“The Top Ten Revealed” returned last night (Feb. 25) on AXS TV. This week, series host and executive producer Katie Daryl led viewers on a fan-voted countdown of the best ‘80s Rock Ballads. These bombastic love songs climbed the charts and framed the days of big hair, neon legwarmers and glam rock bands. Music experts and members of legendary bands like Def Leppard and Guns N’ Roses weighed in on the sweeping, swoon-worthy selections. SPOILER ALERT: The count down picks are revealed below.
It seems fitting Def Leppard member Vivian Campbell was on hand to discuss the No. 10 cut with the English rock band’s only No. 1 hit, “Love Bites.” Though it was released in 1988 before Campbell joined the band in 1992, he revealed that the infectious hit was originally intended to be a country song. Anyone who has been hurt in a relationship can relate to the song’s indelible hook “Love bites, love bleeds …” “Pour Some Sugar on Me” preceded “Love Bites” as another Def Leppard signature song, but fell short of No. 1, peaking at No. 2 on the charts.
“Keep on Lovin’ You” by REO Speedwagon is a commitment song which speaks of staying in a relationship through tough times. It made No. 9 on the list. Per Yahoo Music Editor Lyndsey Parker, the group’s lead vocalist Kevin Cronin wrote the track after learning his wife cheated on him before they were married. The song hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remains one of the band’s biggest hits to date.
It’s pretty impressive Guns N’ Roses lead singer Axl Rose can do a 45-second solo whistle for the unforgettable opening to “Patience,” which made No. 8 on the list. The wistful track marks another ‘80s power ballad about a troubled relationship and was written by GNR co-founders Izzy Stradlin and Rose. Former GNR drummer Steven Adler praised his time with the band by calling it a “very wonderful, magical time in my life.”
Two iconic rockers teamed up on the No. 7 pick with Ozzy Osbourne and the First Lady of Rock Guitar Lita Ford’s indelible duet of “Close My Eyes Forever" from Ford’s third studio album Lita. The smoldering song, which contemplates the future of a relationship, peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and arguably remains one of the best rock duets of all time.
Lots of big, power rock ballads convey longing and none does it better than Foreigner’s signature song “I Want to Know What Love Is” from their fifth studio album Agent Provocateur. The song topped the charts in both the U.S. and the UK and Billboard ranked it as the No. 4 Hot 100 song of 1985. It’s slow, bluesy and front man Mick Jones’s desperate plea “I want to know what love is and I want you to show me” is heart-piercing.
Aerosmith fans everywhere might be hard-pressed to find any power rock ballad that tops Steven Tyler’s 1973 chart-topping masterpiece “Dream On.” But, this ranking is for ‘80s songs, which renders the track ineligible. The American rockers forged a sweet comeback with this epic ballad that was co-written by Tyler and hit-maker songwriting collaborator Desmond Child. Tyler’s huge fan base fiercely embraced the song and the track quickly climbed to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The No. 4 pick racked up a lot of miles in listeners’ hearts with Steve Perry’s earnest pledge “I’m forever yours … Faithfully.” The song notably doesn’t have a chorus – but, this doesn’t keep fans from belting out every word at a live Journey show. Life on the road is lonely for a rock band and nobody crooned about it better than Perry. The No. 3 song talked about another type of “motorin’” and that was during the chorus for Night Ranger’s signature hit “Sister Christian.” It was notably written and sung by the band’s drummer Kelly Keagy, for his sister. It caught fire with the fans and became Night Ranger’s biggest hit.
Bonus Tracks/Notable Misses
The bonus track section of the countdown pays homage to great hits that should make the cut if the list was longer. Warrant’s “Heaven” and “When I See You Smile” by Bad English were mentioned. Journey fans may argue “Open Arms” should have taken “Faithfully’s” spot, “Beth” by Kiss should have been honored and what about Bon Jovi’s 1989 No. 1 hit “I’ll Be There For You?” Where was the Bon Jovi love?
Fans count down “The Top Ten Revealed” list each week so be sure to follow @AXSTV on Twitter and Facebook to cast your vote. Last week, Songs Named After Women were ranked. Katie Daryl and “The Top Ten Revealed” experts will return next week on March 11 at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT, only on AXS TV to count down Vietnam Era Songs.
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