In the 1980s, a band couldn’t truly say that they had “made it” until they had a massive, over-the-top, epic, tear-jerking power ballad. It was a trend that dates back to KISS having the biggest hit of their career with the accidental chart-topper “Beth” in 1977. Be it Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home” or Cinderella’s “Don’t Know What You’ve Got (Till It’s Gone), the decade was one giant game of balladry one-upmanship. By the time hair metal burned itself out at the dawn of the 90s, there were bands that seemed to deal in nothing but ballads (Firehouse, Warrant, Trixter, et al…).
There is, however, one song that stands out to me as the apex of this movement. Veteran German metal band Scorpions were equally adept at bone-crushing rock and roll and ballads that could make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. This week’s Massive Metal Monday song is one of the latter moments. Here, with the most bitchin’ ballad of the day, is Scorpions with “Still Loving You” from their massively successful 1984 album Love At First Sting.
When I was growing up in rural Indiana in the early ’80s, there was very limited access to heavy music. These were the days before MTV blew up with the whole hair metal, Headbangers Ball phenomenon. But on Sunday nights, there was a two-hour radio show that came from WOXY, just across the state line in Oxford, Ohio (home of Miami University of Ohio). It was called Massive Metal for the Masses and I would wait all week for it to air. It was through this show that I was introduced to bands like Venom, Bathory, WASP, Michael Schenker Group, Slayer, and countless others. This Monday weekly column is my tip of the hat to that show. I call it Massive Metal Monday. Every week, I will pay tribute to defining moments by the artists that laid the groundwork for heavy metal to become the worldwide cultural bond for all of us metal heads.