Any month-long discussion about power balladry would be incomplete without some mention of today’s pack of melodic rockers. Night Ranger did, after all, help bring the power ballad to the MTV masses, what with “Sister Christian” and all; they did it so effectively, in fact, that some of us still can’t listen to “Sister Christian” without retroactively wishing hot death on Martha Quinn and/or Mark Goodman. (J.J. Jackson, however, will always be okay in my book.)

So. No “Sister Christian” today. But even minus that song, Night Ranger’s catalog is riddled with power ballads. The band always knew it existed mostly outside the hard rock Venn diagram, often joking that its music was more “stainless steel” than heavy metal, and perhaps as a result, its power ballads tended to be more agreeable than most.

We focus today on the last three releases of Night Ranger’s major-label career: 1985’s 7 Wishes, 1987’s Big Life and 1988’s Man in Motion. Even as its chart stock plummeted, the band continued to bring the p-ball goodness. Witness: In 1985, p-ball fans were treated to “Goodbye” (download), in which a sparkling web of shittily miked acoustic guitars collides with squealing electrics, big drums, and Kelly Keagy’s earnest vocals. Goodbye, RIAA certifications! Goodbye!

Two years later, the band served up “Hearts Away” (download), which retained the Keagylicious vocals, big guitars, and thundering drums, but Á¢€” this being 1987 and all Á¢€” swapped out the acoustic guitars for a pillowy bed of synths. Dig the faux-baroque bit in the middle!

Finally, for its MCA swan song, the band pulled out all the stops with “I Did It for Love” (download). All bets are off here: Keagy Keagies as he’s never Keagied before over a wall of hideous gated drums, the synths crash and squeedle, the guitars tastefully buzz, and the lyrics smartly presage George Costanza’s “It’s not you, it’s me” speech, still nearly a decade away:

I did it
I did it
I did it for love
Now you wanna know
Why I let you go
I did it for love

They were prophets, really.

About the Author

Jeff Giles

Jeff Giles is the founder and editor-in-chief of Popdose and Dadnabbit, as well as an entertainment writer whose work can be seen at Rotten Tomatoes and a number of other sites. Hey, why not follow him at Twitter while you're at it?

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