A to Z of Making It, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, Unsung Heroes

Desmond Child

If you grew up on hard rock music from the late seventies to the mid 90’s, you need to listen to this podcast on Desmond Child. He’s one of this songwriters behind the biggest hard rock songs.

He formed a band called “Night Child” and changed his name to Desmond Child. He was in the band “Rouge” and Paul Stanley saw em live after seeing the flyer on a telegraph post in NYC. No other connection, just a flyer. After the show, Stanley and Child spoke and agreed to write a song together, which became “I Was Made For Loving You”.

Child turned up to SIR studios. Kiss are rehearsing. The other band members break for lunch and Stanley and Child sit around a grand piano and the shell of the song is written. Then Stanley took it and finished the song with Vini Ponica. In between writing it and before it came out, Child had no other contact with the band until it came out. And when Child heard it, it was better than what he ever expected, which goes to show how a band performance can take a simple demo and make it sound like Kiss.

Like it or not, it’s the most played song from Kiss on Spotify and for me “Dynasty” is one of those albums I had on LP and played to death and really like.

“Heavens On Fire” was the song that hooked Jon Bon Jovi, which Jovi sort of rewrote and called “In And Out Of Love”. Think of the Chorus “In and out of love” and “feel my heat”. Paul Stanley also told Child to write with Jovi and Sambora because Jovi was opening for Kiss and they are good guys. Again, if you grew up in the 80’s there was no escaping these songs.

In between this period, he did an apprenticeship with Bob Crewe (a song writer behind massive 60’s and 70’s hits) for 2 years, sort of like how all the great painters and composers from the past did apprenticeships with the great painters and composers before them. And Crewe told him, you cannot start writing a song, until you have a KILLER title. And then you write the lyrics to the Chorus first. Because that would tell you what the verses would be like. Child and Crewe wrote 38 songs together but nothing came out of them and he got a deal with Epic Records as a solo artist which fizzled out.

But before he started to work with Jovi, Child got a call from Jim Steinman who was working with Bonnie Tyler, and he wrote a song called “If You Were A Woman And I Was A Man”. The song was only a hit in France and Child was pissed that it wasn’t a worldwide hit because he new he had a hook and an awesome riff verse.

Child was still living off the royalties from “I Was Made For Loving You”.

So Child goes to Richie Sambora’s parents house in Jersey to write with Richie and Jon in the damp and musty laundry room.

And Child walked in with a killer title, “You Give Love A Bad Name”. He told the guys the title, and Jon Bon Jovi, delivered that million dollar smile. Jovi was sold on the title and he mentioned to Child how he had a song called “Shot Through The Heart” and the hook was good, so he wanted to reuse it. And like that, Jovi said “Shot through the heart and your to blame” and all three of them said, “You give love a bad name” in unison. The vocal melody is the same as the Bonnie Tyler cut and the verse riff is the same as the Bonnie cut.

That was the only song written that day and another session was organised in NYC where “Livin On A Prayer” was written, along with “Edge Of A Broken Heart” and one more. They also wrote a song called “We All Sleep Alone” which Jovi said was more of a feminine song and it ended up with Cher. Child mentions how Bruce Fairbairn’s production brought the songs to life and he knew they had a good album with good songs, but no one knew how it was going to translate commercially.

But he did mention how everyone from band management, label reps and distributors and MTV were all on board and aligned to push this album.

After, he started getting calls to write songs for other artists, but he couldn’t get a producer gig and he wanted to write songs and produce the song/record. It’s how he got the Alice Cooper “Trash” record. Alice Cooper’s team wanted the songs, Child stuck to his guns and said if you want my songs, you also hire me as a producer and Alice Cooper did and was back in the charts. He started working with Aerosmith because of the one and only John Kalodner. The “Done With Mirrors” album was a commercial dud, and Kalodner wanted an outside writer.

Tyler and Perry played him a guitar loop and Tyler sang the hook, “Cruising for the ladies”. Child told them it was terrible. Then Tyler said, when he was originally singing that hook, it was “Dude Looks Like A Lady” and all cylinders fired for Child, because the title had that sense of irony he was used to from his Bob Crewe days. And Vince Neil is that dude who looked like the lady but that was already old news. “Angel” was the next song written and Child was one of the first outside writers to write with Aerosmith.

But Child still wanted to be the star. He made an album called “Discipline” in 1991 but it did nothing and he felt it was because he wasn’t honest with himself.

Child did a catalogue sale in 1996 to Polygram Publishing, who now “own” the bulk of the songs he wrote from 1996 and before.

For Child, it was hard to find work at this time, as most of the bands he worked with were doing best off records and Child was basically broke. Imagine that, the co-writer of the biggest songs in the last decade was broke.

And then he got an offer to sell his catalogue. So Child sold, the writers and publishers share to Polygram and kept the performance royalty. The money from this sale allowed Child to pay off his debts, build a studio, start the next phase of his career, produce bands and take risks with other songs and to this day he still has money left over from that sale.

