In late 1986, with the guidance of producer Bruce Fairbairn and with a little help of composer Desmond Child and sound engineer Bob Rock, this New Jersey band, who by that time had two albums of some popularity, Bon Jovi and 7800 Fahrenheit, released one of the biggest selling records in rock history – Slippery When Wet.
The band decided to go in a new direction regarding their musical style when recording the third studio album. That is why they contacted the extraordinary talents of Fairbairn, Rock, and Child to help shape what would become their most popular album.
Slippery When Wet began to take shape in the city of Vancouver, where the band spent long hours in the studio as well as at strip clubs. Coincidentally (or causally) it was where they got the name of the album. Rumor has it a dancer whispered to Jon Bon Jovi the words “Slippery When Wet.” In the beginning the cover showed a photograph of a female chest with a torn shirt that read the album title. Later, after printing around 500,000 copies, that picture was banned and replaced by the current one. Needless to say those early copies became collectable objects for any fan.
It is hard to decide where to begin … let’s start big. The second song on the album blames a woman – “You Give Love A Bad Name.” It defines one of the biggest hits of this band and album. Backups preceded by Jon Bon Jovi’s voice and trademark riff property of guitarist Richie Sambora, along with bassist Alec John Such and keyboardist David Bryan giving life to the melody, and close to the end of the song, Tico Torres snare drum doing a solo, breaking ground to all listeners to sing once and again the verses of the chorus.
Coming right after is their number one-hit of all times, the story of Tommy and Gina, a couple from the suburbs trying to make it – “Living on a Prayer.” A mysterious intro, the appearance of a bass line so characteristic (and ironically so similar to the latter song), along with the keyboards and Sambora’s guitar linked to the talk box giving a trademark effect, deliver a brilliant song that achieved to stay in everyone’s memory.
Apart from being type-casted as a hair metal band, Bon Jovi was included within the arena rock or stadium rock category: all bands that sounded good both through radio and during live performances, with a pretentious production, a commercial style, great power ballads and glorious choruses, anthems. Evidently, this album is an example of that genre. In fact, all the videos made for this album showed Bon Jovi rocking themselves out in the middle of thousands of fans, giving only a preview of what their concerts would be like.
Both hits are two of the four co-written with Desmond Child. Then it is worth to highlight a couple of songs written by JBJ and Sambora alone, such as “Never Say Goodbye,” the only ballad of the album, and “Wanted Dead Or Alive,” a song which was recorded in New Jersey and differs from the rest of the material. It brings an atmosphere reminiscent of the Old West that tells the experiences of the band during endless and exhausting tours.
What Bon Jovi achieved with Slippery When Wet most other bands can only dream about. It was an incredible album and overall achievement that remains to be an all-time classic with their die-hard fans.
Slippery When Wet is an album full of hits. These are songs that defined an era, lyrics we all remember and connect with moments of our lives. Slippery When Wet is Bon Jovi’s best-selling album to date going twelve times platinum and selling over 28 million copies worldwide. The album spent and incredible eight weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and 38 weeks inside the Top 5. It was also named by Billboard the top selling album of 1987, historically making it the 48th best-selling album in the United States.
After their definitive consolidation as rock stars and a tour that got them travelling the world, Bon Jovi wasted no time and went right into the studio to record what would be their next piece, New Jersey, keeping their unbeatable formula of Fairbairn, Rock and Child. A very solid album recorded in a hurry, according to what was stated by their members, who after another gigantic tour decided to take some time apart to come back in the early 90s with a different sound.
Bon Jovi released a new album this 2013 named Because We Can with not big success linked with the departure of Richie Sambora. However, they are still toured the world presenting their latest material and rocking the stadiums with their all-time-classics.
Reviewer: Vanna Reflex
IRC: Lucy Patton *
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