Bon Jovi – “Wanted Dead or Alive” – 45 Single

On my Summer vacation back in June, I found over 20 singles with the picture sleeve. I’ve been through a bunch of them so far and now we are tackling the Bon Jovi singles that I found. There were 5 Singles found and we are going to kick it off with one of Bon Jovi’s most popular and famous songs, “Wanted Dead or Alive” off the band’s 1986 album ‘Slippery When Wet’.  The song was the third single from this album and the third to crack the Billboard Hot 100 reaching #7.  The band was on a roll and growing to become one of the world’s biggest rock bands thanks in large part to this song.

My copy is the basic U.S. Version and is an Indianapolis Pressing. Nothing fancy about it. The B-Side is the album version of “I’d Die For You”. The A-Side is also the basic version of “Wanted Dead or Alive”, no single edit or anything like that just the same long version as the album. The short version cuts off about a minute of the song.


The song’s title, “Wanted Dead Or Alive”, was inspired by old western movies and Jon thought the lifestyle of a band was similar to that of the outlaws in those movies.  Instead of horses, the band takes the tour bus (which is sort of a large steel horse) from town to town and raping and pillaging in each town…okay not really, but they were getting all the chicks and making tons of money performing, just not stealing it.

That whole cowboy vibe is felt in the music using acoustic guitars as well as electric.  There was a western sound with a hard rock edge and when they do play this as full acoustic, it is drenched in that sitting around the campfire feel telling stories of the road (or old west).  Richie Sambora’s guitar playing on this song spectacular and his background vocals mixed with Jon’s vocals takes this song to the next level.  And Richie’s solo is one of the most memorable he has done and how well it fits in with vibe of the song is magical.  Musically, according to Jon Bon Jovi, the song is inspired by Bob Seger’s song “Turn the Page” and if you listen to the song you hear that the slow driving tempo and groove and seriousness of the song and you can see why it was so inspiring.

The video below is not the MTV version as I stuck with the version that is on the single, the album version.


The B-Side is the song “I’d Die For You” and kicks off with a lot of David Bryan’s keyboard which is ver metallic sounding and then has Richie doing a guitar riff which sounds a little distorted. The song is classic Bon Jovi 80’s glam pop rock and I have to admit the song is a little dated it in its sound. It isn’t holding up well. It is too generic and derivative of songs at the time. It doesn’t mean I don’t like it, but I realize it is still stuck in the time period unlike “Wanted Dead or Alive” which to me sounds a little timeless. Bon Jovi was good about putting unreleased tracks as the B-Sides back then so a little disappointed this wasn’t one of them.

And there we have the first in the series of 5 Bon Jovi Singles. Next up is a song from New Jersey and let’s be honest, every one of the last 4 singles are from this album so I hope you like that album.

35 thoughts on “Bon Jovi – “Wanted Dead or Alive” – 45 Single

  1. Oh man, I remember learning to play that intro… cracking song but yeah – I’d Die For You hasn’t aged well, then again a lot of the stuff on Slippery.. has a similar feel. I think the production on New Jersey was a lot stronger

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with Orjan. This is a great example of the voices of Richie and Jon going so well together. Not many bands did vocal harmony as good as they did back in the day. They weren’t as good as Van Halen in that department, but who was?

    I’m now wondering if Slippery has aged well.

    I have the 100,000,000 boxed set. I’d still grab a reissue of Slippery if it ever included those B-sides. I love my New Jersey reissue with the Sons of Beaches demos.

    Nice find!


  3. I’ve always preferred ‘New Jersey’ over ‘Slippery When Wet’ because a lot of the latter album’s songs are cheesy and outdated. There is no “Wanted Dead or Alive” without Richie Sambora! His voice has aged a bit overtime, but it’s still a million times better than Jon’s current voice.

    Liked by 1 person

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