There are a lot of stories. And there was a period that if I saw a song on an album with Desmond Child as a co-writer, I would buy it. Because the dude had proved himself, over and over again.

The whole pod cast is 2 hours long. Here is the Spotify link.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Everyone Is Trying To Twist The Narrative To Their Own Advantage.

So Desmond Child is telling the world that Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and himself had to split a total of $110 in 2012 for the 6.5 million streams of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” on Pandora during a three-month span in 2012. Pandora’s published rate is about .0013 cents per stream. So doing the math, that means that “Livin On A Prayer” actually earned $8,450 for that three-month spell on Pandora. If that is true, that means that the songwriters are getting about 1.3% of the monies paid to the record labels.

Daniel Ek claims that Spotify will pay $6 million to Taylor Swift from worldwide streams. Swift’s label, claims that is a lie and that they received less than $500,000 for the streams. However what the label is forgetting to say is that the amount is for US streams only.

And Spotify argues that it is competing with free/piracy, while the artists side argue about Spotify not paying enough. They are two different arguments that have no correlation with each other whatsoever. When are people going to realise that Spotify doesn’t sell music, it provides access to it. And consumers like it, otherwise Spotify wouldn’t be starting to overtake iTunes in some markets.

Rob Zombie once upon a time hated copyright infringement and now he reckons it makes him more creative as he doesn’t have to write songs that fit a sales metric.

Lars Ulrich is now reserved and diplomatic in his responses to music piracy or copyright infringement. Maybe it is because he knows that if it wasn’t for music piracy, Metallica wouldn’t be playing sold out shows in China or the Middle East and some South East Asian countries.

Scott Ian wanted the people who downloaded the “Worship Music” album to be disconnected from the internet, even though they could have been fans who ended up purchasing a concert ticket and an over-priced T-shirt.

Gene Simmons famously said that downloaders/fans should be sued and also have their houses taken from them. He said that rock is dead because of piracy. Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul Stanley, Joe Perry and others agreed with him. Many others didn’t.

Internet Radio station Sirius XM is going to lose its case over pre-1972 sound recordings by the band The Turtles. The shameful part here is that the recording industry fought hard against making pre-1972 recordings fought hard against this. The hypocrisy here is huge. While the recording industry has fought so hard against making pre-1972 sound recordings subject to federal copyright laws, now they suddenly want aspects of federal copyright law (like public performance rights which did not exist under previous laws) to apply to those very same works. If Congress made it so those works were under federal copyright, there wouldn’t be an issue and all these works would be treated identically. But the truth is that the RIAA wants to keep these works out of federal copyright law to use them as a weapon against internet innovation.

Sony is re-evaluating it’s support for free streaming, however as a part owner of Spotify, I find it hard to believe that they will pull their catalogue from the free-tier.

Everyone is trying to twist the narrative to their own advantage.

Everybody has an angle.

And what about the musicians.

The hardest challenge facing musicians is getting people to listen to their new music and then getting them to stick around once the album because those big marketing awareness campaigns are goneski. It’s proven that they don’t work if the music is shit and the narrative is shit.

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Hey Stoopid

Once upon a time we purchased albums based on recommendations by the rock press. Otherwise we had no idea what they sounded like until we broke the shrink-wrap and dropped the needle. Oftentimes we were surprised. For the “Hey Stoopid” album, I bought the album based on my expectations of what Alice Cooper would do after “Trash”.

Alice Copper had a string of hit albums in the Seventies. Towards the end of the decade and in the early Eighties his output was of a poor standard. Then he started to gain some momentum with two very underrated releases in “Constrictor” and “Raise Your Fist and Yell” which set him up for the massive mainstream comeback with “Trash” in 1989 and it’s hit single “Poison”. For the dummies, “Trash” was his Eighteenth studio album. Yep, Alice’s career at that point in time was eighteen albums deep.

So when it came time to record the follow-up to “Trash” another star-studded cast was assembled.

In the record label controlled era, the label wanted to achieve the same sales as the “Trash” album or more. Anything else would be deemed a failure. So a lot of cash was thrown at every body. Advance payments got paid to the songwriters, producers and engineers upfront in exchange for any future royalties earned from the album.

The whole album is like the “Super Session” formula conceived by Al Kooper. Back in 1968, Al Kooper got guitarists Mike Bloomfield and Stephen Still to play on Side One and Two respectively of a record and all they did was cover songs. Imagine that formula today. Put someone like Zakk Wylde in a room with Jared Leto and let them hash out a few covers. Then get someone like Billy Howerdel and Justin Timberlake to hash out a few more.

The Alice Cooper “Hey Stoopid” experiment takes it to a different level in every department.

The Song Writing Club

Alice Cooper is the main lyrical force. However he is not alone. Check out the list of songwriter partners.

Bob Pfeifer was an executive at Epic Records who signed Cooper to the label plus a former musician.

