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The 40 Greatest Power Ballads Playlist

20. Peter Cetera - Glory Of Love (1986) 

No list of power ballads would be complete without mention of a knight in shining armour galloping to a maiden’s rescue. Enter Cetera (one-time vocalist/bassist with the brassy Chicago) on board a steed with a stomach full of sugar lumps… that’s both Pete and the horse. This super-syrupy song – theme to a martial arts movie – is as cloying as Hi-Karate aftershave. 

Choice lyric: ‘We’ll live forever/Knowing together that we did it all/For the glory of love’

19. Bad English - When I See You Smile (1989) 

Although largely forgotten now, in their day Bad English were arena rockers who crunched as much as they caressed. The band included singer John Waite (ex-Babys) and guitarist Neal Schon (Journey and Santana), and they are on choice form on this delirious anthem written – again – by Diane Warren. 

Choice lyric: ‘What a touch of your hand can do/ It’s like nothing that I ever knew’

18. Mr Mister - Broken Wings (1985) 

No list of power ballads would be complete without mention of broken wings, either. Unlike Ozzy Osbourne (see Goodbye To Romance) Mr Mister went one better and made it into the title of a song. Drifting and mellifluous, Broken Wings also has a pulsing undercurrent that prevents it from becoming too wet and simpering. 

Choice lyric: ‘You’re half of the flesh and blood/ That makes me whole’

17. Mötley Crüe - Home Sweet Home (1985) 

Home Sweet Home was the first time we got to stroke Motley Crue’s soft white underbelly. This is a typical tale (à la Kiss’s Beth) of a raddled rocker returning to his loved one after months on tour. When Vince Neil wails ‘I’m on my way/I’m on my way-hee-ay’ the majority of listeners wave their ‘Welcome Back’ flags; a sensible minority rush to bolt their doors. 

Choice lyric: ‘Just take this song and you’ll never feel/Left all alone’

16. Foreigner - I Want To Know What Love Is (1984)

The sheer omnipresence of this song when it first came out might have weakened its modern-day appeal somewhat. That said, I Want To Know What Love Is still swoops like a bird of prey. And vocalist Lou Gramm revels in his role as lord of the wrings; by the end of the song he’s forlorn, shattered, betrayed, abandoned, distraught. A hollow shell of a man. And he still hasn’t the foggiest idea what love is. 

Choice lyric: ‘In my life there’s been heartache and pain/I don’t know if I can face it again’

15. Asia - The Smile Has Left Your Eyes (1983) 

Pomp, circumstance and mush all come together to wonderful effect in this soul- bearing slowie written by the late Asia vocalist/ bassist John Wetton. Self-pitying lyrically (see below), but then we all like a good wallow, don’t we? 

Choice lyric: ‘I saw you standing hand in hand/ And now you come to me, the solitary man’

14. Velvet Revolver - Fall To Pieces (2004)

With this song Velvet Revolver have come up with a true 21st-century power ballad. Weiland’s hoarse, scorching vocals, Slash’s ding-dong guitar and hugs all round from Duff make Fall To Pieces a suitably overwrought modern- day classic. 

Choice Lyric: ‘I keep a journal of memories/ I’m feeling lonely, I can’t breathe’

13. Scorpions - Wind Of Change (1990)

Whistling is an under-used technique in this sphere of music, and The Scorpions exploit its potential to the max here. The central theme to Wind Of Change may be political rather than smoochy, but that doesn’t make it any the less passionate. 

Choice lyric (for Russian readers): ‘Let your balalaika sing/What my guitar wants to say’

12. Night Ranger - Sister Christian (1984)

With consummate skill Night Ranger rein back their rock-out inclinations by just the right degree, so you stay just on the edge of the pavement as this power ballad pantechnicon rumbles by. (Motoring, indeed.) Sister Christian is a great blend of soft-as-Andrex moments and chest-clobberin’ bravado. 

Choice lyric: ‘You’re motoring/What’s your price for flight?’

11. Ozzy Osbourne - Goodbye To Romance (1980) 

Like Whitesnake’s Is This Love, this one has more ham than a pie factory in Melton Mowbray. Goodbye To Romance is a top-notch crowd-swayer, and Ozzy plays the part of the grim weeper to great effect. His vocals as wistful as they are shambolic. 

Choice Lyric: ‘I’ve been the king, I’ve been the clown/Now broken wings can’t hold me down’