Skip to main content

The Vinyl Countdown: Best Classic Rock Ballads

Pink Floyd is a fantastic rock band.

Pink Floyd is a fantastic rock band.

Classic Rock Ballads

Continuing with February's theme of love, this week we counted down the best classic rock ballads. Get ready for a mushy gushy paradise with The Vinyl Countdown!

25. "Still Loving You" by Scorpions

This song took six years to get onto a record, and shot to #1 in France - where it allegedly started a baby boom in 1985.

24. "Amanda" by Boston

Boston's first single after a 7 year hiatus, this was surprisingly their only #1 hit. It was about Brad Delp telling his girl he loved her for the first time. Aww.

23. "Love of My Life" by Queen

This song was written, sung, and played by Freddie Mercury. It was a huge hit in South America, and was also a big sing-along at concerts.

Guns N Roses are regarded as one of the best rock bands of all time.

Guns N Roses are regarded as one of the best rock bands of all time.

22. "Patience" by Guns N Roses

Played using three acoustic guitars and recorded in a single session, "Patience" hit #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1989. It made it okay for rockers to show their soft side.

21. "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd

Not entirely a true ballad, this song refers to Syd Barret - founding member of Floyd - and his schizophrenic fall from reality. Syd's friends would allegedly lace his coffee with LSD, which led to his mental breakdown.

20. "Feel Like Makin' Love" by Bad Company

This supergroup released this song back in 1975, and VH1 voted it the #78 best hard rock song of all time. Score for sexual tension!

Is this the 80's? Yes, very much.

Is this the 80's? Yes, very much.

19. "Is This Love?" by Whitesnake

This song was originally written for Tina Turner, but ended up being one of Whitesnake's biggest hits.

18. "We've Got Tonight" by Bob Seger

This song was a hit single for Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, charting on the Hot 100 in the US and charting twice in the UK.

Watching your ex-girlfriend go downhill? This is the song for you!

Watching your ex-girlfriend go downhill? This is the song for you!

17. "Drive" by The Cars

Somehow beating out "My Best Friend's Girl" on the charts, this was The Cars most successful single in the US. Bassist Ben Orr sang lead on this song, about watching an ex girlfriend go downhill.

16. "Babe" by Styx

Written as a birthday present to his wife, Dennis DeYoung led the band to their first and last #1 hit with "Babe."

15. "She's Got a Way" by Billy Joel

Billy Joel thought this song was "cornball" for years, and even had trouble singing it - until he embraced his corny side, agreeing that everyone has one.

REO Speedwagon is a classic band.

REO Speedwagon is a classic band.

14. "Keep On Loving You" by REO Speedwagon

In sissy fashion, lead singer Kevin Cronin wrote this to his wife after finding out that she was cheating on him. He'd still love her, which is probably a bad idea.

13. "Something" by The Beatles

George Harrison wrote this and gave it to Joe Cocker, who failed to release it until after The Beatles did. It's one of the best Beatle love songs ever, as voted by you guys!

Elton John is a staple in rock culture.

Elton John is a staple in rock culture.

12. "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John

Bernie Taupin, John's writing partner, wrote this song after travelling in America. Many people think John says, "Hold me closer, Tony Danza." I promise he's not saying that!

11. "Rosanna" by Toto

David Paich of Toto said of this song, "Rosanna is about three girls that I knew all rolled into one. After I met Rosanna Arquette, I think I just stole her name and stuck it on there."

10. "Beth" by KISS

Peter Criss and Stan Penridge came up with this song before KISS, in the days of Chelsea. It was originally called Beck, and was about the wife of their guitarist.

9. "Silly Love Songs" by Paul McCartney and Wings

As a response to John Lennon, who said Paul only wrote "silly love songs," Paul says, "The fact is, deep down, people are very sentimental. If they watch a sentimental movie at home, they cry, but in public they won't. We don't like to show our emotions; we tend to sneer at that. And in the same way, people may not admit to liking love songs, but that's what they seem to crave."

8. "Don't You (Forget About Me)" by Simple Minds

This is one of those songs that everyone knows - it was featured in The Breakfast Club, and still gets a crazy amount of radio play.

Back with your ex-girlfriend for only one night? This is the song for you!

Back with your ex-girlfriend for only one night? This is the song for you!

7. "I Just Died (In Your Arms Tonight)" by Cutting Crew

Based on a real relationship, this song was inspired after Cutting Crew's lead singer got back together with his girlfriend for a night - after a year of being apart.

6. "Open Arms" by Journey

This song is off of the band's 1981 album Escape. It quickly became one of the band's most recognizable songs, and was their biggest Billboard hit.

It's true that every rose does have its torn.

It's true that every rose does have its torn.

5. "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" by Poison

For some reason, this song was #1 for three weeks. It was about Bret Michaels' failed affair with Tracy Lewis. I hate Poison, that is all.

4. "More Than a Feeling" by Boston

This song was Boston's first single. When they tried to get their first album produced, nobody would do it - so they did it on their own and became mega stars. Take that, record labels.

Are you hot enough to play with Journey?

Are you hot enough to play with Journey?

3. "Faithfully" by Journey

Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain wrote this to his wife. It's about being on the road and managing to have a wife back home. Sadly, they divorced several years later.

2. "I Want to Know What Love Is" by Foreigner

This song initially was on more of a personal level with the writer, Mick Jones, but eventually it hit more of a spiritual level. It began to take meaning not just in relationships, but in life as a whole.

1. "Somebody To Love" by Queen

Apparently Freddie Mercury's favorite song he's ever written, this song has been featured in many a show - including Ella Enchanted, Glee, and that one penguin movie, Happy Feet. At the end of the day, nobody can do it better than Freddie. Stop trying!


Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on February 27, 2014:

Yeah, GnR is getting old! Billy is a bit underrated i think, at least with my listeners who voted. I'm not sure Piano Man or Stranger are ballads though, they're not really love songs!

EDIT - Piano Man could actually be one, I guess it depends on the definition you use. I was looking at more of a sentimental/romantic style rather than narrative style. Thanks for pointing it out!

mts1098 on February 27, 2014:

Interesting...I never thought of Gun n Roses as classic rock but Sweet Child of Mine is a great song...I kept saying to myself, as I read your list, "Where is Foreigner?" - then bam! BJ should be higher but I would have though Piano Man or Stranger would be a higher rank...Great list here...cheers