|First posted 2/19/2008; updated 11/24/2020.|
Slippery When Wet
Released: August 18, 1986
Peak: 18 US, 6 UK, 18 CN, 16 AU
Sales (in millions): 12.0 US, 1.0 UK, 28.0 world (includes US and UK)
Genre: pop metal/hair band
Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.
Total Running Time: 43:49
4.165 out of 5.00 (average of 26 ratings)
About the Album:
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.
WK “The group wrote 30 songs and auditioned them for local New Jersey and New York teenagers.” WK While most of the album was written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora, Desmond Child lent his talents to You Give Love a Bad Name, Livin’ on a Prayer, and Without Love. Collaboration with an outside professional songwriter worked: two of those songs were #1 hits and the band went “from minor-league poodle rockers to global superstars” RD
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.
Bon Jovi may have “had little more on their minds than girls and rock-as-mythology (even the working-class anthem ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ featured a character who was forced to hock his ‘six string’), but that may only mean they had identified their audience – young white adolescent males – and were targeting it accurately.” WR “From the scantily clad car-wash girls on the inner sleeve to the ‘You lost more than that in my back seat / Yeah!’ lyrics, the album is blissfully untouched by irony and subtlety, which actually adds to its charm.” RD
Even the album title betrays the band’s aim at hormonal youth males. The band came up with the album title “Slippery When Wet after visiting strip clubs in Vancouver.” WK In addition, “the album originally was to feature a busty, 34DD woman in a wet yellow tee shirt with the album name on the front of the shirt. This original version of the cover was swapped for the wet plastic bag cover just prior to release, mainly due to the fact that Jon Bon Jovi hated the pink edging to the cover. The exception is in Japan, where most releases of the album do include the original cover art.” WK
Of course, the album wouldn’t have achieved such massive success if it were only targeted at horny male teenagers. “Lead singer Jon Bon Jovi’s mop of curls and winning smile” WR gave the group a healthy dose of sex appeal from the female front as well.
Ultimately, though, the album became a massive success because it “contains its fair share” RD of “consistently memorable tunes” RD and “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 “Slippery When Wet won’t change your world, but it will, undoubtedly, rock it.” RD
Notes: An import edition includes bonus tracks.
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