Skip to main content

25 Best 80s And 90s Power Ballads For Your Wedding Playlist

06 May 2017

Perhaps this blog post will inspire wedding planners and coordinators all around Charleston to supply a bunch of Bic lighters for folks to hold up at their tables or even during send-off while they listen, especially after you take a look at this list of songs I am about to show you. Power ballads, which have their early roots back to the late 70s became more mainstream during the 80s and 90s. They were songs that conjured up feelings of love and loss, but for the sake of this blog post and since wedding receptions are meant to be positive, we shall look at this list of songs that make us go "ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh" and think about love. Don't think these songs are too out of the norm to be played at your wedding. As one of the top wedding DJs in Charleston, I can tell you that modern brides and grooms are still crazy about their 80s and 90s music. Allow this list to serve as a trigger of more ideas for songs you might want to hear. Remember, more and more brides and grooms are looking for their weddings to sound different from all the others they have been to in recent years.

WARNING. You should listen to this playlist at your own risk. Odds are you will not make it through all 25 songs without thinking about going back to the 80s and 90s.  I can feel your pain. Having grown up in this era, I can tell you we might not see an era like this ever again.  You may now proceed with caution. :)

You Can Download All These Power Ballads RIGHT NOW From My Spotify.
One thing we did not have back in 1989 or 1990 was Spotify. If you were trying to get a hold of these songs  back then, you were heading to a record store to pick up a 45 or a cassette tape.  But, now all these years later through the power of technology and my great imagination as one of the best wedding DJs in Charleston, you can download this playlist right into your smartphone or tablet.  When you go to Spotify, just look for my profile by searching for DJ Mike Bills.  As I mentioned up above, when listening to this playlist, you'll want to have that BIC lighter handy. Enjoy!  

"More Than Words" | Extreme
This early 90s ballad was said to have ruined the hard-rocking career of Extreme and make them look less "hard rock", but don't let that discourage you from adding this gem to your wedding playlist.  The song was released in the spring of 1991 and would become one of the biggest songs of the year peaking at #1 on the Hot 100 chart.

 "I Don't Want To Live Without You" | Foreigner
From their hard-rocking 70s to their softer 80s hits like this, Foreigner may have gotten softer, but they captured so many hearts with other songs like "I Wanna Know What Love Is" and "Waiting For A Girl Like You".  "I Don't Want To Live Without You" was the second song to be released from their 1987 album Inside Information and would become a #1 song on the adult contemporary chart in the spring of 1988. You can also find this song on one of the most popular posts on my blog, which features the Most Popular Soft Rock Songs Of The 80s For Your Wedding

"More Than Words Can Say" | Alias
 Formed by ex-Heart members Steve Fossen, Roger Fisher, and drummer Mike Derossier, Alias also included members of the band Sheriff. The song reached #1 in Canada as well as #2 in America. Just add it onto your wedding playlist  and exhale "ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh".

"The Flame" | Cheap Trick
A beautiful track from the summer of 1988, Cheap Trick knocked it out of the park with this one. An incredibly romantic song that is sure to wow your guests at your wedding over at the Daniel Island Club or downtown at the William Aiken House.  "The Flame" would reach the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts back in July 1988 and would be the only time that Cheap Trick would have a Number 1 song.

"Amanda" | Boston
 All brides that are into their 80s power ballads should put this song on their playlist, but your name doesn't have to be "Amanda" to appreciate this song, although I think all beautiful brides in Charleston should think adding this gem from 1986 to their wedding playlist. Brad Delp, who was the lead singer of Boston would pass away in 2007. He had that unmistakable voice on all of Boston's greatest hits.  "Amanda" would be Boston's only #1 song in the fall of 1986.

Boston Power Ballads
Boston | Photo Credit Getty Images

"I'll Be There For You" | Bon Jovi
Come on. The title of this song says it all, and with lyrics like this, "I'll be there for you, these five words I swear you....", I'm not sure you can go wrong if you are interested in adding some power ballads from the 80s into your playlist. After all, you are getting married and will be spending the rest of your lives together. What a great song as you promise to be there for each other forever. You can find "I'll Be There For You" on Bon Jovi's album New Jersey released in 1988. This song was the third song to break onto radio. Released in the spring of 1989, the song would hit #1 on the Hot 100 charts.

"Heaven" | Warrant
Warrant was a classic example of an 80s rock band who did their justice and released their rock singles like "Down Boys" and "Cherry Pie", but captivated the hearts of the ladies when songs like "Heaven" hit the radio.  "Heaven" was a smash hit in the summer of 1989, reaching all the way to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

"When I See You Smile" | Bad English
For those of you who may not know, Bad English was a super group formed in the late 80s by John Waite, and members of Journey (Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain). This is a wonderful power ballad that I received a lot of requests for when I worked in radio.  I think you should  add it to your wedding playlist. After all, it's your wedding day and everyone would like to see that beautiful smile of yours. If I sound like a broken record for talking about another power ballad from 1989, my apologies. 1989 was the one of the peak years for power ballads and Bad English would score their only #1 with this song.

"Is This Love" | Whitesnake
Of course "it's love".  It's your wedding day and you are the most beautiful bride and he is the most handsome groom. David Coverdale and Whitesnake. Add it to the 80s category of your wedding playlist and don't look back!  Released back in 1987, "Is This Love" would peak at Number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

"Open Arms" | Journey
Journey just got inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame for songs like this. Journey's body of work as it pertains to power ballads is great, especially when you write and release the #1 Power Ballad Of All Time, according to a VH1 poll. The unmistakable voice and vocal range of Steve Perry probably was the soundtrack for lots of proposals. You'll want to add this song into your playlist, and you can put it right next to "Don't Stop Believin", which your wedding DJ may play toward the end of the night. 

