Love songs have been at the crux of popular music since its inception. From Shakespearean sonnets to Rodgers and Hammerstein to the Beatles and beyond, it remains the most relatable and universal lyrical motif out there. However, heavy music has had a somewhat bizarre relationship with the concept of the love song over the years.
When Nazareth sang “Love Hurts” in 1974 and Scorpions belted out “Still Loving You” a decade later, it proved that harder rock bands could turn down to play softer, delicate balladry. It’s true: Subdued music and romantic lyrics go together. The power ballad became a staple of hard (and soft) rock radio. It’s music that is meant for Valentine’s Day and tender moments. But it many cases, these songs no longer qualify as heavy in a sonic sense, despite who might be playing them.
For this list, we sought out truly heavy-sounding love songs, following the template laid out by Led Zeppelin’s legendary “Whole Lotta Love,” which is included here alongside songs by Motörhead, Nine Inch Nails, Danzig, and others. You’ll find no power ballads. In fact, the romanticism in these songs is enhanced by the uncompromising musical qualities. Because who said you can’t bang your head and celebrate Valentine’s Day at the same time? Enjoy these heavy odes to love with someone you care about, your best set of speakers, and perhaps a bottle of wine.
— Jon Hadusek,
Senior Staff Writer