Jack Ponti has a long story in the music business. Originally a guitarist and his origins go back to the late seventies/early eighties New Jersey club band called “The Rest” that also had a young Jon Bon Jovi in it. The band ended up scraping enough cash to get Billy Squier involved and in the end he did nothing to push the band. Eventually the members went their separate ways.

A song that Ponti and Jovi wrote called “Shot Through The Heart” ended up on the Bon Jovi debut album released in 1984, as well as Surgin’s debut album “When Midnight Comes” released in 1985. Of course Surgin was the next band that Ponti became involved in.

Vic Pepe is another songwriter. Actually, Ponti and Pepe are the two guys that went back and did their homework on the early Alice stuff especially “Killer” and “Love It To Death” era Alice.

Lance Bulen and Kelly Keeling from the band Baton Rouge (who of course had Jack Ponti and Vic Pepe as songwriters) make an appearance as songwriters. At this point in time, Baton Rogue had two commercially disappointing albums, however the song writing team of Ponti, Pepe, Bulen and Keeling became formidable enough to lend their talents to Alice Cooper and Bonfire.

The super talented guitarist Al Pitrelli writes one song. What a music business story Al has.

Dick Wagner was back. Yep, the same Dick Wagner that co-wrote “Only Women Bleed” with Cooper back in the mid Seventies for the “Welcome to My Nightmare”.

Zodiac Mindwarp, Ian Richardson and Nick Coler lent their talents to “Feed My Frankenstein”.

Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue co-write a song and also contributed their talents on a few other songs.

Jim Vallance from Bryan Adams and Aerosmith fame is on hand to lend a hand.

Of course, the person that orchestrated the “Tras”h comeback, Desmond Child also makes an appearance.

The Producer

Peter Collins is on hand to produce having recently worked with Saraya, and notably, Rush and Queensryche. This time around, Alice Cooper wanted a sonic producer. On previous albums he wanted producers who were also song masters, somebody who could tell Alice what worked and what didn’t. That is why Bob Ezrin fit in perfectly with Alice Cooper.

“Hey Stoopid”

It’s written by Alice Cooper, Vic Pepe, Jack Ponti and Bob Pfeifer. Slash and Ozzy Osbourne make an appearance. Hard to believe that the song got no traction. Even today, on YouTube has the song at 482,974 views. Which is nothing in the grand scheme of things. On Spotify, it has a better 1,114,461 streams.

Cooper was inspired to write “Hey Stoopid” from reading sporadic mail from fans that all started to have a similar sounding theme. The title track is an anthem in the same way that ‘School’s Out’ or ‘Elected’ are and it should be heralded as such by Alice’s new generation of fans.

“Love’s a Loaded Gun”

It’s written by Alice Cooper, Vic Pepe and Jack Ponti. It’s got that “I’m Eighteen” feel and on YouTube has it at 2,268,116 views.

“Snakebite”

The sound of the rattlesnake sets the tone for the sleazy lyrics and melodies to come. It’s written by Alice Cooper, Vic Pepe, Jack Ponti, Bob Pfeifer, Lance Bulen and Kelly Keeling from the band Baton Rogue.

“Burning Our Bed”

It’s written by Alice Cooper, Al Pitrelli, Bob Pfeifer and Steve West. Joe Satriani makes an appearance.

“Dangerous Tonight”

It is an Alice Cooper and Desmond Child composition but this time is sleazy and dirty.

“Might as Well Be on Mars”

It’s written by Alice Cooper, Dick Wagner and Desmond Child. Of course it’s got that “Only Women Bleed” inspired guitar line.

“Feed My Frankenstein”

It’s written by Alice Cooper, Zodiac Mindwarp, Ian Richardson and Nick Coler.

Joe Satriani and Steve Vai communicate musically with each other throughout the song. Nikki Sixx lays down a bass groove and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark adds her sultry voice to proceedings.

“Hurricane Years”

It’s written by Alice Cooper, Vic Pepe, Jack Ponti and Bob Pfeifer. Guitarist virtuoso Vinnie Moore makes an appearance. ‘Hurricane Years’ rips off the ‘Teenage Frankenstein’ riff but it is still a powerful track in its own right,

“Little by Little”

It’s written by Alice Cooper, Vic Pepe, Jack Ponti and Bob Pfeifer. Joe Satriani is back adding his magic.

“Die for You”

It’s written by Alice Cooper, Mick Mars, Nikki Sixx and Jim Vallance. Mick Mars makes an appearance on the song.

“Dirty Dreams”

It’s written by Alice Cooper, Bob Pfeifer and Jim Vallance. Vinnie Moore adds his talents to the song again. It’s classic sleaze ridden Alice.

“Wind-Up Toy”

It’s written by Alilce Cooper, Vic Pepe, Jack Ponti and Bob Pfeifer. “Hey Stoopid”, “Feed My Frankenstein” and “Loves A Loaded Gun” got the most airplay. But they were not the best tracks on the album. It’s this song. It’s a classic and equally as good as its predecessor in “Steven”. I remember one reviewer describing it as a haunting carousel ride.

“It Rained All Night”

It was a Japanese Release Bonus Track and it’s written by Alilce Cooper and Desmond Child. The first time I heard this track was today.

Alice Cooper had about fifty songs written for this record. Songs were written with the guys from Skid Row that didn’t even make it onto the album.

Then you look at the who’s who roster of quality musicians that also played on the album.

Stef Burns did most of the guitar tracks.

Hugh McDonald played bass. I believe it was his last studio gig before becoming Bon Jovi’s payroll bass player.

Mickey Curry is on drums who came from Bryan Adams and played with “The Cult”.

John Webster is on keyboards and he is part of that Bob Rock and Bruce Fairbairn crew.

Then you look at the calibre of musicians that made up his touring band.

Eric Singer was on drums. Of course he would go to become Kiss’s mainstay drummer

Derek Sherinian was on keyboards. Of course he would go on to join Dream Theater and eventually move on to a solo career.

Stef Burns from Y&T and Shrapnel guitar virtuoso Vinnie Moore stepped up as the touring guitarists.

Greg Smith, Vinnie Moore’s bass player became the new bassist.

Alice Cooper was one of the biggest rock stars of his day. Today the youth of the world might find that hard to believe, however his output and constant musical rebirths have just added to his legend.

Listen to it and re-evaluate.

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Copyright, Derivative Works, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Bonfire – Fireworks

When I heard the “Fireworks” album from Bonfire I got the impression that they were superstars already. The album to me is a definitive piece of hard rock, melodic rock, heavy metal and euro metal all merged into one cohesive package.

I had a friend who had a friend who had a friend that made me a copy of the album on cassette. I had no idea who was in the band, who wrote the songs, who produced it and on what label it was on.

What I did know was the music. And the music was great. It brought Bonfire from the minors into the majors for me. And as much as the press labeled them overnight sensations, overnight sensations they were not.

Claus Lessman and Hans Ziller started to work together in a band called Cacumen in 1978. “Fireworks” came out in 1987. Yep, this overnight sensation was nine years in the making. And to top it off, “Fireworks” was Bonfire’s second album, and if you add the releases from Cacumen, this overnight sensation was a five album veteran.

And here is one for those copyright maximalist. In the late nineties, Lessman and Ziller had a six-year legal battle to get back the album copyrights of their pre-Bonfire band Cacumen. The court case finished up in 2004, with a win to them.

Yep, the companies that originally released the Cacumen albums ceased to exist. They did nothing with the music while they existed. However the people who still worked at those companies held the copyrights for those releases instead of the songwriters in the band. And when the band wanted them back, they fought tooth and nail to keep them.

I can hear people asking what is the sense for holding the copyright of albums and not releasing them?

The answer is plain and simple. GREED. The record label owners were waiting for someone to come and give them enormous loads of money for the Cacumen albums they still controlled. Thank god the courts saw in Bonfire’s favour.

The band for the release consisted of Claus Lessmann on vocals, Hans Ziller and Horst Maier-Thorn on guitar and Jörg Deisinger on bass.

Who you say?

That was exactly the same thing that I said when I found out the band member names.

“Ready 4 Reaction” and “Never Mind” are a great one/two punch to kick off the album. This is what the Eighties album delivered once upon a time. That knockout one/two punch. The great albums delivered even more knockout punches on subsequent tracks and to be honest Bonfire delivered a great album.

Both songs are composed by the band members and you get that Euro Metal Scorpions/MSG vibe immediately.

The lead break and the harmonies in “Ready 4 Reaction” provided an instant connection to me. How good is Hans Ziller. The Eighties was the era of the guitar hero. While other guitarists took the limelight and the instructional tape offers, Hans Ziller let the music do the talking.

Michael Wagener’s production is also crisp and clear.

If you are a fan of music that like genre’s “Ready 4 Reaction” well here is a new one for you, melodic speed metal.

Then the tempo goes into rock territory for “Never Mind” with the pinch harmonics riff that gives Zakk Wylde a challenge for who can do better pinch harmonics. And that lead break is another powerful piece of composition.

“Sleeping All Alone” and “Sweet Obsession” are both written by a songwriting committee like the current songs that make up the top 40 pop charts. Jack Ponti and Joe Lynn Turner this time are included as songwriters along with the four band members.

“Champion”

Some people hate him
but a winner never quits
when he’s rollin’ he’s a one man blitz – look out

Aint that the truth. Everyone hates a winner, thinking that it should have been them instead. People always think that they had the better song, the better look, the better story and so on. But the reason why people win, is that they never stop.

In the end, Bonfire was one of the thousands of bands that signed contracts stacked against them and of course they got ripped off. If you have read any interview with Hans Ziller and Clauss Lessman, they say the same. A small consolation is that Bonfire was not the only band who were ripped off. But it took its toll and Hans Ziller left the band in 1989.