"Sister Christian" | Night Ranger
Back when this song was released, I was not at the high school age. I was about 10 years old, getting ready to turn 11. But I do remember my sisters, who were older than me in high school listening to this song.  Night Ranger would score a Top 5 hit on the Hot 100 with "Sister Christian" would put the song on it's list of 100 Greatest songs of the 80s.

"Never Tear Us Apart" | INXS
Another great 80s power ballad to add into your playlist. Remember that connection that you and your fiance had when you first met and got you to this point? This is a great song to describe that connection between the two of you. Add it into your playlist. 

80s power ballads charleston1

"I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" | Aerosmith
It seems like it was just yesterday that it was the summer of 1998 and everyone was talking about the release of the movie Armegeddon.  Aerosmith would score their first Number 1 on the Hot 100 chart for four weeks back in September of 1998.

"To Be With You" | Mr. Big
It's just my humble opinion, but there are some songs that have come out over the years that may come across as a bit cheesy, but in the same sentence could also be romantic.  "To Be With You" was released just before Christmas in 1991, and would become another power ballad making it all the way to Number 1 on the Hot 100 in 1992.  

"When I'm With You" | Sheriff
Originally released in 1983, the song only managed a #61 positon on the Hot 100. Back in the fall of 1988, there were program directors in Minneapolis and Milwaukee who began to play the song.  The song would become Number 1 in America by February 1989. Listen to the end of the song and see if you can hold that note longer than 19 seconds.

"Silent Lucidity" | Queensryche
Who knew a song about "dreaming" would show up in a list of power ballads? But hey, this mammoth hit from 1991 fits and you know you want to add it into your playlist. Released in February of 1991, "Silent Lucidity" would make it all the way to #1 on the Mainstream Rock chart. For more incredible music from 1991 on your wedding playlist, click the preceding link.

"Carrie" | Europe
Just like I mentioned above with "Amanda", you don't need to be a beautiful bride named "Carrie" to add this into your playlist.  There was something about the 80s that caused the hairbands to spotlight one pretty girls name, and this is no exception. And if your name was Carrie and you went to this band' show, it was a nice you would never forget and you'd smiling all the way home to call your BF.  "Carrie" would peak at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and if you are looking for a send-off song, I have actually seen couples use "The Final Countdown" by Europe. Just another idea for ya.

"These Dreams" | Heart
80s Heart was writing some wonderful power ballads like this song.  If you asked me to pick another great power ballad from Heart in the 80s, it would be my favorite 80s Heart song "Alone".  I would put it on this list but it's actually on my 80s Soft Rock post.  "These Dreams" would peak at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and adult contemporary chart in 1986.

"Love Of A Lifetime" | Firehouse
"Love Of A Lifetime" shows up on my 1991 : Best Music Of The 90s post. Released back in one of the best summer's of music in the 90s, "Love Of A Lifetime" would become a Top 5 hit on the Hot 100 chart.

"The Search Is Over" | Survivor
This wonderful power ballad of the 80s was on the album "Vital Signs" released in 1984. The album featured other Survivor hits "High On You" and "I Can't Hold Back". Released in the summer of 1985, this song would peak at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.

"Wind Of Change" | The Scorpions
Hearing this song reminds me of the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.  The song was released in January of 1991 and would peak at #4 in the summer on the Hot 100. "Wind Of Change" would become one of the biggest selling singles of all time.

"Home Sweet Home" | Motley Crue
Originally released in 1985 from their Theatre Of Pain album, the song would be released in 1991 for a compilation record and break into the Top 40 on the Hot 100 chart.

"Forever" | KISS
Being a KISS fan, it was exciting to turn the radio on at the beginning of 1990 to hear this song all over the radio. Michael Bolton assisted KISS lead singer Paul Stanley with writing this ballad and the band would peak at #8 on the Hot 100 chart.

"Heaven In Your Eyes" | Loverboy
When you listen to this song, you'll probably want to try to find the movie Top Gun on Netflix. You can find this gorgeous power ballad on the Top Gun soundtrack. "Heaven In Your Eyes" would peak at #12 in the summer of 1986.

"Love Is On The Way" | Saigon Kick
I don't know much Saigon Kick, other than they are from Miami and that they had a hit in 1992 with this power ballad. The song would peak at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Interested In Hiring Mike To Be Your Wedding DJ?
Wow. Those were some killer songs. Publishing this post gave me quite the flashback to my youth where there were no blogs to write. Perhaps this post will be just what it needed to get the juices flowing in regards to the creation of your wedding playlist. There are plenty of power ballads that I did not list on this blog post. My goal was to pick some of the best power ballads that talking about "love", rather "loss" seeing this is your wedding day we are talking about here. Please do not be scared to be "different" when playing the music  for your wedding reception. Throw a few of these songs into the mix. Thank you for making it to the end of this post. It really means a lot!  Did you just recently get engaged and are in the hunt for the perfect DJ for your Charleston wedding? Click this link to tell me a little more about your big day. If you are local, I'd love to go grab a coffee with you and I would love to be the DJ your wedding ceremony and reception.