For My Sunday Song #100, we are ending the Power Ballad set with a true classic, Whitesnake’s “Is This Love” off the 1987 album simply known as ‘Whitesnake’ or ‘1987’. The song reached all the way to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and helped propel Whitesnake into the stratosphere of rock stardom.
This midtempo power ballad was written by David Coverdale and the great guitarist John Sykes. They wrote it during the writing sessions for the album in one of the worst places you could possible be, the south of France (read as sarcasm). They recorded in David’s villa called Le Rayol. It must have been rough.
The song was actually going to be used for Tina Turner until Geffen heard the song and quickly put the brakes on that. Although David thinks Tina would still have been great for the song and you know I think he is right.
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For My Sunday Song #99, we will tackle the Def Leppard power ballad, “Love Bites”. The song is off the Diamond selling album, ‘Hysteria’ and was Def Leppard’s biggest hit, if you can believe it. It is the only Def Leppard song to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Considering this was the fifth single off the album and with the success of “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, I was completely surprised by that fact (PSSOM did go to #2).
The song was originally brought to the band by the legendary producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange. The song was a country song at the time and of course the band put their spin on it and turned it in to of the great rock power ballads of the time. The title for the song actually came from another song that Leppard was working on and that song later became “I Wanna Be Your Hero” which was the B-Side for “Animal” in the US.
What I like about the song is that the guy is so in love with this person that he is actually going a little nuts. Hell, just touching her drives him crazy. But he isn’t sure she feels the same way. He keeps questioning her. Maybe it is really his own insecurities that are causing him to doubt the relationship. Or maybe she doesn’t love him and he really senses something missing.
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For My Sunday Song #98, we take it back to the 80’s and hand it over to Scorpions with their ballad “Still Loving You” off the album ‘Love At First Sting” from 1984. With “Rock You Like a Hurricane”, I became a Scorpion fan and this song sealed the deal for life.
The song was the second single from the album and it only reached #64 on the Billboard Hot 100 which is crazy considering this song hit #1 in France. Yes, France. The Scorpions are credited with starting a baby boom in France in 1985 because of this song. I am not kidding!
The song is about a man who is in love with woman, but they fear the end of the relationship is fading and almost over. So what do they do, they try again to reignite that passion and flame and give it another shot. France is the country about love so that might be why it did so well.
At around 6:30, the song isn’t your typical power ballad..well at least in length. In style, it is exactly like every power ballad which is why it is a power ballad. The song’s slow crescendo throughout the song is it’s magic. The song keeps building and adding instruments and it gets more powerful and louder as it goes.
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For My Sunday Song #96, I am discussing the beautiful song by Halestorm called “Beautiful with You”. The song is off the gold selling album ‘The Strange Case of…’ which went to # 1 on the Hard Rock Charts. However, despite the album having 5 singles, this was not one. I chose this one since we are currently discussing power ballads and I thought I would bring the power ballad into the 21st Century and highlight a newer song that I felt fit the mold.
The song definitely has the power with Lzzy Hale’s vocals and it is a slower tempo and softer song you would expect with a ballad that ebbs and flows between harder and soft. The song has a great tone to it and is a very emotional song. The song is about loving your self and realizing it is okay to reach out to others for help. It doesn’t make you weak, but strong. Here is what Lzzy told journalist Valerie Bastien (from Songfacts.com) about her low self-esteem…
“Believe me, I don’t always feel like a rock star, and there are times when I look in the mirror and scream. Especially emotionally,” admitted Lzzy. “I used to hide a lot of my feelings of insecurity and powerlessness, and just wouldn’t reach out to someone because I thought it meant that I was weak if I did. I wanted people to see that it’s ok to need a shoulder sometimes, and to have those “ugly days” and to let down your guard. We’re human and we’re not perfect… don’t let those thoughts in your head rule your life and prevent you from opening yourself up.”
I really love the verse that states the following:
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For My Sunday Song #95, this power ballad comes to us from Poison. The song is “Something To Believe In” and is off their 1990 album ‘Flesh & Blood’. The song went to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is great example of how moving and poignant a song can be.
