There’s plenty of debate as to the “original” power ballad — this Wikipedia entry even traces it back to a Carpenters song! — but when it comes to the ultimate power ballad, the apex of the songform, I’m not sure you could do much better than Def Leppard’s “Love Bites” (download). I mean, seriously, you guys. Seriously.
I was never bitten too hard by the Lep bug, but in the summer of ’88, I still went to see them in concert, and it was, in highfalutin criticspeak, fuckin’ rad. And listen, if you think you’re too good for this band’s incredible late ’80s peak, do yourself a favor and catch an airing of the Classic Albums documentary for Hysteria on VH1 Classic some night. This all reminds me that I’ve been meaning to buy the deluxe Hysteria remaster. I think I’ll go do that now: