Music

The Best Ballads of All Time 

Ranker Music
Updated March 10, 2019 23.3k votes 365 voters 10.7k views 276 items

List Rules Vote up the best ballads from any genre and decade, power ballads included.

Often synonymous with love songs, ballads typically combine stories with music—making for some of the most poetic songs to date. From traditional ballads of old to today's hottest pop ballads, these narratives set to music span a broad range of genres. Regardless of genre, however, the best ballads usually find themselves set to slower accompaniments, telling stories about things like lost love and old friendships. In short, ballads are those tracks we go to when we're down, pondering life, or just need something soft and soothing to calm our troubles. So, love songs or not, what are the best ballads of all time?

Many of the most popular ballads we've come to love today date back hundreds of years, to the point where the origins are almost uncertain. On the other hand, you have more modern takes on the ballad, including songs like "With or Without You" by U2 or Marvin Gaye's ever-sensual "Let's Get It On". Of course, we can't forget those favorite ballads that stray from the common love-infused lyrics, such as Pink Floyd's tribute to Syd Barrett, "Wish You Were Here", among plenty of others you can find on the list of top ballads below.

Now, the question remains: what are the best ballads ever written? Whether they be rock ballads, power ballads, traditional, or even pop, it's up to music fans like you to decide. Check out the list of ballad songs below and vote up your favorites. Also feel free to add your own choices to the list. If you're looking for more ballads, take a look at the best 80s ballads or the best 2000s ballads for more recent love songs.

list ordered by
1
Are You Lonesome Tonight... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Ballads of All Time
Mark Lanzarotta added Are You Lonesome Tonight, Elvis Presley
2
The Sounds of Silence, S... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Ballads of All Time
Mark Lanzarotta added The Sounds of Silence, Simon and Garfunkel
3
Somewhere Over the Rainb... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Ballads of All Time
Mark Lanzarotta added

Judy Garland

4
Here, There and Everywhe... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Ballads of All Time
Mark Lanzarotta added The Beatles
5
Ruby Tuesday, The Rollin... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Ballads of All Time
Mark Lanzarotta added Ruby Tuesday, The Rolling Stones
6
Blackbird is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Ballads of All Time
Mark Lanzarotta added The Beatles
7
You Got It is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Ballads of All Time
Mark Lanzarotta added Roy Orbison
8
In My Life is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Ballads of All Time
Mark Lanzarotta added The Beatles
9
As Tears Go By, The Roll... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Ballads of All Time
Mark Lanzarotta added As Tears Go By, The Rolling Stones
10
I Am a Rock is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Ballads of All Time
Mark Lanzarotta added Simon and Garfunkel
11
Michelle, The Beatles is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Ballads of All Time
Mark Lanzarotta added Michelle, The Beatles
12
Baby Blue is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Ballads of All Time
Mark Lanzarotta added Badfinger

Badfinger

13
Lady Jane is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Ballads of All Time
Mark Lanzarotta added The Rolling Stones
14
Only the Lonely, Roy Orb... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Ballads of All Time
Mark Lanzarotta added Only the Lonely, Roy Orbison
15
Ranker Video
Hey Jude The Beatles
16
The Needle and the Damag... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Ballads of All Time
Mark Lanzarotta added Neil Young
17
The Crystal Ship is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Ballads of All Time
Mark Lanzarotta added The Doors
18
The Warmth of the Sun is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Ballads of All Time
Mark Lanzarotta added The Beach Boys
19
Play With Fire is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Ballads of All Time
Mark Lanzarotta added The Rolling Stones
20
Little Wing is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Ballads of All Time
Mark Lanzarotta added The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Jimi Hendrix
21
You Showed Me is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Ballads of All Time
Mark Lanzarotta added You Showed Me The Turtles
22
Julia is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Ballads of All Time
Mark Lanzarotta added The Beatles
23
Lady-O, The Turtles is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Ballads of All Time
Mark Lanzarotta added Lady-O, The Turtles
24
Overs is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Ballads of All Time
Mark Lanzarotta added Overs Simon and Garfunkel
25
Everything That Touches ... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Ballads of All Time
Mark Lanzarotta added Everything That Touches You The Association