Last year, Bon Jovi‘s landmark album Slippery When Wet marked its 30th anniversary, but this week marks the 30th anniversary of one of it’s best-known songs, “Livin’ on a Prayer,” topping the charts.
The album’s first single, “You Give Love a Band Name,” hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1986, while “Livin’ on a Prayer” reached #1 on February 14, 1987, and stayed there for four weeks. It’s the band’s longest-running #1 hit, and its lead characters, Tommy and Gina, have become part of rock mythology. In fact, Jon Bon Jovi namechecked the couple again in the band’s 2000 hit “It’s My Life.”
Slippery When Wet spent eight weeks at #1 and spun off another massive hit, “Wanted Dead or Alive,” but “Livin’ on a Prayer” remains Bon Jovi’s signature song — and the album is still the band’s biggest seller. No wonder Jon claims he still remembers every detail about recording it.
“I don’t really sit around listening to it, but Lord knows, I’ve heard a number of the songs still on the radio quite often,” he tells ABC Radio. “And it’s almost surreal, because I can picture us in the rooms. I know why the key change in ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ happened and I know where. I know every incident that went down. I know why the album cover’s a black garbage bag, with my fingers writing ‘Slippery When Wet.'”
Jon adds, “I can’t remember what I did yesterday, but I remember all of that detail because it changed all of our lives…And I’m so grateful for that moment, but I’m also so grateful that we keep having those moments.”
He’s not wrong: Slippery When Wet became the first of six #1 Bon Jovi albums, including their most recent release, This House Is Not for Sale.
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