townsend

"Hold On" showed up on the Devin Townsend Project's Epicloud record, released in 2012. This indie-metal Canadian maestro has released some of the heaviest records (esp. under Strapping Young Lad), but Townsend has a penchant for writing melodic ballads as well, and "Hold On" is a standout. The track opens with an eerie feeling as Townsend sings over an acoustic guitar, then it jumps into the epic, bombastic chorus that is mindblowing with Anneke van Giersbergen's high backing vocals carrying the song to another level as it chugs along.

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