I wrote a post on this album back in 2013, called “What Made Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet Explode”. You can read it here.
You can call this an extra appreciation post.
Like all great movies, the actors and production team had to be in place.
The producer Bruce Fairbairn and the engineer/mixer Bob Rock are there. The band is there. The song writing team of Jovi, Sambora and Desmond Child is there. The three years of playing and touring together is there. Doc McGhee as manager is there. A label looking to break em big is there.
And the band decided that quantity will breed quality.
Along with the album tracks, the band had written over 30 songs for the album. YouTube has a lot of videos up. Start with “The Basement Demos” and then move to the “Pre Production Demos”. A Whitesnake evolutions style mix is required here.
The biggest win for the Jovi team was the release month of August.
For that month it was up against Motorhead – “Orgasmatron”, Vinnie Vincent – “Invasion”, Warlock – “True As Steel” and Great White – “Shot In The Dark”.
If it was released in July, it would have been up against DLR’s – “Eat Em and Smile” for listeners’ attention.
If it was released in June, it would have had to compete against Queen – “A Kind of Magic”, Genesis – “Invisible Touch”, Rod Stewart – “Every Beat of My Heart”, Madonna – “True Blue” and Cinderella – “Night Songs”.
If it was released in May as originally intended, it would have been up against AC/DC – “Who Made Who”, Journey – “Raised on Radio” and Europe – “The Final Countdown”.
In other words, August was perfect.
“Let It Rock” kicks it off Side 1.
Like Loverboy’s “Working for The Weekend”, the song is about letting your hair down on the weekend.
And Fairbairn had a thing that the bands he worked with should have an intro that could kick off the concert.
“Shot through the heart and you’re to blame, darling you give love a bad name.”
Its overplayed now but iconic and unforgettable back then.
Then the band kicks in and Richie does the vocal melody on the guitar until they start the strip bar sleazy verse riff.
“You Give Love A Bad Name” was the one that opened the door and as soon as the band unleashed “Livin On A Prayer”, the album started selling 700,000 records a month.
I saw “Social Disease” as pure filler back then as I failed to appreciate the blues soul swing of the track. And it needed to be written so that “Bad Medicine” could be written.
So you telephone your doctor
Just to see what pill to take
You know there’s no prescription
Gonna wipe this one away
“Wanted Dead or Alive” was already a hit before it came out as a single. But the song didn’t reach number one because when the song was released as a single, the multi-million fan base had already digested it and made it their own.
“And the people I meet always go their separate ways”
“Raise Your Hands” kicks off side 2. The motto of this song is simply. Come to the show, raise your hands and get wild.
Raise your hands
When you want to let it go
Raise your hands
And you want to let a feeling show
“Without Love” is lost on the album behind all the great tracks.
“I’d Die for You” has a guitar riff that reminds me of “Breaking The Law” from Judas Priest.
“Never Say Goodbye” was too slow for me back then. It was many years later that I started to appreciate the song and that guitar melody from Richie is pretty cool to play.
Finally “Wild in the Street” closes the album with its 60s rock vibe.
“In here we got this code of honor
Nobody’s going down”
If you want to experience 1986, then crank “Slippery When Wet”.