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
- one of the top 100 albums of all time
- one of the top 100 All-Time World’s Bestsellers
- Worldwide best-selling album of the year
- Kerrang magazine top 100 of all time
- Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
- Top 100 Classic Rock Albums
- one of the top 100 albums of the 1980s
- one of the top 50 Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Albums
Resources and Related Links:
- Bon Jovi’s DMDB Encyclopedia entry
- the DMDB page for Slippery When Wet
- RD Ronita Dutta, Amazon.com
- WR William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide
- WK Wikipedia