Bon Jovi - 1986 Slippery When Wet

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited August 2 in year-1986

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ARTIST: Bon Jovi
ALBUM: Slippery When Wet
LABEL: Mercury
SERIAL: 830 264-1 (LP), 830 264-2 (CD)
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 1999, Mercury, 314 538 089-2 * 2010, Island, 06025-2736169-7

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: Jon Bon Jovi - vocals * Richie Sambora - guitars * Alec John Such - bass * David Bryan - keyboards * Tico Torres - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Let It Rock * 02 You Give Love A Bad Name * 03 Livin' On A Prayer * 04 Social Disease * 05 Wanted Dead Or Alive * 06 Raise Your Hands * 07 Without Love * 08 I'd Die For You * 09 Never Say Goodbye * 10 Wild In The Streets

WEBLINKS: www.bonjovi.com

Background

This album should've been reviewed ages ago, so we make up for lost time by including it now.

'Slippery When Wet' set all sorts of records upon it's release. It was the first rock album to include three singles into the top 10. The first album and single off it to be at number one at the same time.

The album has since sold close to 30 million copies worldwide. Not bad for a bunch of Jersey kids who looked like they were falling off the rails after a poorly performing sophomore album '7800 Fahrenheit'.

For me personally, I predicted big things for this outfit after hearing their debut album back in 1984. Never in my wildest dreams did I think they would be as successful as they did.

The recipe for the third album was simple. 'Write some hit singles boys' was the message that come down from upon high, and so armed with a promising bunch of songs, assistance from hit-maker Desmond Child, and an over-analytical assessment of the songs in question before committing them to the final album - saw a band getting all the deck-chairs in order before their August 1986 release date.

The cover art was something else that needed to be rejigged - the original version of an ample woman's cleavage being canned for the dark/charcoal cover we know so well today.

The end-result? Well, nearly 30 million records later, the hard work put in at the front end paid dividends and then some.

The Songs

Opening their account is 'Let It Rock' - which for me is one of the best songs they ever did. Excluding all of their hit singles, the bombastic organs and synths is a prelude to a song with huge riffs, massive choruses and a sonic solo from Sambora which lays waste to your ear drums. Not bad for an opening announcement.

Nothing more needs to be said about 'You Give Love A Bad Name'. It went to number one on the charts, and was the anthem of 1986 - bar none.

So too 'Livin' On A Prayer', another number one hit, though it only scraped onto the album as Jon didn't think it was a good enough song. Poor judgment huh? One can thank Sambora for trusting his instincts thinking it would be a hit, and so it proved.

Party anthem or rabble-rouser? Who knows, who cares.. 'Social Disease' was the relief moment for the band, though for me personally, I neve really liked this song.

Jon Bon Jovi's love of old western folklore and heroes manifested itself with 'Wanted Dead Or Alive '. The song another success, reaching number 7. Sure it is now a signature BJ tune, but I never cared for it at the time.

That line 'I'm a cowboy - on a steel horse I ride..' might be forever ingrained in the conscious of popular music, but it won't be in mine.

Getting back to the bombastic rock we heard on the opener 'Let it Rock' is the sweatfest of 'Raise Your Hands'. It's a great blast - with storming guitars and big keys to fill out the sound. Tremendous stuff!

Midtempo AOR is the best description I can give 'Without Love', the track sits on top of a bed of swirling keyboards and hard driving bass line. Sambora's guitars and the backline wall of vocal choruses aren't too far away either!

Heading back to a sound first heard on their fantastic debut is 'I'd Die For You'. The stabbing keys bringing back glorious reminders of 1984's 'Runaway' and 'Come Back'.

Bon Jovi did have a few signature ballads up their sleeve, but 'Never Say Goodbye' would probably sit high on the list if we research their back catalogue.

Certainly, it was guaranteed to get the crowds and cigarette lighters going. I wonder how many times this song was played on Prom Night during 1986? As an aside, this one was the band's fourth single and made it onto the Billboard Charts reaching a position of number 28.

Finishing off the album in a blaze of glory and a rush of melody is 'Wild In The Streets' - a tune for all the teenagers going through their high school years. For me it sounds like Bruce Springsteen doing AOR/hard rock. I'm sure Jon would be chuffed at the comparison.

In Summary

On the back of a relentless tour schedule through 1986 and 1987, the band road the wave of success, culminating in a headlining appearance at 1987's Monsters Of Rock Festival - featuring other big name acts such as Metallica, Dio, Anthrax, W.A.S.P and Cinderella.

Into 1988 and 1989 the band consolidated their success with an equally big selling album called 'New Jersey'. It would spawn 5 hit singles but as an overall body of work, it isn't rated as highly as 'Slippery When Wet' or the debut.

Without doubt, 'Slippery When Wet' is one of the esssential albums of the 80's - whether you are a fan of the band or not.


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