Being someone that grew up around hair metal, Swedish death metal and various musical concoctions throughout my time, I feel I’m overqualified to discuss ballads written throughout the last 40 years. Did Metallica make the cut? Where is Savatage on this list? Sit down, get ready to Google these titles and take yourself back to an era when music didn’t suck (thanks for that last part, Dee).
When compiling the greatest metal ballads of all time, several factors were put into play:
- How closely related to love and relationships these ballads managed to remain;
- The likelihood someone would’ve committed suicide listening to the songs (which is why Kix didn’t make the cut);
- How ‘evergreen’ the message is (could your 13 year old find meaning in 2014?).
Where the groups are from, and other irrelevant demographics, were left off the table. Without any further delays, here’s the list:
#6: Savatage – Crying For Love
Forming a band within a skating rink (Astro Skate) is interesting already, so it makes sense that Florida-born Savatage needed zero cowbell to make their 1986 hit Crying for Love successful among teenagers and adults alike. Although it received far fewer radio minutes than ‘Edge of Thorns‘, it’s my personal belief the sounds and meaning are far deeper than the staple song of Savatage’s being. Although they officially disbanded in 2002, every note strikes your heart strings right when you need them to the most – even 28 years later.
#5: Blue Murder – Out of Love
Leaving Jelly Roll off this list was difficult; however, the edge goes to Out of Love for originality and thoughtfulness. You shouldn’t use this song to lure an ex-girlfriend into the boudoir, however it’s definitely descriptive enough to explain why someone else other than her was in said boudoir, garnering a much needed apology and closure for you both. John Sykes, who briefly riffed for Tygers of Pan Tang, Whitesnake and Thin Lizzy, creatively put together this and several other metal ballads and is currently enjoying a semi-successful solo career.
#4: Van Halen – Not Enough
Do you become an instant waterfall of emotions when you hear that one song that grabs your inner child and loves it deeply? You’d definitely be a candidate for Not Enough, perhaps the best love song Van Halen jammed out (albeit one of maybe 2). Off their ‘Balance’ album, a nice mixture of slowness and loudness accentuates the many angles which love takes on. We’d be lying if we didn’t bang someone at least once to this song, right fellas? Ok, maybe not. Nonetheless, the Cabo Wabo king deserves some props for this tune.
#3: Warlock – Fur Immer
Doro Pesch is the secret goddess of love – she doesn’t know it. Probably never will. If you can imagine Warlock – best known for ‘All we Are‘ – digging deep into some celestial vortex to pull love out of Cupid’s ass while holding your hand, you’ll have Fur Immer memorized in no time. Doro has numerous metal riffs under her belt, yet really struck emotional chords with fans when this song was rolled out in 1982.
#2: Gorky Park – Try to Find Me
Being the only Russian band to make our cut (not like many existed anyway) is an exceptional feat. Naming this band was rather simple, actually – Maxim Gorky founded the famed Moscow amusement park ‘Gorky Park’, hence the band’s name was born. The only ballad off their self-titled album, Try to Find Me is your quintessential ‘hey, I cannot find you, I think I’ll just sing about the fact‘ song, although the melodic overtones are a pleasant surprise from a band that gained international fame with ‘Bang‘.
#1: Great White – Save all Your Love
So, you doubted me? You already know this song is probably the most powerful metal ballad every conducted, in studio or arena. Hey, they may have been ‘Wasted Rock Rangers’, once begged a damsel with an AWOL boyfriend to ‘Rock Me’ and have been jaded enough to be ‘Once Bitten, Twice Shy’, but this song easily has all elements love songs should: harmony, minimal heaviness, and a problem that clearly provides only one solution to fix.