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100 Best Slow Rock Songs of the ‘80s and ‘90s

Slow rock is an umbrella term used to describe a variety of slow-tempo rock songs such as rock ballads, acoustic rock ballads, power ballads, hard rock ballads, and rock love songs.

Slow rock is an umbrella term used to describe a variety of slow-tempo rock songs such as rock ballads, acoustic rock ballads, power ballads, hard rock ballads, and rock love songs.

The hard rock movement took shape in the late ‘60s as bands from various rock genres started experimenting with sound. By the mid '70s, hard rock started being associated with mainstream rock and since evolved a great deal. The ‘80s took the slow rock movement to new heights. Although few bands drifted from their roots and adopted a pop rock sound, a large number of bands inspired by blues rock of the ‘60s emerged with an ‘epic’ hard rock sound infused with balladry.

What Is Slow Rock?

Slow rock is an umbrella term used to describe a variety of slow-tempo rock songs such as rock ballads, acoustic rock ballads, power ballads, hard rock ballads, and rock love songs. Typically, slow rock songs have a slow beat accompanied with melodic instrumentation and vocals. Although the slow rock movement is referenced in every decade of rock music, the association of the term is significant with AOR bands and melodic rock bands of the ‘80s and ‘90s.

Melodic Hard Rock of the ‘80s

The ‘80s is considered by many as the definitive decade of melodic hard rock. Melodic rock ballads and power ballads became an integral part of hard rock in this decade. Thanks to the music scene, the shred genre gained significant momentum in the 80s. A number of guitar players from hard rock and heavy metal bands showcased their exemplary shred guitar techniques on solo albums. The hard rock sound of the '80s gave ‘epic’ new meaning. The genre spread its reach globally in this decade of lipstick and leather. Emotive ballads became the signature sound of many melodic rock bands of the '80s.


Rock Ballads and the AOR Scene in the ‘80s and ‘90s

Many bands in the glam metal scene started being associated with hard rock and few among the many achieved tremendous commercial success with their music. The slow rock love songs trend peaked in the ‘80s as the AOR scene grew rapidly and became an entity of its own. Many hard rock bands started including ballads in their songs. The emotive power ballads and rock ballads of the ‘80s and ‘90s define the era of melodic hard rock.

Hard rock bands became the staple of heavy metal enthusiasts in these decades. Melodic rock bands and AOR bands have had a cult following in Japan since the ‘80s. A number of hard rock bands tour Japan rather frequently. Although a number of hair bands faded away with the grunge onslaught in the ‘90s, certain bands associated with the genre diversified their sound towards an alternative style that appealed to the rock community.


How Slow Rock Compilations Gained Prominence in the ‘80s and ‘90s

Bands from the US and Europe dominated the hard rock scene in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. In the mid '80s, few major AOR bands shifted focus on a softer sound in the realms of hard rock thereby reaching a wider audience globally. Melodic rock grew in popularity in the ‘80s with many bands from Europe leading the brigade with their signature sound. Slow rock love songs and soft rock songs started being identified with the AOR bands, arena rock bands and hair metal bands of the ‘80s. Record companies were quick to cash in by releasing slow rock collections, greatest hits collections, soft rock collections, power ballads collections’ best of collections’ ‘acoustic rock ballads collections’ and ‘hair ballads collections’ of rock bands in the hard rock genre.


Rock Love Songs in the ‘80s and ‘90s

Hard rock ballads, power ballads and slow rock songs become excessively popular at concerts in the ‘80s and ‘90s. At live shows, hard rock bands performed their ballads and rock love songs to crowds holding up lit lighters, a symbolic gesture used for emotive songs. Prom nights in the ‘80s and ‘90s started being associated with memorable power ballads and rock ballads. While the hair metal scene died out to a whiplash of grunge and alternative in the ‘90s, the AOR scene continued to stir hearts.

Top 10 Best Slow Rock Songs of the ‘80s and ‘90s

  1. “I Remember You”—Skid Row
  2. “Is This Love”—Whitesnake
  3. “Silent Lucidity”—Queensryche
  4. “Every Rose has It’s Thorn”—Poison
  5. “Heaven”—Bryan Adams
  6. “Open Arms”—Journey
  7. “I Want To Know What Love Is”—Foreigner
  8. “November Rain”—Guns N’ Roses
  9. “The Unforgiven”—Metallica
  10. “Miles Away”—Winger