And one more mention as it is not on an official Bonfire album.

Sword and Stone

It’s written by Desmond Child, Paul Stanley and Bruce Kulick. By the late eighties, Desmond Child was rock royalty. Riding high on the charts with hit songs from Bon Jovi, Aerosmith and Kiss.

“Sword and Stone” sounds like a lot of other songs that came before it and a lot of songs that came after sound like it, but, man, I tell ya, there is something about this song that just makes me play it on a regular basis.

You can hear the “Crazy Crazy Nights” and “Hot In The Shade” pop metal stylings in this song. It was originally a demo for the KISS album “Crazy Nights”. Paul Dean from Loverboy also used the song for his “Hardcore” album. But the Bonfire version is the one that I like.

It appeared on the “Shocker” soundtrack which to be honest is a pretty wicked soundtrack and having “Timeless Love” from Saraya coming after “Sword and Stone” it was another one/two punch.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

Semi Obscure Bon Jovi Songs – Part 3

Bon Jovi are consistent ticket sellers, because the Generation X’s want to go. Some want to remember their youth, while others want to contemplate who they once were and who they have come to be and what a long twisted journey it has been to today. Along the way, music has been the soundtrack to many lives. Continuing on from the Semi-Obscure theme, here is the third list of songs from Bon Jovi that fail to get the attention they deserve.

DAMNED

It has a soul like funky blues groove very similar to what Lenny Kravitz was putting out. It is a Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi composition. The theme of the song didn’t resonate with the audience. Jon Bon Jovi was a married man, with children, so when he sings a song about having a secret love for someone, it just didn’t sit right. However, the vocal melody is strong and the music is great, he just needed better words.

“These Days” from 1995 is a very misunderstood album, released in a very confusing time. Hard/Glam rock as we knew it was dead, Grunge was fading and alternative rock was rising, along with a form of industrial rock/metal. Death Metal was at its peak, black metal was rising and thrash as we knew it was more or less non-existent with all the thrash bands delivering commercial sounding albums.

So while a lot of Bon Jovi’s counterparts (the ones that were not broken up) released heavier sounding albums, Bon Jovi went the opposite and released a slower and reflective album, furnished with a few rockers and a lot of ballads. Two things are evident throughout “These Days”.

One is the blues and the other is the Americana style of music made famous by Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Hank Williams and so on.

LOVE IS WAR

It is written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. Of course it sounds like “You Give Love A Bad Name” because Jon tried really hard to create the same vibe and the same kind of hit. Is that a bad thing? Maybe. Maybe Not. Even “Bad Medicine” sounds like “You Give Love A Bad Name”.

“Love Is War” deserved to be officially released. If you haven’t heard it, go to YouTube, the unofficial streaming service. You will find it there. It has just over 29,000 views. The numbers are nothing compared to the “hits”.

Coming into the “New Jersey” writing phase (which at one stage was the “Sons Of Beaches” writing phase), 9 million copies of “Slippery When Wet” were sold, between 1986 and 1988 in the U.S. The pressure was on to repeat “Slippery When Wet”.

I know my silence tears you up inside
You built a fortress for your hurt to hide
You think you’ve won, but it’s a tie
’cause nobody wins a war of pride

It is the stand-off, where it is better to agree than disagree and both sides believe they have come out on top.

I’D DIE FOR YOU

“Slippery When Wet” was a monster of an album. Carrying three dead set classics, it was easy for the other songs to get missed. “I’d Die For You” is written by the Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Desmond Child song writing team.

While, “Livin On A Prayer” and “You Give Love A Bad Name” took all the glory from this song writing team, the deeper cuts on side 2 are not to be ignored, especially the fan favourite “I’d Die For You”.

It’s got that Judas Priest “Breaking The Law” guitar line. Did anyone pick up on that? Remember my catch cry, progress is derivative.

Today, people are always telling me to lower my expectations and accept albums that are nowhere near as good as what came before. When something connects with me, it rekindles my faith in music.

The Night Flight Orchestra did that in 2012, with “Internal Affairs”. Protest The Hero did that in 2013 with “Volition”. Evergrey did that in 2011 with “Glorious Collision”. Machine Head did that in 2007 with “The Blackening”. Motley Crue did that in 2008 with “Saints Of Los Angeles”. Dream Theater did that in 2009 with “Black Clouds and Silver Linings” and One Less Reason did that in 2010 with “Faces and Four Letter Words”. Great music that makes you want to live forever, just to see what comes next.

That’s the power of a hit record and there was no bigger hit than “Slippery When Wet” in the Eighties for rock and metal music. Also a “hit” is not something that an a record label rep markets to death so that it can chart for a month or two and is then forgotten. No, a hit record infects the soul, like a virus that can never be treated. It lives with us forever.

