So during the 1980s and 1990s there was an amazing subculture known as hair metal bands.
They were a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, a little bit heavy metal and a little bit Westminster dog show.
All hair metal bands followed a formula.
First, the hair. I know people make fun of mullets but hair metal hair has got to be the weirdest thing ever invented. I have never seen it in the wild myself.
Then there was “sexy“ outfits and of course, heavy-metal songs.
Finally, and this is really the most important part, they had a handful of power ballads.
Power ballads are slow emotionally dripping songs that are meant to get played on the radio. They become standards. They get picked to be the official song of high school proms.
Power ballads also are very big in Japan. They love those melodramatic sweeping songs.
The power ballad, despite the hair and the sex and the heavy-metal was actually the key to a hair metal band’s success both short-term and long-term.
They had to worry about reaching the mass market and earning royalties and in the end being able to play songs on the road that people will pay for you to play like a human jukebox.
There were dozens of hair metal bands that became famous. Their power ballads songs are interchangeable. But they became the corner stone of their franchises.
And for the dozens of hair metal bands that became very famous there were probably hundreds that did well in local bars and music halls.
This post was prompted by me looking up a power ballad from 23 years ago.
I watched a video of them playing then and then I watched one they played on a cruise when they were basically old men without long hair.
And the audience was there for the power ballad! There was no hair and the sexy time was toned down and the crowd probably tuned out the heavy metal portion of the show.
And what occurred to me is that if you are getting into a niche that has a whole bunch of people doing the same thing you want to do, do not worry about it.
I am not advocating you go out and get long hair or a sexy outfit. And no power ballads required.
But the essence of a hair metal band is having the guts to get in front of an audience dressed for a costume party and sing a syrupy love song that is totally incongruent with the clothes you are wearing and your actual branding.
I would say there is a version of the power ballad in every niche.
With marketing it could be your theory about how things work. With fitness it could be your exercise on your persona or your taglines.
In relationships it could be your philosophy about how to make a happy marriage or raise healthy children.
There’s always room for another one of whatever it is you’re doing just like there was always room for another hair metal band back in the heyday.
So my question to you is, what’s your power ballad?
Mine is Retired Writer’s Club. A daily email that goes out to people like you and me making our way in crowded niches determined to belt out our own power ballads.