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Simon Frith identifies the origins of the power ballad in the emotional singing of soul artists, particularly Ray Charles and the adaptation of this style by figures such as Eric Burdon, Tom Jones and Joe Cocker to produce slow tempo songs often building to a loud and emotive chorus backed by drums, electric guitars and sometimes choirs.
According to Charles Aaron, power ballads came into existence in the early 1970s, when rock stars attempted to convey profound messages to audiences.
He argues that the power ballad broke into the mainstream of American consciousness in 1976 as FM radio gave a new lease of life to earlier songs like Led Zeppelin's " Stairway to Heaven " ( 1971 ), Aerosmith's " Dream On " ( 1973 ), and Lynyrd Skynyrd's " Free Bird " ( 1974 ).
Other notable examples include Nazareth's version of " Love Hurts " ( 1975 ), Foreigner's " I Want to Know What Love Is ( 1984 )", Scorpions " Still Loving You " ( 1984 ), Heart's " What About Love " ( 1985 ), and Whitesnake's " Is This Love " ( 1987 ).

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