As Robb Flynn sang in “Darkness Within”, “Pray to music, build a shrine, worship in these desperate times, fill your heart with every note, cherish it and cast a float.”

That is the power of music and that is the power of “Slippery When Wet”. On YouTube, “I’d Die For You” is a cult hit. The fan’s have taken the song and made their own film clips, lyric videos and so on. Add all the views together and you get close to 2 million views.

Jon Bon Jovi wasn’t married in 1986, when “Slippery When Wet” was released.

I’d die for you
I’d cry for you
I’d do anything
I’d lie for you
You know it’s true
Baby I’d die for you

Is he singing “I’d Die For You” to his future wife?

MY GUITAR LIES BLEEDING IN MY ARMS

Do you wanna know what is the difference between Bon Jovi and the wannabes? The delivery. We had no doubt that Jon Bon Jovi had lived his stories. This is the power of rock and roll. It doesn’t have to be heavy, or fast or bluesy. It can be a slow-moving ballad. It can be a sound. The title is a take on the George Harrison classic, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.

You see, when done right, music brings us together. It touches something that can’t be described and that is the essence of life. And others are out there also feeling that same connection. That is why we become fans.

I can’t write a love song the way I feel today
I can’t sing no song of hope, I got nothing to say
Life is feeling kind of strange, since you went away
I sing this song to you wherever you are
As my guitar lies bleeding in my arms

It is a depressing song dealing with a conflicted front man.

“Keep The Faith” was classified as a failure by the critics and the press as it “only” moved 2 million copies. In 1992, thousands of other bands would have moved heaven and earth to have sales of 2 million.

He tried out his “Jambco” record label that also released records from Billy Falcon and Aldo Nova. That venture was also classed a failure. The records from both Billy Falcon and Aldo Nova didn’t really click up the sales either and Jon Bon Jovi played important roles in both of them, as a song writer and as a producer. So hearing this song come out of him in 1995, it resonates.

ONLY LONELY

It is written by Jon Bon Jovi and David Bryan.

This is back to an innocent time when musicians were not so much wannabe fame and money mongers, but musical fanatics. You can hear the New Jersey synth sounds in this. The Bon Jovi VEVO channel has this song at 1,251,542 views. Other channels have lyric videos and their own fan clips, plus live performances.

The bottom line is this; it is a fan favourite. Like “I’d Die For You”, could it be about someone in particular.

“Only lonely — I can’t stop hurting you
Only lonely — but I can’t stop loving you
Only lonely — how much pain does it take”

THE PRICE OF LOVE

It is written by Jon Bon Jovi.

The Jon Bon Jovi of today portrays himself as a winner, whereas in the Eighties and early Nineties era he revealed his inner turmoil and demons and we loved him for it because we identified!

“We live, we learn, we lie
For the price of love
We kiss then say goodbye
For the price of love”

Aint that the truth. It’s like the movie “Groundhog Day”. We relive what love is until we get it right.

WITHOUT LOVE

“Without Love” is written by the Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Desmond Child song writing team.

When a person is singing about finding a person that loves them and not being able to keep it, then they would rather be without love.

“I see my life
There’s some things I took for granted
Love’s passed me by
So many second chances
I was afraid
But I won’t be afraid no more”

Fear is the biggest killer of dreams and hopes.

BURNING FOR LOVE

It is written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. When I hear this song, it reminds me of Muse as the progression is very similar to the progressions that Muse employs.

As with all of the earlier stuff, Sambora goes to town during the lead breaks, showcasing his abilities as a melodic shredder. He never went too over the top, always focusing on enhancing the song, instead of enhancing his ego.

RIVER RUNS DRY

It is a Jon Bon Jovi and Desmond Child composition that begins as a derivative version of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” which was also copied from a certain French band called Tarkus that opened up for Led Zeppelin at one point in time. Remember, progress is derivative.

SAVE A PRAYER

No one knows this song even exist, but they should. It deals with the theme of saving a prayer for when a person needs it. To save a prayer for when a person has gone through some bad moments.

Did you ever feel like you were drowning,
did you ever feel betrayed by a kiss?
Did you ever feel like you needed somebody,
would you feel alone in a world like this?
Did you ever feel like you needed shelter,
did you ever laugh when you wanted to cry?
Did you ever dream about evolution,
don’t you ever feel like your living a lie?

Jon gets the words right and nails it. Who hasn’t felt any of the above emotions and feelings?

Oh, Whoa, too many children grow up blind to the truth.
I say, Oh Oh, Oh, Oh,
say a prayer for me,
I’ll save a prayer for you.

We live in an age where everything is at our fingertips. Don’t take everything that you read as the truth. Investigate and research it. Come up with your own conclusions.

After re-reading all of the above, I noticed that i have subconsciously sequenced the songs into an album format. So I set up a playlist, put on the headphones, kicked back and enjoyed this special Bon Jovi album.

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A to Z of Making It, Alternate Reality, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

Semi Obscure Bon Jovi Songs – Part 2

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;
Disc 1
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
8. Rosie
Disc 2
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.

