Joey’s Top 10s: ’80s Love Ballads

These are the songs that make your heart sing uncontrollably.

The number 1 song to play while you drive off to the fighter jets

Courtesy of Paramount

The number 1 song to play while you drive off to the fighter jets


While I definitely was not born in time to experience these songs as they came out, the 1980s delivered some tour-de-force love ballads, and boy do I love them. Some are corny, some are serious, but most of them are anthems that can be belted at the top of your lungs.

  1. “Livin’ On A Prayer” by Bon Jovi

One of the most well-known songs from a legendary ’80s rock band, “Livin’ On A Prayer” tells the story of people scraping by in life and “Livin’ On A Prayer,” because that is all they have left. The song has a really cool guitar effect that features a talk box, which can be heard very prominently at the beginning of the song.

  1. “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” by Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes

Talk about a cheesy ’80s love song, this duet from the movie “Dirty Dancing” is so lovey-dovey and is kind of a guilty pleasure to listen to.

  1. “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman

“Fast Car” feels like the plot of a movie. It tells the story of a young couple tired of living the way they currently live and planning on making a change. Chapman tells an amazingly detailed story, she gives background on the characters they are created and gives them a great voice.

  1. “I’ll Be Over You” by Toto

This song could fit in the yacht rock category, but it works well as a ballad too. “As soon as forever is through, I’ll be over you” is such a heartbreaking line, but is so good. Toto is known for songs like this, “Hold the Line” tells a similar stories.

  1. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” by Poison

I view this song as the internal monologue of a person who knows their relationship is going to end soon. There is a real sense of longing and sadness in this song. The metaphoric title adds to the story that the song tells beautifully.

  1. “Faithfully” by Journey

A few Journey songs could have made this list, but I think “Faithfully” is their best ballad. “Don’t Stop Believing” or “Stone in Love” could have been contenders but this song takes the cake. It details a story of a rockstar who is constantly on the road and missing his partner.

  1. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler

This song is pretty cheesy. The call and response between the two main singers slowly build up to a climax that is so fun and dorky.

  1. “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel

Ah yes, the song played from the boombox in the movie “Say Anything.” This is a really sweet and powerful love song. “I see the light the heat [in your eyes]” is such a great lyric. Peter Gabriel’s voice is perfect for this song, the drum beat and guitar add a great atmosphere.

  1. “When It’s Love” by Van Halen

This is a quintessential power ballad, the song has its moments of slow heartfelt vocal melodies and includes a killer guitar solo by the legendary Eddie Van Halen. I love Van Halen’s transition from harder rock with former lead singer David Lee Roth to their power ballad phase with Sammy Hagar.

  1. “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin

The love theme from the smash hit movie “Top Gun,” the intro synthesizer riff is so cheesy but in the absolute best way possible. This is definitely a slower ballad, but it hits really hard nonetheless. I can just picture the over-done trope of a couple running towards each other on a beach in slow motion while this song plays. Priceless.