A (very) short history of the power ballad

I’ve always thought that Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home” (1985) was a great song and the quintessential power ballad that set the template for all the others to follow (Wikipedia seems to think so, so I must be right).

Aah, the power ballad. Some people also credit it for destroying heavy metal, since its radio success ushered in a lot new fans while alienating the old ones. So, thanks a lot Crue.

But are Vince, Tommy and the boys really to blame? Where did the power ballad come from anyway?

Well, Journey’s “Faithfully” was released two years earlier (1983) and is pretty much the same song, thematically: it’s all about life and love and loss and loneliness on the rock and roll road.

But even Journey copied the template from somewhere.

And that leads us to Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet band’s lighter-anthem “Turn the Page.” The 1976 live version is the one most of us remember. With its heavy music and homage to the rock and roll lifestyle and all the loneliness that comes with it, this is the template for the power ballad.

So thanks a lot Bob Seger, you planted the seeds that eventually brought down hair metal.

Well, you and this guy:

KurtCobain

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