WEDDING DAY

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.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

Semi Obscure Bon Jovi Songs – Part 1

Bon Jovi did big business at the box office this year. During the turmoil of Sambora’s departure, Jon Bon Jovi said that he is not beholden to anyone and that the show will go on. This view point was even more evident when the final Australian leg of the tour was renamed to “Because We Did” from “Because We Can”.

I remember watching them at the recent Sydney show and thinking, man it would be so cool if they brought some of their more obscure songs and made a real night of it. The running time for the show was just over two and a half hours. So I started thinking about some semi-obscure tracks. Then again, are there really any obscure Bon Jovi tracks. Of course everyone knows the singles and even some of those songs have now slipped into obscurity and the radio platforms never go deep enough when they curate their playlists.

THE HARDEST PART IS THE NIGHT

Written by Jon Bon Jovi, David Bryan and Richie Sambora. It is from the “7800 Degrees Fahrenheit” album released in 1985.

What makes the track is the synths however there is still that Richie Sambora grit with some tasty virtuoso guitar work in the metallic interlude and solo section.

And let’s not forget the harmonies. This is what the album experience is all about. I’ve never heard “The Hardest Part Is The Night” anywhere else except in my own comfort. Then I saw a live performance video clip of it on the “Breakout” video and it cemented itself as a favourite. Yes, we live in a world of Top Forty charts that focus on the songs that moguls believe are hits however ask anybody and they will tell that the non-hit tracks from an album had as much impact as the “hits”.

“Your just a pawn in a losing game
You lose at life it aint no game”

This theme of working hard and still struggling in life would be done to multi-platinum success with “Livin On A Prayer” and “Born To Be My Baby”. This is where it all started. The main character is battling to succeed however he is just a pawn in a losing game.

“Stay alive, the hardest part is the night”

This is when you lay in bed and you just can’t sleep. Things at work could be worrying you, financial matters could be worrying you, health issues could be worrying you. This is when we contemplate, in the night, laying there in the dark.

The hardest part is the night, as we torture ourselves mentally.

Listen to how Sambora plays the Chorus riff. It is a technique that he will employ again in “Edge of a Broken Heart” and “I’d Die For You”.

It is up on YouTube on various channels. The “LoveYouAlec” channel has 192,509 views. The “bonjovi608” channel has 51,236 views. Numerous other channels also have different versions up.

What do the YouTube stats tell me? It is telling me that the song is slowly slipping into obscurity. Even though it has a small fan base that connects with it, compared to other numbers that Bon Jovi are achieving, this song is in the nose bleeds section of the stadium.

SHOT THROUGH THE HEART’

From the debut album released in 1984. “Runaway” took most of the glory as it became a radio staple however to me “Shot Through The Heart” was the reason why I got into Bon Jovi. They even used the title in the “You Give Love A Bad Name” chorus. When I first heard “You Give Love A Bad Name” I came in halfway through, so I thought the song was called “Shot Through The Heart”, so when I went to purchase the album, I saw the “Slippery When Wet” album first and it didn’t have a song on it called “Shot Through The Heart”. I picked up the debut album and saw it on there, so I purchased that instead.

It was written by Jon Bon Jovi and Jack Ponti. Jack Ponti was the guitarist in the band “The Rest” that also featured a very young Jon Bon Jovi on vocals. Despite having some serious endorsements from Southside Johnny and Billy Squier, the band failed to obtain a recording contract and split up. Is the song a leftover from those days?

In an interview with The Aquarian website, this is what Ponti had to say on “The Rest”.

“It was too much time spent on the edge of making it that lead to the frustration and ultimate breakup. It was an important part in the development of my career and Jon Bon Jovi’s career.”

In a separate interview on the Dry County website, this is what Ponti had to say about “Shot Through The Heart.”

“Jon and I remained friends after the Rest. He came over and said “I want to write a song with the title, Shot Through The Heart”, so we did. He was getting songs together for his demo. I know it was over 29 years ago because my wife was pregnant and my daughter is 29. It was written in NJ of course, Toms River to be exact. I think the hook was stronger than on the record, but it’s fine. It’s an important song for both Jon and me in many ways. All your songs are like your children.”

Jack Ponti of course would go on to write with a string of other artists and went on a platinum/Grammy winning home run multiple times.

The track has this infectious piano riff. As the track soldiers it becomes more powerful, especially during the chorus. Again Sambora goes to town in this song, showing his melodic chops.

When you go on YouTube and search for “Shot Through The Heart” the first video that comes back is the official clip of “You Give Love A Bad Name” that has 42,667,226 views on the Bon Jovi Vevo channel.

However, the song “Shot Through The Heart” from the self-titled debut album has the following numbers on different user channels. User “Chris R” has the song at 355,075 views. User “bobjovilover98” has the song at 182,818 views. User “bobsnidery” has the song at 219,479 views. User “xxis16” has the song at 157,683 views. User “ichigo6232” has the song at 123,763 views. User “The Music4Life01” has the song at 148,540 views. It total, 1,187,358 views.

