Saturday, October 25, 1986

Bon Jovi hit #1 with Slippery When Wet: October 25, 1986

Originally posted October 25, 2011.




Bon Jovi hit the rock scene in 1984. Their debut chart single, “Runaway”, cracked the top 40 on the pop charts and went top 5 at rock radio. However, the handful of singles which followed over the rest of that album and the next came and went with much less fanfare. It looked like Bon Jovi could well become an also-ran that would be lucky to be remembered beyond the ‘80s.

Then came the monster that was Slippery When Wet. The group tweaked its approach, bring professional songwriter Desmond Child on board. WK It worked – the band went “from minor-league poodle rockers to global superstars” RD thanks to two #1 songs (“You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Livin’ on a Prayer”) co-written by Child.

As “Name” was still climbing the charts, Wet found itself at #1 on the album chart. It abdicated the throne to Boston’s Third Stage the next week. After that album’s month-long stay on top, Bruce Springsteen grabbed the gold for seven weeks with his Live 1975-1975 box set. However, by the time “Prayer” became the band’s second #1 song in February 1987, the album returned to the top as well – for an additional seven weeks.

Wet went on to sell 12 million copies domestically and 28 million worldwide. While “lead singer Jon Bon Jovi’s mop of curls and winning smile” WR grabbed the girls’ attention, their “rock-as-mythology” WR attitude also meant “they had identified their audience – young white adolescent males – and were targeting it accurately.” WR “The album contained competent contemporary pop/rock from its Eddie Van Halen-inspired guitar solos to the singer’s enthusiastic, husky wail (which owed a lot to Bruce Springsteen).” WR Overall, the “album contains its fair share” RD of “consistently memorable tunes.” RD and while it “won’t change your world…it will, undoubtedly, rock it.” RD




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Monday, October 6, 1986

Aha released Scoundrel Days

First posted 1/18/2009; updated 9/10/2020.

Scoundrel Days

A-ha


Released: October 6, 1986


Peak: 74 US, 2 UK, -- CN, 17 AU


Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.3 UK, 0.3 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: synth pop


Tracks:

Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Scoundrel Days
  2. The Swing of Things
  3. I’ve Been Losing You (9/22/86, 8 UK, 21 AU)
  4. October
  5. Manhattan Skyline (2/16/87, 13 UK)
  6. Cry Wolf (11/24/86, 50 US, 5 UK, 45 AU)
  7. We’re Looking for the Whales
  8. The Weight of the Wind
  9. Maybe, Maybe
  10. Soft Rains of April


Total Running Time: 38:41


The Players:

  • Morten Harket (vocals, guitar)
  • Magne Furuholmen (keyboards, guitar, bass)
  • Pål Waaktaar-Savoy (guitars, drums, percussion)

Rating:

3.938 out of 5.00 (average of 4 ratings)

About the Album:

“While not quite as strong as the band’s debut, Scoundrel Days is still a-ha succeeding as a marketed ‘pretty boy’ band which can connect musically and lyrically as much as any musical sacred cow. The opening two songs alone make for one of the best one-two opening punches around: the tense edge of the title track, featuring one of Morten Harket’s soaring vocals during the chorus and a crisp, pristine punch in the music, and The Swing of Things, a moody, elegant number with a beautiful synth/guitar arrangement (plus some fine drumming courtesy of studio pro Michael Sturgis) and utterly lovelorn lyrical sentiments that balance on the edge of being overheated without quite going over.” AMG

“Although the rest of the disc never quite hits as high as the opening, it comes close more often than not. A definite downturn is the band’s occasional attempts to try and prove themselves as a ‘real’ band by rocking out, as on I’ve Been Losing You; there’s really no need for it, and as a result they sound much more ‘fake,’ ironically enough.” AMG

“Other songs can perhaps only be explained by the need to translate lyrics – We’re Looking for the Whales isn’t an environmental anthem, and neither is Cry Wolf, but both also don’t really succeed in using nature as romantic metaphor.” AMG

“When a-ha are on, though, they’re on – October snakes along on a cool bass/keyboard arrangement and a whispery vocal from Harket; Maybe Maybe is a quirky little pop number that’s engagingly goofy; while Soft Rains of April captures the band at its most dramatic, with the string synths giving Harket a perfect bed to launch into a lovely vocal, concluding with a sudden, hushed whisper. The ‘80s may be long gone, but Scoundrel Days makes clear that not everything was bad back then.” AMG

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