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Bon Jovi: 25th Anniversary Of ‘Slippery When Wet’
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Obi-Dan   |  

Bon Jovi - Slippery When WetBon Jovi
Slippery When Wet
U.S.: CD | MP3
UK: CD | MP3
Recorded April – August 1986
Released August 18, 1986 (U.S.)

Remember when Bon Jovi was good? Before the “˜90s and “˜00s when they honked up the orangey residue of Bounce, the wretch of Have A Nice Day, and the bile of Crush, Bon Jovi was the rock band to listen to. Their output in the “˜80s was rarely surpassed and many of those tracks still hold up as classic arena rock tunes. Bon Jovi albums from the “˜80s were very good, but Slippery When Wet in particular had King Midas’ shiny fingerprints all over it.

By the end of 1985 Bon Jovi had released two albums. Despite being unremarkable and containing slightly more filler than killer, Bon Jovi and 7800° Fahrenheit sold pretty well. On August 18, 1986, Slippery When Wet was released in the U.S. and Bon Jovi’s popularity exploded.

Written almost entirely by lead singer Jon Bon Jovi and guitarist Richie Sambora, it contains songs that Bon Jovi fans still demand to hear live. Tracks that even people who (claim to) hate the band’s music know. “You Give Love A Bad Name” and “Livin’ On A Prayer” were co-written by KISS co-writer Desmond Child. It would not be a true Bon Jovi album without a love-song or a tale of a broken heart and Slippery When Wet is no different with the resplendent “Never Say Goodbye.” These were tracks fit for an arena with huge choruses ripe for audience participation. Thanks to Slippery When Wet, in a short space of time Bon Jovi was headlining arenas before 1986 was out.

The album begins with “Let It Rock” which starts with a held grunt by Sambora’s guitar, laying room for David Bryan‘s chilling carnival organ boogie. The song quickly builds to a chorus chant of “˜let it rock, let it roll’ and the album agrees to do so.

What should not be underestimated is the partnership between drummer Tico Torres and bassist Alec John Such. This is one truly great rhythm section that just will not quit. Torres is rarely flashy and keeps the power and precision throughout the album ticking over. Similarly, Such keeps the tune ticking over, allowing Sambora to wail to his heart’s content. (It is no coincidence that after Such left following the Keep The Faith album, things started to slide for the band.)

According to lead singer Jon Bon Jovi, one of the working titles for the album was “Guns N’ Roses.” Being at the time a self-confessed useless “˜A&R guy’, JBJ probably thought a name like that would never befit something popular in the world of rock.

The original boobilicious cover was deemed too saucy — a pert young lady whose tiny t-shirt emblazoned with the album title is fit to burst — and so it was changed to the far less sexy and far more condensationy cover you see above.

Bon JoviSlippery When Wet is the album that made Bon Jovi into the huge band it continues to be today. It continues to spark interest in fans old and new and its songs create defining moments at the band’s live shows. It was one of the first albums I ever listened to and one I will never get tired of hearing.

Track Listing:

1 – Let It Rock
2 – You Give Love A Bad Name
3 – Livin’ On A Prayer
4 – Social Disease
5 – Wanted Dead Or Alive
6 – Raise Your Hands
7 – Without Love
8 – I’d Die For You
9 – Never Say Goodbye
10 – Wild In The Streets

9 Comments »

  1. I really liked when Bon Jovi first came out and they deserved the attention that they got.  They had good chops and knew how to entertain the masses, but it was mainly the women that went nuts over them.  Pretty soon, most of us guys went back to listening to heavy metal and tougher bands — and we became aware of pop-metal, spandex and big hair.  By the time New Jersey came out, I just wanted them to go away.  Their overexposure and self-awareness was their biggest downfall.  I’ve listened to several of their later albums (like Lost Highway) and was not impressed.

    Comment by Steve — August 18, 2011 @ 3:51 pm

  2. This is why all you music “writers” are completely useless. No, I don’t remember when BJ’s Slippery was good. It was 80s BS that just happened to be catchier than Dokken or Warrant’s BS. There was nothing remarkable about 80s Bon Jovi. The remarkable thing about them was how much they grew in the 90s, how well-written Jon Bon Jovi’s solo albums were and how much more mature Keep the Faith and These Days were. All this, while grunge was calling everything else in sight “cock rock” and while bands of the 80s were self-imploding. That’s what’s remarkable about Bon Jovi, but it seems you missed it. 

    Comment by Csvernon85 — August 18, 2011 @ 12:10 pm

  3. No. I don’t remember….because Bon Jovi was NEVER good.

    Comment by Hockemeyer — August 18, 2011 @ 5:33 pm

  4. The band admitted that Such had no input into Keep The Faith or New Jersey. They had Hugh McDonald playing on the tracks by that stage. Such was only playing live and was there for the cover shoots. So that one of your ridiculous assumptions thrown out. And their best work (IMO) is in the 90’s.

    Comment by Eoin — August 19, 2011 @ 3:54 am

  5. With all due respect, this is a glance at where they were in 1986 – not how they developed into the 90’s and beyond. 

    Comment by Greg Davies/cGt2099 — August 19, 2011 @ 1:18 pm

  6. I like Keep the Faith and Have a Nice Day. 

    Comment by DJ — August 21, 2011 @ 12:37 pm

  7. SWW is great!! I must disagree about the quality of their later work however as their 90’s material topped what they put out in the 80’s. Sure, the 00’s have been hit or miss but hardly as bad as you seem to indicate.

    Comment by ZJW — August 24, 2011 @ 12:18 am

  8. When they were good? they are still amazing, and it is not arguable. They had the most successful sold out tour by far and it was their latest album, ‘The Circle’. Learn your facts, If they were not good would their tour still make a quarter of a billion dollars. Your ridiculous. 

    Comment by Mike G. — August 24, 2011 @ 12:20 am

  9. I agree with your assessment of SWW – it certainly did announce BJ on a global scale and paved the way for everything that followed. I do, however, disagree with your views on their later work though. These Days was by far and away one of the best written albums of the ’90’s and in my opinion remains Bon Jovi’s ‘Magnum Opus’. Received well by fans and critics alike (which was certainly a first for Bon Jovi – never the critics darlings!), it sold millions around the world and remained at the top of the charts in Europe for months. Crush was also a good album (yes it was ‘poppy’ but it was what was needed at the time…..) with which Bon Jovi succesfully attracted a new generation of fans. I also thoroughly enjoyed HAND and LH. I do agree that a few of their albums have fell short and The Circle (imo) was very poor, but overall I would say that to completely chastise all of their output after New Jersey is boarderline ignorant and certainly shows poor research.

    Comment by Dfl78 — August 28, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

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