11. “Amanda”—Boston

12. “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing”—Aerosmith

13. “Heaven”—Warrant

14. “I’ll Never Let You Go (Angel Eyes)”—Steelheart

15. “Headed For a Heartbreak”—Winger

16. “Still Loving You”—Scorpions

17. “Don’t Close Your Eyes”—Kix

18. “Nothing Else Matters”—Metallica

19. “Faithfully”—Journey

20. “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You”—Bryan Adams


21. “Waiting for a Girl Like You”—Foreigner

22. “Don’t Know What You Got (Til It’s Gone)”—Cinderella

23. “More Than Words”—Extreme

24. “I Live My Life For You”—Firehouse

25. “Carrie”—Europe

26. “Forever”—Kiss

27. “Can’t Fight This Feeling”—REO Speedwagon

28. “The Flame”—Cheap Trick

29. “Don’t Cry”—Guns N’ Roses

30. “Love Bites”—Def Leppard

31. “Africa”—Toto

32. “More Than Words Can Say”—Alias

33. “Send Me an Angel”—Scorpions

34. “Fly To the Angels”—Slaughter

35. “When I See You Smile”—Bad English

36. “Love of a Lifetime”—Firehouse

37. “Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?”—Bryan Adams

38. “Rosanna”—Toto

39. “I’ll Be There For You”—Bon Jovi

40. “Harden My Heart”—Quarterflash


41. “Dreamer”—Europe

42. “Broken Wings”—Mr. Mister

43. “Love Song”—Tesla

44. “Always”—Bon Jovi

45. “Ballad of Jayne”—L.A. Guns

46. “I Still Love You”—Kiss

47. “Love Walked In”—Thunder

48. “Wind of Change”—Scorpions

49. “I Won’t Hold You Back”—Toto

50. “Love Is On the Way”—Saigon Kick

51. “When the Children Cry”—White Lion

52. “Keep On Loving You”—REO Speedwagon

53. “Please Forgive Me”—Bryan Adams

54. “Goodbye to Romance”—Ozzy Osbourne

55. “When It’s Love”—Van Halen

56. “Shine”—Collective Soul

57. “Big Log”—Robert Plant

58. “Alone Again”—Dokken

59. “Home Sweet Home”—Motley Crue

60. “Never Say Goodbye”—Bon Jovi


61. “Right Here Waiting”—Richard Marx

62. “Almost Paradise”—Mike Reno and Ann Wilson

63. “Mama, I’m Coming Home”—Ozzy Osbourne

64. “High Enough”—Damn Yankees

65. “Iris”—Goo Goo Dolls

66. “Angel”—Aerosmith

67. “The Deeper the Love”—Whitesnake

68. “These Dreams”—Heart

69. “Can’t Stop Loving You”—Van Halen

70. “Every Time I Look At You”—Kiss

71. “Take Me for a Little While”—Coverdale/Page

72. “When I Look Into Your Eyes”—Firehouse

73. “Hurt”—Nine Inch Nails

74. “Fly High Michelle”—Enuff Z’nuff

75. “Sometimes She Cries”—Warrant

76. “In a Darkened Room”—Skid Row

77. “Heaven In Your Eyes”—Loverboy

78. “With Or Without You”—U2

79. “Patience”—Guns N’ Roses

80. “Close My Eyes Forever”—Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford


81. “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes”—Asia

82. “I Love You”—Saigon Kick

83. “Now and Forever”—Richard Marx

84. “Two Steps Behind”—Def Leppard

85. “Bed of Roses”—Bon Jovi

86. “Crazy”—Aersomith

87. “Alone”—Heart

88. “Hysteria”—Def Leppard

89. “Never Tear Us Apart”—Inxs

90. “You’re In Love”—Ratt

91. “This Could Be The Night”—Loverboy

92. “Looking for Love”—Whitesnake

93. “You and I”—Scorpions

94. “Another Day”—Dream Theater

95. “Honestly”—Stryper

96. “Givin’ Yourself Away”—Ratt

97. “She’s Gone”—Steelheart

98. “You’re All I Need”—White Lion

99. “When I’m With You”—Sheriff

100. “Save Your Love”—Great White

Other Notable Slow Rock Songs of the ‘80s and ‘90s

  • “Black Velvet”—Alannah Myles
  • “Without You”—Motley Crue
  • “Price of Love”—Bad English
  • “Still Got the Blues”—Gary Moore
  • “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”—U2
  • “Hard to Say I’m Sorry”—Chicago
  • “Everybody Hurts”—R.E.M.
  • “Disarm”—Smashing Pumpkins
  • “Your Turn”—Heloween
  • “To Be With You”—Mr. Big
  • “Anytime”—MSG
  • “Love Kills”—Vinnie Vincent Invasion
  • “I Still Think About You”—Danger Danger
  • “Take My Breath Away”—Berlin
  • “You’re The Inspiration”—Chicago
  • “I See You in My Dreams”—Giant
  • “Big Love”—Fleetwood Mac
  • “Father of Mine”—Everclear
  • “When Love and Hate Collide”—Def Leppard
  • “Forever Free”—W.A.S.P.
  • “What Love Can Be”—Kingdom Come
  • “Hallelujah”—Jeff Buckley
  • “Take Away My Pain”—Dream Theater
  • “Eyes Without A Face”—Billy Idol
  • “I Hate Kissing You Goodbye”—Tuff
  • “Anybody Listening”—Queensryche
  • “Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone)”—Glass Tiger
  • “House of Pain”—Faster Pussycat
  • “Welcome To Paradise”—John Waite
  • “Amazing”—Aerosmith
  • “Here I Go Again”—Whitesnake
  • “Never Said It Was Gonna Be Easy”—Valentine
  • “Where You Goin’ Now”—Damn Yankees
  • “Burning Heart”—Survivor
  • “Just Take My Heart”—Mr. Big
  • “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)”—Meat Loaf
  • “When You Love A Woman”—Journey
  • “I’ll Cry For You”—Europe
  • “Goodbye”—Night Ranger
  • “Will You Still love Me?”—Chicago
  • “Bird of Paradise”—Snowy White
  • “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad”—Def Leppard
  • “Reason To Live”—Kiss
  • “Too Young To Fall In Love”—Motley Crue
  • “Wait”—White Lion
  • “Don’t Turn Around”—Eyes
  • “Chanel”—Saigon Kick
  • “I’ll Stand By You”—Pretenders
  • “25 Days From Home”—Loudness
  • “Tears Cried in the Rain”—From The Fire
  • “Sara”—Starship
  • “Little Lies”—Fleetwood Mac
  • “Someone Like You”—Bang Tango
  • “End of the Summer Days”—Tyketto
  • “Runaway Train—Soul Asylum
  • “In It For Love”—Richie Sambora
  • “Love Walks In”—Van Halen
  • “(Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection”—Nelson
  • “I Don’t Want To Live Without You”—Sleez Beez
  • “Sentimental Street”—Night Ranger
  • “Tears of a Dragon”—Bruce Dickenson
  • “Love Will Keep Us Alive”—Eagles
  • “One In A Million”—Trixter
  • “I Won’t Forget You”—Poison
  • “How Much Love”—Vixen
  • “Don’t Stop Believin’”—Journey
  • “Days Gone By”—Slaughter
  • “Heat of The Moment”—Asia
  • “The Angel Song”—Great White
  • “Drive”—The Cars
  • “Every Time I Think of You”—FM
  • “In Your Arms”—Little Caesar
  • “Standing Alone”—Tyketto
  • “Don’t Walk Away”—Danger Danger
  • “Oh Sherrie”—Steve Perry
  • “What Keeps Me Loving You”—XYZ
  • “Never Ending Nightmare”—MSG
  • “(I Just) Died In Your Arms”—Cutting Crew
  • “Save the Weak”—Britny Fox
  • “In My Dreams”—Dokken
  • “Goodnight L.A”—Strangeways
  • “The Day I Met You”—Lillian Axe
  • “Captured By The Moment”—Steve Perry
  • “Seventeen”—Winger
  • “House of Pain”—Faster Pussycat
  • “Only Time Will Tell”—Nelson
  • “Too Much Too Young”—Little Angels
  • “Just Between You and Me”—April Wine
  • “Something To Believe In”—Poison
  • “Remember My Name”—House of Lords
  • “New Moon”—Diving For Pearls
  • “Womankind”—Little Angels
  • “Screaming in the Night”—Krokus
  • “Love Is a Killer”—Vixen
  • “Long Way To Love”—Britny Fox
  • “Tears Of Fire”—Keel
  • “When I Find Love”—XYZ
  • “What Does It Take”—Honeymoon Suite
  • “Kayleigh”—Marillion
  • “On The Line”—Tangier

What Do You Think?

Every time we talk about hard rock love songs, hard rock ballads, acoustic rock ballads, hair ballads, and power ballads, it’s the epic ‘80s and ‘90s that come to mind . . . and it sure is going to stay that way.

If you are a fan of rock ballads of the ‘80s and ‘90s, you will have something to talk about. Feel free to comment with your views and opinions below!

© 2017 Ansel Pereira


sikx from winston-salem,nc on September 16, 2019:

yeah, i just took a trip down memory lane....i was there when the ballads were peaking yay me, i know, but i still play The Cult Edie on a daily basis. Its a permanent tune on all my play lists