Livin’ On A Prayer – Bon Jovi

THIS DAY IN MUSIC………………………………….on February 14th of 1986 Bon Jovi reach the top of Billboards Hot 100 Singles Chart with “Livin’ On A Prayer”. The follow up to Bon Jovi’s #1 hit “You Give Love A Bad Name,” this song tells the story of Tommy and Gina, two kids working to make it on their own despite constant hardships. It struck a chord with America’s youth, especially the ones from New Jersey. The characters in the song relate to the working class fans Bon Jovi played to. “Tommy” works on the docks, while “Gina” works in a diner. Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora wrote this with Desmond Child, a prolific songwriter who was brought in by the record company to give them a more commercial sound like he did for Kiss on “I Was Made For Lovin’ You.” At first, Jon Bon Jovi wanted to leave this off the Slippery When Wet album, thinking it wasn’t good enough. According to Jon, a meeting with a group of teenagers changed his mind and it was added to the album. Richie Sambora used a talkbox on this, which gave it a very distinctive sound. A talkbox is an electronic device that allows a guitar player to make distorted sounds with his mouth. Peter Frampton is famous for using one on his 1976 album Frampton Comes Alive, but the technique lost popularity a few years later. When Bon Jovi released this, it was the first time many young people heard a song featuring a talkbox. Peter Frampton builds all of Richie Sambora’s talkboxes for him. On VH1’s The Greatest Songs of the ’80s special, this was voted the best song of the decade. According to Joe Lynn Turner, formerly of Rainbow and Deep Purple, Sambora borrowed the bass riff from Turner’s “Get Tough” from his first solo album, Rescue You. Turner told Uber Rock: “Richie Sambora came up to me one night, and we were drinking pretty hard and he said, ‘I’m gonna steal that riff,’ and I went, ‘yeah, go ahead!,’ and he did!” The song reached #4 in the UK.