Larry Martino

Larry Martino

Photo from the back of a darkened concert venue. Bright pyrotechnics and lighting on a rock concert stage light up the venue in a reddish-orange glow. Concert-goers are all looking towards the stage.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, thoughts of love naturally enter your mind. Even if you aren’t involved in a relationship at this time, you may end up reminiscing about past romantic encounters. Certainly, when you think of love, you think of music. They seem to go hand in hand. With that in mind, we thought we’d try to find what we think are the five best 80s rock band ballads for Valentine’s Day.

80s Rock Band Ballads: Every Group Has One

Without a doubt, the 1980’s music scene includes so many great rock bands. I just look at the 96.3 KKLZ playlist and see them all. Journey, Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Heart, Poison, and Aerosmith, just to name a few. Not to mention all the great “solo” rockers backed by great bands like Pat Benatar, Bryan Adams, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, and John Mellencamp. I’m sure I’ve even left out one or two of your favorites.

During this great decade of music, it seems like each rock band would include at least one power ballad or rock ballad on each album. Even hard rockers realized that in order to sell more albums, they needed to broaden their appeal beyond teenage boys. Thus, the advent of the 80s rock band ballad. These songs became some of the biggest chart hits of the decade.

Honorable Mentions For These 80s Rockin’ Love Songs

For the purposes of this article, we’re focusing on 80s band rock ballads. Not necessarily power ballads, pop ballads, or R&B ballads. Of course, there are plenty of those to choose from. Furthermore, we’re not going to include great love songs from solo artists. For example, we’re leaving out Bryan Adams’ number one smash, “Heaven.”

Similarly, we’re not including 80s power ballads which refer to lost loves such as “Love Bites” by Def Leppard and “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” by Poison. Great power ballads but they certainly put a downer on a romantic Valentine’s Day date.

These are all tough decisions, and I’m sure you will disagree with our choices. We are basing this “best of” list on Billboard Hot 100 chart success, as well as how much the 96.3 KKLZ audience loves these songs. They are some of our most popular and most requested tunes.

Some notable 80s rock band ballads which deserve honorable mention include: “Angel” by Aerosmith. “Is This Love” by Whitesnake. “Never Say Goodbye” by Bon Jovi. I’m sure we’re omitting one of your favorites. Either way, have a very Happy Valentine’s Day!


  • 5) "I'll Be There For You" - Bon Jovi

    This rockin’ power ballad reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in May 1989. “I’ll Be There For You” is from Bon Jovi’s third studio album, New Jersey. Lead singer Jon Bon Jovi and lead guitarist Richie Sambora co-wrote this song, which became the band’s fourth chart-topper.

  • 4) "Waiting For A Girl Like You" - Foreigner

    Even though this song from the Foreigner album 4 never hit #1, it did set a record. In late 1981 and early 1982, “Waiting For A Girl Like You” spent 10 consecutive weeks in the #2 position on the Billboard Hot 100. That’s a record which still stands today. This love ballad spent the first 9 weeks in the runner-up spot behind Olivia Newton-John’s biggest hit, “Physical,” and then a week looking up at “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” by Daryl Hall and John Oates.

  • 3) "Alone" - Heart

    The Wilson sisters and their band Heart scored their biggest chart hit of all time with the song “Alone.” It spent three weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and ended up ranking as the second best-selling song of 1987. Heart’s version is actually a cover of an original song by the group i-Ten. No, I’ve never heard of them either. Anyway, according to, it was then covered by actors Valerie Stevenson and John Stamos for their short-lived TV series Dreams in 1984. Finally, Heart recorded it for their 1987 album Bad Animals and would receive a Grammy nomination for their work.

  • 2) "Keep On Loving You" - REO Speedwagon

    This rock band from Champaign, Illinois toiled for many years before they finally hit the big time. REO Speedwagon formed in 1967. During the 1970’s, they scored some big rock hits like “Time For Me To Fly” and “Roll With The Changes.” However, they never hit the Billboard Top 40 until they released their 1980 album Hi Infidelity. The rock ballad “Keep On Loving You” not only hit the Top 40, it went all the way to #1. It was the band’s first of two chart-toppers during the 80s, the other being “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” another great rock band ballad.

  • 1) "Open Arms" - Journey

    Believe it or not, with all their great songs, the band Journey never reached the pinnacle of the Billboard Hot 100. However, they sure did get very close in 1982, and they did it with this amazing ballad. “Open Arms” is their most successful chart hit, having spent six weeks in the #2 position on the pop chart behind “Centerfold” from the J. Geils Band, and then “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Many music critics have called “Open Arms” one of the greatest love songs ever written. VH-1 even named it their top power ballad of all time. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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