There are so many great 80’s albums out there it was hard to choose just one to pick as a favorite and review. As I made my way through my many CDs, and finally climbed to the top of the collection, I raised my favorite one to the sky and heard those famous words “You Give Love a Bad Name” echo through my ears. Yes, it is Bon Jovi’s 1986 release “Slippery When Wet”.
This album debuted back when loyal MTV viewers couldn’t wait for the newly released videos of their favorite bands to air. One day, after school, I was watching the top 10 most requested videos of the day, and saw the best live video ever. On stage, singing rocking out, only to me, was Bon Jovi performing “You Give Love a Bad Name”.
I went out and bought the cassette and my sister had the record album. I was cooler because I had the cassette and could play it in my Walk-Man on the way to school jamming away to songs like “Living’ on a Prayer”, “Social Disease” and of course “You Give Love A Bad Name”. The whole album rocked! Here is the list of songs, in order:
“Let It Rock”
“You Give Love A Bad Name”
“Livin’ On A Prayer”
“Wanted: Dead or Alive”
“Raise Your Hands”
“I’d Die For You”
“Never Say Goodbye”
“Wild In The Streets”
“Let It Rock” is a good opening song; it is powerful and quickly grabs your attention with Tico Torres’ power drums. “You Give Love a Bad Name” is of course a classic and will always be a rocking song. Next is “Livin’ on a Prayer”. That song has Richie Sambora rockin’ out on his guitar and talk box and Jon hitting the highest notes humanly possible. “Social Disease” was not released as a single, but had the potential to be a hit if they had chosen it to be. “Wanted: Dead or Alive” is an awesome song and it was one of the top videos of the year, if I remember correctly. The popularity of it even prompted the record company to put out not only the single, but a release that had numerous versions of the song. There was an acoustic version, a live version and an extended version. (I had gotten all three from my sister, and they all rocked.) Now, it is the theme song for Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” series. “Raise Your Hands” is a good song, too and had David Bryan rockin’ out on his keyboards. The slower paced “Without Love” is nice ballad type song. “I’d Die for You” picks up the pace and gets your heart pumping. “Never Say Goodbye” is a ballad that pulls at the heart strings and that was so good, I even tried to convince my eighth-grade graduating class to use it as our song. Sadly, it lost out to some Whitney Houston song. “Wild In the Streets” is the perfect way to end a perfect album. It rocked so much that I would flip my tape over and start all over again.
The story behind the record jacket is pretty funny. The original cover was supposed to be this voluptuous woman in a tight, yellow torn shirt with the words “Slippery When Wet” across her chest. Rumor had it that the label didn’t like the raciness of the shot, so they made the band change it. So, again as rumor had it in those wonderful rock magazines of days gone by, a plastic garbage bag was squirted with a hose and scribbled across it was the new album cover. (Was it Jon’s sacred fingers that wrote those immortal words? Can we believe those old magazines?) Take another look at the cover… it is indeed a wet black plastic trash bag with the words “Slippery When Wet” written on it. Someone said it was the cheapest album cover to date.
You can shop online to find the original release, or if you get a ‘remastered’ version, it will have a shot of the original album cover on the inside of the booklet, and a cool shot of the band (with Alec John Such still in it) on the inside back cover. (It looks like that shot was from when MTV had the contest to Hedonism with Bon Jovi back in the day. My sister and I must have wrote out fifty 3×5 cards trying to win that contest!!)
Below are a few links to find and purchase Bon Jovi-Slippery When Wet!