Who really invented the power ballad?

Love songs, heartbreak songs and other sentimental pieces of music have existed for centuries. But which rock band really crafted this type of song that has inspired so many others after it? Was it Queen or Journey? Or did the popularity of Motley Crue's "Home Sweet Home" pave the way for a wave of bands to create their own hit ballads?

First, we must define what a power ballad is, and then explore the rock 'n' roll artists that have been associated with it over the years to come up with a true conclusion.

What Is a Power Ballad?

A quick Google search will tell you that a power ballad is "a slow rock song with a strong, emotional vocal delivery and typically a grandiose production." Urban Dictionary, on the other hand, describes a power ballad as "an emotional hard rock/heavy metal song, often with a slow tempo, dramatic sung vocals, and many instruments, including acoustic ones and synthesizers. Power ballads usually start soft, then heaviness builds up with drums and heavy electric guitars."

What Are Some Popular Power Ballads in Rock + Metal?

One of the most well-known power ballads that was incredibly influential within the rock world is one that we mentioned earlier — Motley Crue's "Home Sweet Home." Included on the band's 1985 album Theatre of Pain, "Home Sweet Home" stood out greatly in Crue's catalog of bluesy hard rock tracks, and once it became a smash hit on the radio and MTV, every hair band wanted one of their own. Cue Poison's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," Cinderella's "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)," Whitesnake's "Is This Love," Guns N' Roses' "November Rain" and many more.

Motley Crue, "Home Sweet Home"

But before Motley Crue released "Home Sweet Home," there were plenty of rock artists releasing power ballads, including Scorpions, Journey, REO Speedwagon and more — so the Theatre of Pain anthem couldn't have been the true originator of the power ballad.

READ MORE: 10 Heaviest Bands Who Released a Power Ballad

Furthermore, rock artists weren't the only ones who decided to showcase their softer side in their music once power ballads became popularized. Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters," Pantera's "Cemetery Gates," Ozzy Osbourne's "Mama, I'm Coming Home" and Slipknot's "Snuff" are some examples of power ballads by metal artists.

Who Really Invented the Power Ballad?

That leads us to our initial question — which rock artist is really responsible for "inventing" the power ballad?

According to a few different sources, including Detroit Metro Times, Styx's "Lady" from their 1973 sophomore album Styx II is often regarded as the first true power ballad. The track was written by the group's former vocalist and keyboardist Dennis DeYoung for his wife Suzanne Feusi.

"The hardest thing in the music business to have is your first hit, the hardest. The first song I ever wrote and sang by myself on a record was 'Lady.' I wrote that song for my wife, we'd married in '70, it was '72, I wrote about the things I knew," DeYoung recalled on Decades TV Network.

DeYoung said he'd originally written "Lady" for the band's debut album, but their producer suggested saving it for their second. According to the singer, though, the track wasn't successful when it was first released. It wasn't until Styx put out a few more albums that Jim Smith at Chicago's WLS radio station put "Lady" into its rotation, and it finally hit the charts.

So DeYoung is known as the "father of the power ballad," and the rest is history,

Styx, "Lady"

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