There are several types and subtypes of ballads. Some are sung with a slow pace and peaceful tone, while some with the full intensity of music, emotions, and sentiments. A power ballad is also a love song that involves a sudden outburst of powerful emotions or sentiments. Interestingly, such ballads become popular instantly and hit the wide public nerves with their popular emotional expressions. Lyrics and melody often catch the public imagination fast. It is stated that the power ballad is the product of the decade of the 70s with “Styx” by Lady becoming popular in 1972. The top ten power ballads having become popular so far are as follows.
I Want to Know What Love Is by Foreigner
I’ve gotta take a little time
A little time to think things over
I better read between the lines
In case I need it when I’m older
This mountain, I must climb
Feels like a world upon my shoulders
Through the clouds, I see love shine
Keeps me warm as life grows colder
Sung by Foreigner, this power ballad was first released in 1984 and became an instant hit. It was the lead single in the album, Agent Provocateur. Sung in soft rock, this ballad came at the top of weekly and yearly lists across the globe. The ballad presents the situation through its four-lined stanzas and ABAB rhyme scheme of a person who wants to know more about himself, his love, and the situation in which he is placed. The speaker wants to know the reality of love but conversely, he also wants to tell his beloved that she knows him the best. Therefore, he is ready to confront the world of love whether it is pain or heartache. The beauty of the ballad lies in repetitions, refrain, thematic strain, and intensity of the feelings of love. That is why it has topped our list of power ballads. These two first stanzas of the
November Rain by Guns N’ Roses
When I look into your eyes
I can see a love restrained
But darlin’ when I hold you
Don’t you know I feel the same?
Nothin’ lasts forever
And we both know hearts can change
And it’s hard to hold a candle
In the cold November rain
Sung by the Californian-based American hard rock, this beautiful power ballad was first released in 1991 in its album, Use Your Illusion I. The ballad became an instant hit and bagged MTV Award for Cinematography with several nominations. The speaker in the ballad presents his situation of love, his beloved’s response, his own loneliness, and passionate first-person appeals to his beloved. The beauty of the ballad lies in the first-person approach with rhetorical questions bedecked with metaphors, repetitions, and the refrain of “You need somebody” have made this power ballad come second in our order of ranking.
Dream On by Aerosmith
Every time that I look in the mirror
All these lines on my face getting clearer
The past is gone
Oh, it went by like dusk to dawn
Isn’t that the way?
Everybody’s got their dues in life to pay, oh, oh, oh
I know nobody knows
Where it comes and where it goes
I know it’s everybody’s sin
You got to lose to know how to win.
This beautiful power ballad of the 70s was sung by a Boston-based rock band, Aerosmith. It was first released in 1973. Written by Il Salvato, this power ballad presents the speaker who is as confused as his love and his expression. The speaker thinks about his face, his past, and about other people around him to argue that everybody else should sing with him what he is singing. This ballad demonstrates the use of rhetorical strategies such as rhetorical questions, repetitions, refrains and passionate expressions. The beauty of its language lies in this use of literary and other devices that have made this power ballad come third in our order of ranking as these two stanzas show it amply.
Every Rose Has Its Thorn by Poison
Was it something I said or something I did
Did the words not come out right
Though I tried not to hurt you
Though I tried
But I guess that’s why they say
This Pennsylvanian-based band’s top-rated power ballad has stood third in our order of rating due to its lyrics, use of literary devices, and the impact of its musicality. The ballad was first released in the pop genre in 1988 and immediately won nominations for Juno Award. It presents the first-person speaker who feels alienated from his beloved in that he thinks that they are lying together yet they are far away from each other and this distance does not seem bridging soon. The literary devices such as rhetorical questions, repetitions, and metaphors from the pen of Bobby Dall have made it an excellent musical rendition as its first two stanzas show it amply.
Home Sweet Home by Motley Crue
You know I’m a dreamer
But my heart’s of gold
I had to run away high
So I wouldn’t come home low
Just when things went right
It doesn’t mean they were always wrong
Just take this song and you’ll never feel left all alone
Take me to your heart
Feel me in your bones
Just one more night
And I’m coming off this long and winding road
Motley Crue, the popular heavy metal American band, sang this ballad in 1985 in the glam metal and rock genre. It proved an instant success for the album after they included it in the album, Theatre of Pain. Despite having unrhyming verses, the ballad has attracted millions of fans due to its sincere expression of emotions. The speaker dreams of having a good home without anything but only his beloved to whom he is addressing. The use of the refrain of “Sweet Home Sweet” and “I’m on my way” points to his wayward life and his resolve to be good in the future. That is why the ballad has been placed at fifth position in our order of ranking.
