I think a great ballad in music is a beautiful thing. Music really is an emotional thing with me and a great ballad can move me more than any other medium (TV/movie/play/whatever).
I also think that for every good ballad there are 10 to 15 awful ones. In fact, I would imagine that if I chose an all time awful song list; ballads would be all that's on it.
Anyway, I'm not sure my definition of a ballad will match yours but here it is anyway.
Some really great ballads (in no particular order)
Sinead O'Connor - Troy (supreme emotion set to music)
OMD - The Romance Of The Telescope (OMD did great ballads, this is my favorite)
Echo & The Bunnymen - Rust (this is newer E&TB, 1999 I think)
Killing Joke - You'll Never Get To Me (one of the hardest ballads ever)
Tom Petty - Free Falling (love the guitar)
The Cars - All Mixed Up (I usually don't like Cars ballads, but this one is great)
Mazzy Star - Fade Into You (only Mazzy Star song I know)
Interpol - Lief Erikson (best album closer ever)
Chris Isaac - Wicked Game (very sexy ballad)
Jesus And Mary Chain - Just Like Honey (superb, JAMC song)
That's just a few, I'm sure I forgot many, but this was fun to think about.
What do you think?