One would hardly think of Metallica as notable writers of love songs, but their hit "Nothing Else Matters" is one of the best heavy metal love songs out there. In fact, Metallica is far from the only metal band with a song so romantic it would make Cyrano de Bergerac blush.
As with any genre, some hardcore love songs are more metal than others. There is a world of difference between the Guns N’ Roses rock ballad "Sweet Child O’ Mine" and the death metal offering of Lamb of God's "Walk With Me in Hell." But once a listener works their way through the metalcore nature of the latter, the song’s sweet romantic lyrics shine through.
The best metal bands are not scared to show their sensitive side, even if that means slightly alienating some of their hardcore fan base. In several instances, these romantic outliers are also the band’s biggest hit.
- Photo: Warner Records1149 VOTES
Even Satan himself can fall in love. "N.I.B." came off of Black Sabbath's self-titled 1970 debut album. The band's bassist and main lyricist Terry "Geezer" Butler wrote the song about how even the devil can change in the face of falling in love.
"I wrote that, being quite humorous. I thought I was anyway - about Satan fallin' in love with somebody," explains Butler. "And his chat-up line is, you know, 'I can give you the sun, the moon and the stars...' And Satan probably could. It’s like a chat-up line that guys use, and people missed the whole point of it!"
Some people say my love cannot be true
Please believe me, my love, and I'll show you
I will give you those things you thought unreal
The sun, the moon, the stars all bear my seal
- Photo: Rhino Atlantic2161 VOTES
Skid Row's weepy breakup song "I Remember You" came off the band's 1989 self-titled debut album. The metal ballad, highlighted by lead singer Sebastian Bach's incredible vocal range, was Skid Row's biggest hit. If Skid Row band members Rachel Bolan and Dave Sabo had their way, however, the track never would have seen the light of day.
Bach says his bandmates thought the song was "wimpy." He recalled, "You know, we wanted to be tough guys, punks, metalheads!"
Thankfully, the group got a second opinion from band manager Doc McGhee, who laughed when he first heard "I Remember You." His laughter wasn't because the song was "wimpy" or bad - it was because he knew it was going to be a huge hit.
I paint a picture of the days gone by
When love went blind and you would make me see
I'd stare a lifetime into your eyes
So that I knew that you were there for me
Time after time you there for me
- Photo: Mercury Records3130 VOTES
German hard rock band Scorpions slowed it down a bit in 1984 with their metal ballad, "Still Loving You." The Billboard Hot 100 hit came off of their ninth studio album Love at First Sting.
Scorpions songwriter and rhythm guitarist Rudolf Schenker explained how the song had a hand in the mid-1980s baby boom in France: "We created a baby boom in France. But we didn't believe it, either, you know? We were on a TV show in France between recordings, and the host, a very famous guy that interviews us each year, goes, 'Hey, guys, you know that you are responsible for the baby boom in '85.' We were laughing like crazy! And yes, it's been measured by the government."
To trust in my love again
I will be there
I will be there
- Photo: Rhino Records4208 VOTES
Metallica's fifth studio effort, The Black Album (also known as Metallica), is the band's best-selling album. It also contains Metallica's first love song, "Nothing Else Matters." The Black Album's somewhat softer style proved to be a crossover success and reached a wider audience.
Metallica lead singer James Hetfield wrote the song in 1990 while he was out on tour and missing his girlfriend. He said of the Billboard hit, "It’s absolutely crazy, that was the song that I thought was least Metallica, least likely to ever [be] played by us, the last song anyone would really want to hear. It was a song for myself in my room on tour when I was bumming out about being away from home."
Never opened myself this way
Life is ours, we live it our way
All these words, I don't just say
And nothing else matters
- Photo: Roadrunner Records5157 VOTES
"Snuff" hit the Billboard charts in 2009 following the song's release on Slipknot's fourth album, All Hope Is Gone. The song has proved to be a sentimental tune for Slipknot's lead vocalist Corey Taylor, who continues to sing it during solo shows in honor of Slipknot bassist Paul Gray, who suffered an OD in 2010.
Taylor was asked which of his songs had the most personal meaning to him during a 2018 interview with Metal Head Zone. "[Slipknot’s] 'Snuff' probably is one of the ones that means the most to me now just because of the correlation between it and Paul [Gray]," he said. "Really, if Paul hadn't championed that song, I don't think we would have recorded it. But he loved it and saw the potential with it and really wanted us to do it. So now when I play it during my solo shows, that's who that's for. I try to do it as well as I can."
I still press your letters to my lips
And cherish them in parts of me that savor every kiss
I couldn't face a life without your lights
But all of that was ripped apart when you refused to fight
- Photo: Geffen6145 VOTES
Guns N' Roses' most romantic song is also their only No. 1 US single. The popular cut off of their 1988 debut album Appetite for Destruction started out as a joke. Guitarist Slash was messing around with a riff that piqued Axl Rose's interest. The lead singer was able to craft lyrics to the music from a poem he had written for his girlfriend, Erin Everly. Slash hated the song from the beginning. He recalls, "Writing and rehearsing it to make it a complete song was like pulling teeth. For me, at the time, it was a very sappy ballad."
When producer Mike Clink heard a demo of "Sweet Child O' Mine," he immediately knew that it would be a huge hit. Slash eventually made his peace with the metal ballad. "I hated it for years," he admits. "But it would cause such a reaction - just playing the first stupid notes used to evoke this hysteria - so I've finally gotten to appreciate it."
She's got eyes of the bluest skies
As if they thought of rain
I hate to look into those eyes
And see an ounce of pain
Her hair reminds me of a warm safe place
Where as a child I'd hide
And pray for the thunder
And the rain
To quietly pass me by