We Are The Champions by Queen
We are the champions, my friends
And we’ll keep on fighting ‘til the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions of the world
I’ve taken my bows
And my curtain calls
You brought me fame and fortune, and everything that goes with it
I thank you all
Sung by the popular British rock band, Queen, this beautiful power ballad hit the markets on October 7, 1978, and proved a hit in their sixth album. Sung in an arena rock song genre, the ballad witnessed various versions released from time to time. The power of this ballad lies in the resolution of the singers that they are champions but they have gone through harrowing suffering to achieve this status as they have been kicked, butted, and imprisoned. Yet, they have continued despite these difficulties. The use of refrains, repetitions, metaphors, and a beautiful rhyme scheme has brought this ballad at sixth position in our order of ranking. These two stanzas show these literary devices at work.
Wind of Change by Scorpions
Follow the Moskva
Down to Gorky Park
Listening to the wind of change
An August summer night
Soldiers passing by
Listening to the wind of change
The world is closing in
Did you ever think
That we could be so close, like brothers.
This beautiful power ballad in the pop-metal and hard rock genre was sung by Scorpions, a German rock band. It first appeared in their album, Crazy World, which hit the shelves in 1990 and brought the band into the limelight of glory. The ballad was released in the same year. “Wind of Chang” marks the era when the two superpower rivalry came to an end and the band visited Rusia in 1990. Singing in the praise of Moscow landmarks, the verses celebrate the mood that prevailed in Europe in the post-Communist Soviet era. The ballad expresses hopes after that era and celebrates fast coming changes. Due to its political connotations and conspiratorial tone, this power ballad has come at seventh position in our order of ranking. The first two stanzas show its central theme and other literary devices.
Amanda by Boston
Babe, tomorrow’s so far away
There’s something I just have to say
I don’t think I could hide what I’m feelin’ inside
Another day, knowin’ I love you
And I, I’m getting too close again
I don’t wanna see it end
If I tell you tonight, would you turn out the lights
And walk away knowin’ I love you?
Lyrics written by Scholz Tom and composed and sung by the American rock band, Bonton, this power ballad hit the shelves in 1986. The album, Third Stage, brought this ballad of rock genre into the limelight, making Amanda, a fictional name as a household beloved. The singer or the speaker asks and implores Amanda that he loves her and that she also loves her. He requests her to come back with him so that they could live together to make a good house. The use of different repetitions, refrains, reversals, and other literary devices has made this song climb to the seventh place in our order of ranking. Its first two stanzas show the excellence of its verses and thematic strand.
Lady by Styx
Lady, when you’re with me I’m smiling
Give me all your love
Your hands build me up when I’m sinking
Just touch me and my troubles all fade
Lady, from the moment I saw you
Standing all alone
You gave all the love that I needed
So shy, like a child who has grown.
Written by Dennis De Young and sung by Styx, the American rock band, this power ballad was written, recorded, and released in 1973 in the United States. With its progressive rock lyrics, this ballad proved an instant hit for the band, making it a celebrated rock band overnight. The lyrics present the speaker asking a lady that she makes him happy when she looks at him and he looks at her. The repetition of this constant strain continues in the song until the end. The speaker tries his best to convince the lady about his love by saying “You’re my lady” which is repeated thrice in the ballad. The ballad uses metaphors and personifications to construct the image of that lady. Due to these devices, the ballad is placed ninth in our order of ranking. Its first stanza shows its beauty.
Alone by Heart
I hear the ticking of the clock
I’m lying here the room’s pitch dark
I wonder where you are tonight
No answer on the telephone
And the night goes by so very slow
Oh I hope that it won’t end though
Written by William Steinberg and Tom Kelly, this ballad by Heart, the American rock band, appeared in 1987. Although it did not win any award, it has won the band great fame due to its forcefulness. This forcefulness of the ballad lies in its intensity of expression of the passion of the speaker. The speaker vows to end his loneliness through the company of his beloved but he is doubtful whether he would be alone with her and how. This situation continues to reverberate till the end with the use of repetition, refrain, and punctuation. That is why the song stands at the tenth position in our order of ranking. Its first two stanzas show its excellence.