by Sean Smith
Today marks a special day in history for fans of the band Bon Jovi. It was thirty years ago today that the New Jersey rockers released their third studio album Slippery When Wet. This album was a departure for Bon Jovi from their two previous albums, Bon Jovi (1984) and 7800° Fahrenheit (1985), which were a bit more on the harder side of the rock spectrum. This album was a bit more mainstream sounding, and the commercial success of Slippery When Wet allowed them the opportunity to grow into becoming one of the most well respected and popular bands of their time period.
Nowadays Bon Jovi isn’t just sitting around resting on their laurels. They are still very much active and are still creating new original music. In fact, the band just released their latest single this past Friday “This House is Not for Sale.” The new single is the title track for their upcoming fourteenth studio album due to be released October 21, 2016.
The new single, and the video for it, seems to have a bit of a blue collar worker living in the “rust belt” feel to it. Portions of the video were shot in Bethlehem, PA showing the old closed down Bethlehem steel plant. A symbol for the declining middle class in the U.S.. Bethlehem steel was once the second largest steel producer in the entire country, and provided many well paying blue collar jobs to people in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania. The company went into bankruptcy in 2001 and shuttered their doors completely in 2003. Bon Jovi is planning to support the album with a 2017 tour, although no dates have been announced thus far.
“Livin’ on a Prayer” was the second single to be released from Bon Jovi’s 1986 album Slippery When Wet. The first single was “You Give Love a Bad Name,” which became the band’s first hit when the song went on to reach number one on the charts. “Livin’ on a Prayer” was the follow-up to that first commercial hit, and it performed pretty well on it’s own right also reaching the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Very similarly to the band’s new single “This House is Not for Sale”, “Livin’ on a Prayer” is a song that gives a strong nod to the blue collar working-class. The fictional subject of the tune is Tommy and Gina, a couple who were struggling to get by financially but stuck together romantically. The song was written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, and Songwriters Hall of Fame member Desmond Child. Child has said in interviews that the inspiration for the song came from real life experience. He claims the fictional couple in the song were based on him and an ex-girlfriend of his that was an aspiring singer who worked as a waitress in Manhattan. He also says that at first Jon Bon Jovi didn’t want to use the song because he thought it was too soft for his rocker image. After giving the song a bit more of a rock sound, Child and Sambora were able to persuade Bon Jovi to use the track.
So in light of today marking the 30th anniversary of the release of Slippery When Wet by Bon Jovi, this week we take a moment to recall the album’s second single “Livin’ on a Prayer.” Enjoy.
“Livin’ on a Prayer”
From: Slippery When Wet
“Wanted Dead Or Alive”
From: Slippery When Wet