What is a rock ballad, anyway? A soulful song with a great solo and unrealistic meaning? Yes, partially, but it can be both fast and slow, quiet and noisy, guitar or electronic. The main thing is that a rock ballad must contain a special spirit, the feeling of which is almost impossible to explain with words. That is why groups that became famous in the 60s-70s made up the basis of this list as they are the “living” carriers of this spirit.
- “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”
“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is indeed a catchy, smart, melodic, driving, yet not so regular song. It doesn’t resemble any other of the Beatles’ songs. Its composer, George Harrison, really made this song stand out, and this is not a surprise, as he is, probably, the wisest of the Liverpool Four, and had always had his own style and approach to songwriting. This song was a living example of his musical and life philosophy, and that’s why people believed it, so “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” conquered the heart of the public, and stays one of the most famous rock ballads to this day.
- “Soldier of Fortune”
This feat with Stormbringer was not typical for Purple; however, it is no less legendary. It was a time of hardships when Hughes-Coverdale took over the leadership and replaced Ian Gillan and Roger Glover. The end result didn’t disappoint anyone, as this gently tenacious song is one of those ballads that made music history. This is the song you play girls for marriage.
- “Love Hurts”
There are rock ballads full of warmth and love in the list too. Being presented in 1961 by Everly Brothers, American rock band, the song, however, became really popular only 15 years later, when Nazareth came up with the cover that is still composition. To this day, many bands and singers make their own covers of the rock ballad, proving that this lyric masterpiece from the Hair of the Dog album will live forever.
- “The House Of The Rising Sun”
The famous “House of the Rising Sun” can hardly be called a refined or inventive song. Its power lies in its simplicity – the broken western-ish rhythm on the simplest guitar chords and the grandiose vocal of Eric Burdon. This strikingly vivid example of raw and life-giving rock is one of the most ancient but also the most famous and enduring rock ballads. If you want, his full business card.
- “Catch the Rainbow”
There aren’t many words here, but everything seems to be clear, and the “man in black” guitar is more than eloquent. The creative union of Dio/Blackmore sounds amazing. No offense to Candace Knight.
- “Wind of Change”
Klaus Meine is a master of creating marvelous ballads. In the late 80s, the group visited Moscow. Meine was so shocked by the changes in the lives of Soviet people and Gorbachev’s activities that he was inspired to create the song “The Wind of Change.”
- “Stairway to Heaven”
When AC/DC fans were heading for Hell, this music band’s followers have chosen the other way. Zeppelin was never a band to translate the clearest and understandable music, but their material was always original and frankly professional. This ballad combined the talent, ability, and creativity of the members, so they came up with something new yet didn’t lose their mystical sound. Once you listen to the song, you will feel this.
- “Behind Blue Eyes”
Probably the strongest individualists in the industry, The Who didn’t mind to write «classical» ballads; they were inventing, experimenting, amazing, and making fall in love with their creations. This masterpiece from the monumental album Who’s next is, however, a real old-school rock ballad with tender vocals and lyric guitar.
- “Nothing Else Matters”
The debuting albums of the iconic rock band were indeed heavy; however, over time, the repertoire of these Americans became deeper in meaning and softer. This led Metallica to compose one of the most famous ballads in 1990, which had phenomenal success among the public. What is more, it caused a new round of popularity of the Metallica band.
- “Wish You Were Here”
This legendary ballad of the legendary group is truly iconic. It was composed in 1975 and entered the top 500 songs compiled by the well-respected magazine Rolling Stone. The song of Roger Waters’s authorship tells about the contradictions tormenting many people on Earth. It vividly expresses the struggle between idealism and egoism. The story is described in such a deep way that there are still debates going about the meaning of some phrases. At first, we can hear the sound of a radio being tuned, and only then, a song plays. It seems that the performers sitting in the car simply play along with the melodies emanating from the radio. An interesting fact: ordinary car receiver was used for recording a ballad.