The song is about two people in Bret Michael’s life. The first is his personal friend and bodyguard, James Kimo Maano or Kimo. Kimo got hooked up in the rock & roll lifestyle and with his abuse of drugs and alcohol, his life tragically ended early. When Bret found out, he was inspired to write this song as a tribute to his friend. When you watch the video of this song, you see an emotional Bret Michaels reacting to pictures that showed up on the TV of his friend. The Director of the video didn’t tell him the pictures were being used and it took Bret by surprise. It was a cruel trick, but it captured a real moment.
The other person is Bret’s cousin Bob who had been wounded in Vietnam and the song talks about his struggles mentally with what happened as well as the loss of so many of his cousin’s friends in the way. It paints a stark reality of the damage war can have on a person.
The whole song discusses reasons for Bret’s loss of faith whether it is from false prophets, the homeless, the impact of war or the loss of a close friend. The song paints such a graphic picture that you can’t help but be touched by it in some way. And depends on your mood when you listen, it could even bring a tear to your eyes.
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For My Sunday Song #94, “I Remember You” by Skid Row is the next power ballad on the list. The song came out in November 1989 and by 1990 it was a huge success. It made it to #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and ended up in being played at every high school’s prom according to Sebastian Bach in interview with SleazeRoxx.com. Who doesn’t remember dancing to this song (well, I don’t because I had already graduated high school three years earlier).
What band wasn’t doing power ballads back in the day, so why is this one so special? Well, it is easy. It is Sebastian Bach’s vocals. He delivered such a powerful, heartfelt, emotional performance of the song written by fellow bandmates Rachel Bolan and Dave Sabo. Now, Scotti Hill also laid down a killer guitar in the middle of the song that could stand up with any of the time. It was lethal combination. If you saw them live and this song came on, your lighter would be flickering as you raised your arm high into the air with everyone else in the building.
The song’s lyrics reflect a sadness and regret for a long lost love. A longing for the times together and Bach captures that essence perfectly. Rob Affuso’s drumming is strong and underlines the song with a punch that helps lift the ballad to another level. There is no denying this was one of the best power ballads to come out of the whole movement. I find it just as good today as it was back then.
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One of the most recognizable songs in the Journey catalog was “Open Arms”. It was from the ‘Escape’ album and the single was released in January of 1982. The song did pretty damn good and went to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, but for some reason it couldn’t hit that #1 spot. However, that is still one of the highest chart positions the band ever reached for a single if not the highest.
The song is believed by many to be one of the greatest power ballads ever written and is said to be one of the main catalyst for starting the power ballad movement in the 80’s. The funny thing is that most members of the band other than Steve & Jonathan did not want the song on the album. It was too sugary sweet for their tastes. As tie has shown, those members of the band were wrong.
Or were they. The band became known for this sound and it changed everything for the band from that point on. They had to have power ballads on every album as they were now expected from the band. And they did end up writing many more great ones and went on to superstar status. It did get them huge successes and paydays, but was it worth it? Probably so.
The song was brought to the band by Jonathan Cain as he already had the melody written when he tried to use it for his previous band, The Babys. However, vocalist John Waite, was not real keen on the song and said it was too syrupy. Wow, both bands originally stated the same thing…both were wrong.
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My Sunday Song #91 is “Fly to the Angels” by Slaughter. The song was off their debut album ‘Stick It To Ya” and was there biggest selling single which charted #1 on the Mainstream Rock chart. It was the band’s only million selling song and was one of the best power ballads to come out of the 80’s Hair Metal scene. The funny thing is, the band isn’t an 80’s band. All of their albums were released in the 90’s starting with this one in 1990. To be fair, the 80’s Hair Metal scene hadn’t fully died off yet, that came a couple years later.
The song features Mark Slaughter’s unique vocals which were a little raw and scratchy which fit perfectly for the sound they were going for and helped them stand out on their own from other bands. The slow groove of the guitar heavy song hypnotically takes you through the story of the loss of someone that the person of the song truly loved. You can really feel the loneliness and the pain this person is feeling at his loss. It is a really touching song when you break it down and explore it.
I am sure everyone has lost someone at one point in time so that is probably why the song connected with so many people at the time. If you haven’t heard it in awhile, give it a listen.
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