It’s a new year and a new day, however for some insane reason I am listening to old music. I just back from a water theme park called Jamberoo Recreation Park on the south coast of New South Wales. Switched on the computer, went to YouTube and started listening to some Bon Jovi demos.
Jon Bon Jovi back in 2007, described the song writing process as different people getting together for different reasons to make one big soup. Everybody involved adds a little ingredient by taking a little piece of this and a little piece of that and a little piece of another thing.
RIVER OF LOVE
It never made the “New Jersey” album and it is a tragedy that it didn’t get fleshed out and recorded properly. It’s got a basic foot tapping riff that sticks with you from the outset. For those keen fans, you will hear the riff groove re-used in “Save A Prayer”.
“Pretend I’m Valentino and you’re the beauty queen
Pretend we’re in some movie instead of faded jeans”
Does “Captain Crash and The Beauty Queen” come to mind to anyone? Each Bon Jovi song tries to capture that message of escaping from your current surroundings.
“River of love and a full moon high”.
Even in its demo form it has warmth. The music needs no tricks if it’s real.
Listen to the “Raise Your Hands” reference in the interlude. You could write a whole song based on that riff. Wait, they already did. Progress is derivative.
By the way, this is nothing like the “Richie Sambora” version that appeared on his “Stranger In This Town” album.
JUDGEMENT DAY and GROWING UP THE HARD WAY
Both songs begin with that whole “Na Na NaNaNa” in the same vein as “Born To Be My Baby”, “Rosie” and “Hide Your Heart” from Kiss. Both songs also share the same riff. Both songs are written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora.
As with “River Of Love” these songs were recorded for the “New Jersey” album and they failed to make the cut. When a band is at their peak, they are able to churn out some great songs. The motivation is there to keep the machine rolling to see if the first round of success can be repeated. Writers from all walks of life also want to get their name in.
“On Judgement Day
You walk through the fire
Nowhere to run to, no one to blame
Hey, Hey, Hey
Winners and losers, sinners and users, will all have to pay
On Judgement Day”
What a great chorus. In the end, that is it, we all have to walk through the fire. If our life was lived to our expectations there is no one to blame except ourselves.
They should have kept “Born To Be My Baby” as an acoustic song and then brought in one of these songs into the mix, however that was not to be. Especially when the label decided against the double album idea put forth by the band.
In “Growing Up The Hard Way” the verse melody and the phrasing was re-used for a certain song called “Hey God”. Remember my catch cry, “Progress is derivative.”
“Growin’ up the hard way, learnin’ how to live with the pain,
The weight of the world on your shoulders,
I guess that’s just the price that you pay.
Growin’ up the hard way, it’s gettin’ harder every day,
Lying in a bed made of fire,
Praying to God for some rain.
Growin’ up the hard way.”
This song reminds of the saying, “you live and die by the bed you made”. The main characters in this song made choices. One ended up on the streets, running away from an abusive family and the other ended up at the morgue. Guess they didn’t learn how to live with the pain.
In relation to the three demos mentioned above, I really thought that they would have seen the light of day “officially” when Bon Jovi released “100,000,000 Fans Cant Be Wrong” Box Set.
IF I WAS YOUR MOTHER
It is written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. It’s a Bob Rock production so of course the sound is huge. Richie’s song writing input on the “Keep The Faith” album was limited as he was out touring on his solo record, however when he did contribute it was of high quality.
Man, this song is heavy and it has got some serious groove. What a great vocal melody. I saw them play it live on the “Keep The Faith Tour” and it rocked hard. The lyrical themes let this song down. The subject matter is weak and that is what stops it from being a powerhouse of a song.
On the Bon Jovi Vevo channel the song has had 482,316 views. Compared to other songs, it pales, however it is a cult favourite.
LETS MAKE IT BABY
“Let’s Make It Baby” reminds me of “The Doors”. It is written by the Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Desmond Child song writing team. It didn’t make the “New Jersey” album, however the bass line was used again in “Diamond Ring” (which was originally written for the “New Jersey” album however it was officially released on the “These Days” album.
“Lets Make It Baby” had to be written so that the Child, Sambora and Jovi could end up writing “Bad Medicine.” It was the stepping stone.
Various posts on the internet state that the original “New Jersey” album was supposed to have the following track list;
1. Love Is War
2. Let’s Make It Baby
3. Judgment Day
4. River of Love
5. Now and Forever
6. Growing Up the Hard Way
7. Does Anybody Really Fall in Love Anymore
1. Homebound Train
2. Wild Is the Wind
3. Living in Sin
4. Blood o Blood
5. Backdoor to Heaven
6. Love Hurts
7. Stick to Your Guns
8. Love for Sale
Of course it is absent of four dead set classics in “Lay Your Hands On Me”, “Bad Medicine”, “Born To Be My Baby” and “I’ll Be There For You”. Also missing is “99 In The Shade”.
There is an “unofficial” argument that happens in music circles. One side argues that it is all about “Quality Not Quantity” when it comes to songwriting, while the other side argues that “Quantity Makes Quality”. I sit on the side that argues that quantity makes quality and it is obvious that Bon Jovi also sits on that same side.
It is a derivative version of “I’ll Be There For You”. “Wedding Day” was written for the “These Days” album, however it didn’t make the final cut. As with “I Want You” similar themes from this song were also used for “Always”. It is written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora.
The song is like a sleeper demo hit on YouTube. Various channels have it up. One channel called “Bonjocifanlol” has 247,578 views for the song. Another channel called “Paganini Jovi” has 93,474 views. Another channel called “ladybonjovi2007” has 69,230 views. Combined this is 410,282 views from three YouTube channels. Compared to an officially released song, like “If I Was Your Mother” having only 482,316, the “Wedding Day” numbers are pretty good.
Then the comments from various YouTube users show their connection to the song:
One user wrote that their childhood sweetheart married another guy and they are now listening to the song and thinking of all the happy days they had, however there is a sadness in their soul right now.
Another user wrote that they got married to this song, which is bizarre as the song is not really a song to play on your wedding day as it talks about a lost love.
Some of the lyrics made it into another Bon Jovi song called “Janie Don’t Take Your Love To Town”.
“If I aint smart enough to say I’m sorry
Just because the words got in the way”
It is a song that deserves to be re-recorded and given the full production treatment. That is what Bon Jovi should do for 2014. Go back and flesh out some of these gems in the studio and share them with the fans each fortnight. I am sure there are 26 songs in the archives, that can get this treatment.