I love me a good rock ballad.
I had my iPod set to shuffle all my songs yesterday to provide a good assortment of tunes while I went for a run. One of the first songs that popped up wasn't exactly one that got my feet pounding and my heart thumping, but it did take me back to middle school: "Never Say Goodbye." That song was the theme song for our spring dance in 8th grade, and when I hear it I can see all of us pairing up in the darkened cafeteria and holding our arms awkwardly around the neck or waist of some member of the opposite sex, because who wanted to be the wallflower for the last song of the dance, for the song whose title graced all the hand-drawn posters advertising the last big hoo-rah of middle school?
A few songs later, Cinderella's "Don't Know What You Got 'Til It's Gone" came on, followed by "More Than Words", and I was seriously starting to wonder if my 'Pod was going to hit me with every song I've ever slow-danced to at a school dance. If INXS's "Never Tear Us Apart" had made an appearance, I just might have melted into a puddle of nostalgic goo on the sidewalk.
The late '80s and early 90s were a pretty spectacular era for the power ballad. No matter the occasion, there was always a suitable top-40 hit to serve as the slow-dance theme song. 1992 is around the time I think this trend died, because our senior class chose "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday" by Boyz II Men as our class song, and I died inside a little, because I had really wanted to dig "Never Say Goodbye" out of the dustbin and have that be the song. I never got over Bon Jovi, and was so glad as an adult that he made a comeback, even though his live specials do a leeeetle too much of the acoustic-version thing. I never did get Boyz II Men; 1992 is around the time I abandoned pop music for country, which looking back was a pretty sad choice, too, but at least it got me away from the whole boy band thing.
I do so love my rockers, and there's just something about a "rock" band going all soft and doing a big power ballad that makes me melt. Maybe because we all, deep down, want to be the girl the song's about. Let's face it, ladies; most of us like bad boys. And in the 80s, could you get much "badder" than the lead singer of a hair band?
So, talk back to me, readers. What slow-dance classics take you back to your proms and homecomings? Do any of them still make you want to hold your sweetie around the waist, sway more or less in time to the music, and steal a kiss when your favorite chaperoning English teacher has wandered off to the concession stand?