It was good to see the song get some concert time during “The Circle” tour.

HOMEBOUND TRAIN

It’s written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora and it’s got this heavy blues rock swagger that just makes it connect.

On “Slippery When Wet” it all came together for Bon Jovi and suddenly they were playing arenas and in some cases stadiums. Then with New Jersey, what can I say. If you were in Australia in the summer of ‘88, “New Jersey” played from every car and every house window. This song came from left field. It was on “New Jersey” released in 1988 and sandwiched amongst all the top 10 singles in “Bad Medicine”, “Born To Be My Baby” and “I’ll Be There For You.”

The track is good but the magic is at the three minute mark when it goes into this Elvis Presley meets James Brown meets Rolling Stones vibe. The guitar drops out and it is the bass and drums that keep the groove going and Jon does a few voice impersonations, while Sambora keeps it funky and they build up the song again when Jon keeps singing “Here I Come”. The interlude is filled with church organ and harmonica lead breaks.

On “The Circle” tour, “Homebound Train” came back into the mix with Richie Sambora on vocals. It is a fitting tribute as Richie is the main creating force on this song. Go on YouTube and watch the band have some fun rocking out to it.

“When I was just a boy
The devil took my hand
Took me from my home
He made me a man”

It’s that whole Robert Johnson legend again. It’s also playing on the term that “Rock N Roll” is the devils music. Listening to the music and letting it take you away. The power of music when done right.

STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN

It’s got this “Rock N Roll Aint Noise Pollution” style intro. This song was released as a bonus track on the Australian version of “Keep The Faith” along with the very U2ish sounding “Save A Prayer”. It is another song written by the Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Desmond Child song writing team

“I been waiting
Standing in the dark of hours
Trying to find the faith and the power
To get back home to you”

It’s got that loneliness vibe that we all feel when we get homesick. “Starting All Over Again” was written after the marathon “New Jersey” tour that more or less happened straight after the marathon “Slippery When Wet” tour.

Jon really throws his voice out in this song and it nails the emotion perfectly. You feel the pain of the constant album/tour cycle that he was on since 1983 to 1990.

“Do you remember
Remember the odds we were given
When we had nothing
And we thought that was living”

Once Bon Jovi made it, the haters came out. When everything gets bigger, the hate is bigger. For a musician to make it in the music business, the odds are really stacked against them.

First and foremost, back in 1983, bands needed to get that record deal to get their music out. So, getting signed is one obstacle. Then once you get signed, it doesn’t mean the record label will give you the all clear to go in and record. They could reject all the demos. That is another obstacle. Once you make a record, it doesn’t mean that people will hear it. That all depends on marketing and word of mouth recommendations. That is another obstacle. Once people hear it, it doesn’t mean that they will like it as all art is subjective. That is another obstacle.

Bon Jovi by album number three overcame all of these obstacles and created a fan base that borrowed from all kinds of genres. When you think of cultural icons, Bon Jovi (the band) is one of them. You also need to remember that just because Bon Jovi had a record deal, it didn’t mean that he had money. When Richie and Jon started to write songs for Slippery When Wet, they were still living with their parents and owed their record label $500,000. Like the lyric states “When we had nothing and we thought that was living.”

“Here’s to our old friend
Who helped us get by
Here’s to the dreamers
May dreams never die
If we believe
We can keep the good times alive”

Let’s have a drink in celebration to all of the people that assisted and let’s have another drink to all the people that are trying to make it. In a way, “Don’t Stop Believin”. If YouTube is a sign of virality then this song has none. Like “The Hardest Part Is The Night” it is slowly being forgotten. For a lot of Bon Jovi fans, they haven’t even heard it.

THE RADIO SAVED MY LIFE TONIGHT

Another tune written for the “Keep The Faith” album that never made it. It is written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora.

It’s got that major key vibe and it connects with my youth as a regional city kid with dreams. Putting on the radio to listen to the latest in rock. To buy all the music that I like was expensive, so I always purchased blank cassettes and kept my finger ready on the record button to record the latest song.

The radio gave me and many others the freedom and the opportunity to enjoy the music that we liked. This was before advertisers and shareholders strangled it to death by creating playlists based on who pays the most.

“I tried to sleep but in my mind I heard that song
Like a friend in need, the melody keeps me hanging on”

I always went to sleep with music roaming in my headspace. Once a melody captures the imagination, it is forever engraved. This song is vintage Jovi. That is when music works best. When the artist reveals all their insecurities and lets us know that they may not be exactly just like us, but they’re just as screwed up. We are all flawed. The most famous rock and metal stars are messed up like all of us.

The days of the past are gone. The hopes and dreams of youth are also gone, however, the music from the past still lives on. It is our soundtrack.

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