For My Sunday Song #200 and the final in the Bon Jovi set of 10 songs, we are discussing the classic song, “Livin’ On A Prayer”. The song is off the band’s mulit-platinum selling album ‘Slippery When Wet’. The song was the second single off the album and the second to go all the way to #1. The song and the album put Bon Jovi in to super star status and nothing would be the same afterwards.
The song was written by Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi with a lot of help from songwriter Desmond Child who was brought in by the record label to help the boys finish the album and work on some songs. The song is loosely based on Desmond and his girl-friend as she worked in a Diner, but he was a taxi driver and not working at the docks. It was that Blue Collar feel to the song that made it resonate with so many people. It was a time when Bon Jovi actually wrote songs that told a story that connected with people and not try to write just to make a hit.
However, after recording it, Jon didn’t really like the song and wanted to leave it off the album. Richie thought it was great and convinced Jon to re-work the song. It was much improved by changing the bass line and recording with Hugh McDonald and not Alec John Such. Funny thing, Hugh would become a band member less than 10 years later (unofficially of course). Richie also added a talk box to the guitar to give it that extra boost in the same way Peter Frampton used it and made it famous. The song was turned in to a complete masterpiece.
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For My Sunday Song # 199, we are going to discuss 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 his song.
The song’s title 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.
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Formed in 1983, just a mere 35 years ago, Bon Jovi defined the 80’s music scene. They have since had 13 studio albums, 3 live albums, numerous compilations and even a box set. With so much music, some of course is bad, some is good, some is great and some is legendary. They have had line-up changes as most bands have had and yet the still keep rolling on. They have even made it in to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Since there is so much about the band, they deserve to have their albums ranked from Worst to First. I am going to do all 13 of their studio albums, plus 1 compilation which I thought was a studio album, but apparently not…who knew. So, 14 albums in total will be coming at you. I hope you have time to get through all of them.
And as always, let’s start with my least favorite album and work our way to my favorite…so sit back and enjoy…
15. THE WORST – ‘THE CIRCLE’ (2009):
‘The Circle’ was supposed to be the band’s return to rock after a very Nashville based previous album, ‘Lost Highway”. The big problem for me with this album was the lack of credibility the songs had with me. They tried to return to a “working man” sound such as “Work for the Working Man”, but I didn’t believe it. It felt forced and fake. Nothing on this album resonated with me in the least bit. Even today, I can’t think of the names of the songs on this album. They were not memorable and just seemed stale and uninspiring.
Continue reading “Bon Jovi – The Albums Ranked Worst to First”