With a total of 12 studio albums, two “live,” albums and two greatest hits albums, it’s hard to believe that Eddie would hate any of his efforts. Finding out years later in interviews and first accounts over the years is pretty crazy. It was the process of making one of the Van Halen albums that made Eddie Van Halen not so happy.
Eddie had a problem with Van Halen’s “Diver Down” album. The album had huge success with cover classics by the Kinks and Martha Reeves. The only highlight was on a cover song, “Big Bad Bill (is Sweet William Now).” That features Eddie and his brother’s father on clarinet. Eddie had the feeling he was losing control of the band. I saw a big change in the band coming off the heals of the band’s “Fair Warning” album, which was much a Halen’s streak of albums with David Lee Roth and as close to perfect as you can get for the very beginnings of what would become hair metal heavier in the song track listings.
Released in 1982, “Diver Down” peaked at #3 on the album charts. It sold 4 million copies. Out of the 12 songs, five of them were cover songs, making Eddie not very happy. Maybe the album cover was a metaphor for something going on with the band. I don’t know, but I feel it was becoming the David Lee Roth show and the guys in the suits at the record company. In my opinion, this is a case of checkers selling more than chess because “Diver Down” isn’t half as good as “Fair Warning.”
For the very beginnings of what would become hair metal, Van Halen's streak of albums with David Lee Roth are as close to perfect as you can get.
50 Best Power Ballads of All Time
Power ballads: They’re some of music’s most powerful expressions, and while their popularity exploded in the ‘80s, they can be found in multiple decades as is evident in our list.
According to Cambridge University Press’ academic journal Popular Music, “The power ballad has become a mainstay of popular music since the 1970s…The songs are defined by the use of both a musical formula based on constant escalation and an expressive formula that combines the euphoric uplift created by rousing music with sentimental themes and ploys.”
The journal further notes, “Contrary to views that power ballads first appeared in 1980s rock and are primarily rock numbers, the songs emerged in the 1970s pop recordings of Barry Manilow and others, and from early on crossed genre lines, including pop, rock and R&B…The songs are part of a shift toward more effusive and demonstrative styles of ballads underway since the 1960s. In addition, the emotional excesses of the power ballad fit into a larger change in the expressive tone of works across different popular culture media. With those works, emotions are to be large, ecstatic and immediate.”
With the above explainer in mind, our list of the 50 Best Power Ballads list below might include some surprising songs as well as the massive tunes you’d expect to see on this list.
There’s one other parameter that was set for this list: Bands/artists will only be represented by one song to provide for fun variety. However, solo tracks and band recordings count as two separate entry, which means certain musician might show up more than once on this list.
Without further ado, bust out your lighters and enjoy our list of the 50 Best Power Ballads!