Here’s some harrowing news for rock fans everywhere: Jon Bon Jovi has revealed that he never liked ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ that much and nearly scrapped the song entirely.
Wow. What the fuck would we have done without that song? What song would’ve replaced it as the go-to tune for folks from the 80s who’ve fallen on hard times and don’t like their spouses that much and kinda want to get divorced?
Per Ultimate Classic Rock, Richie Sambora called J.B.J. an idiot for not realizing just how badass ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ was when they wrote it.
“I remember walking out of the room with Richie,” Jon Bon Jovi told The Irish Times, “and I said, ‘Eh, it’s okay. Maybe we should just put it on a movie soundtrack.’ Richie looked at me and said, ‘You’re an idiot. It’s really good.’ I said, ‘I just don’t know where it’s going.’ But it didn’t have that boom-boom-boom bassline yet, so it sounded more like the Clash.”
“That song, God bless it,” he added. “But, my God, who knew? Not us, I can assure you. It was created on a day when none of us had any ideas. We just had a conversation, and it came out of that. I’m sure happy my name’s on it.”
Released as the second single from Bon Jovi‘s 1986 album, Slippery When Wet, “Livin’ on a Prayer” became their second consecutive No. 1 single and sold 3 million copies. The song not only bought him a house — according to Jon Bon Jovi, “it bought a lot of people houses.”
Bon Jovi has previously touched on his doubts about the song. Last year, during a Q&A session on his Runaway to Paradise cruise, he said his reservations stemmed from the fact that it”didn’t sound like anything. You know, ‘Runaway’ had eight notes, like a lot of songs on the radio at the time. Even ‘[You Give Love a] Bad Name’ was reminiscent of other songs that were on the radio. ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ didn’t sound like anything. So, I was sort of indifferent. I thought, ‘Well, it’s different, but is it a rock song? Is it us?’”
Well, here’s one thing we can all agree on: Good thing Jon Bon Jovi came around and released the song!
Really, it’s a pretty big nightmare imagining a world where ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ doesn’t exist. Here, you know what, try out this mental exercise so you can really understand how brutal that would be. Picture this: You and the old lady are short on rent… She’s been on medical leave for 6 weeks and counting, so your monthly household income has taken a significant, fucked up hit (you think she’s faking her injury, by the way)… You’ve been married for 30-something passionless years and you each genuinely dread spending any time at all with each other… And, unfortunately, divorce is just too expensive, so it’s simply not on the table… Okay, that’s your life. Got it? Now, if you’re in this predicament, OBVIOUSLY ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ is the song you’re gonna wanna listen to for inspiration. If Tommy and Gina could do it, why not you?
…But if that song DIDN’T exist, what WOULD you listen to? Deep Purple or some shit? Fuckin’, what, a slow, boring-ass Springsteen song that tells a similar-ish story but is way less on the nose?
Let’s all take this moment to thank Bon Jovi for getting his act together and realizing how important ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ is. Thanks, Jon!