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

1982 – Episode VIII – The Final Post

When I started to write about music from 1982, I didn’t expect it to be such a large body of work. Finally after seven parts before this, here is the final part. As with the other posts, this post deals with full albums or just individual songs that couldn’t be escaped, because TV and Radio played them non-stop.

Circus Animals – Cold Chisel

The mighty Chisel’s are rock royalty in Australia.

“East” was their breaking through album and “Circus Animals” proved it wasn’t a fluke. Main songwriter, Walker didn’t want to do a commercial album again, however he didn’t count on the excellent song writing from drummer Steve Prestwich, who contributed “Forever Now” and the spine-tingling “When The War Is Over”.

The working title for the album was “Tunnel Cunts”.

The first single “You Got Nothing I Want” was written by singer Jimmy Barnes. He’s angry at Elektra Records for the lack of support given to Cold Chisel in favour of an unknown LA band called Motley Crue. This grudge would hurt the solo career of Jimmy Barnes in the U.S many years later. But that didn’t stop Barnsey from working with some of the best writers in the U.S. His biggest solo career song, “Working Class Man” was written by Jonathan Cain from Journey.

You got nothing I want
You got nothing I need

The live favourite “Bow River” is up next. Guitarist Ian Moss wrote it and sings it. It’s about a sheep station in the Northern Territory. It was a B-side to one of the singles, however it’s as iconic as the singles.

I don’t wanna see this town no more
Wastin’ my days on a factory floor
First thing you know I’ll be back in Bow River again

The monotonous life of a working person. You don’t want to be at work, but you need to be, as you need money to live, money to pay off debts and keep the wheels turning in your home life.

I been working hard, twelve hours a day
And the money I saved won’t buy my youth again

That’s what the young don’t understand when they are young. Hell, I didn’t. Our youth is only short, so it’s best to enjoy it as much as possible.

Piss all my money up against the damn wall
First thing you know I’ll be back in Bow River again

Damn right, pay-day comes and by the weekend, all of the pay is gone on booze. Today, all the pay is gone on mortgage, credit cards and utilities.

Steve Prestwich (RIP) proved his song writing chops on this album. “Forever Now” is a pop classic with a big sing along chorus.

“When The War Is Over” is brilliant.

When the war is over
Got to get away
Pack my bag to no place
In no time no day

How can I go home and not get
Blown away

There was a time when we paid for our albums and we didn’t own many because of it. So what we purchased we played until the songs became a part of us. Cold Chisel was such a band that people made room for in their wallets and their songs and their words are a part of us.

The J. Geils Band – Centerfold

The single came in September, 1981 but it didn’t really get traction until February 1982, so based on that fact, it is in my 1982 list. The J. Geils band never had another hit after it. Written by Seth Justman, we all know what the story of the song is. And even back in 1982, it was all about the big single.

In Australia this song was played regularly until the early nineties and then it stopped when the sounds of Seattle became popular. And 35 years later it is still relevant, because it renews it’s listeners with each generation due to the tongue in cheek lyrics.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – I Love Rock ‘n Roll

The song is written Alan Merrill and Jake Hooker of Arrows, who released their version in 1975. And it did nothing, until 1982.

Enter Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and MTV and what we have is another big single selling a so-so album..

The video clip was a constant and as a by-product, sales of the single continued to climb. And to this day, I still haven’t heard the album the song was on.

The beat was goin’ strong, Playin’ my favorite song

This is another song that will keep on keeping forever and a day. Guitar Hero brought it back into the public conversation and Britney Spears cover of it, for better or worse brought it even further back into the conversation.

Don Henley – I Cant Stand Still

I heard this song for the first time, thirty plus years after it’s release. What a groove. I had no idea what this song is about. But thanks to Google you can research it and Don Henley was going through his separation when he wrote this song with Danny Kortchmar. And once you know the source, you understand where he is coming from in the lyrics.

And baby, I can’t stand still (while he’s holding you)
I can’t stand (while he’s kissing you)

Don Henley – Long Way Home

It’s got this Jersey Springsteen vibe happening that I dig. Like “I Can’t Stand Still”, I heard this song just recently.

There’s three sides to every story, baby
There’s yours and there’s mine and the cold, hard truth

Amen. Ain’t that the truth.

We all have our own versions of truth, and if each event was captured on film to be viewed later, all of our versions would be different to what the footage shows.

Joey Scarbury – Believe It or Not

It’s from the album “America’s Greatest Hero”. It was released in 1981, but it was still heard well into 1985. The TV show kept it in the conversation. It’s clichéd “inspirational lyrics” are just to clichéd but I guarantee you that everyone who heard the song remembers it.

The actual performer didn’t even write it. The song is written by Mike Post (music) and Stephen Geyer (lyrics).

Believe it or not I’m walking on air
I never thought I could feel so free
Flying away on a wing and a prayer, who could it be?
Believe it or not it’s just me

Queen – Hot Space

This is the album where Brian May just went missing. There is hardly any guitar on the album. It pops up in some songs here and there, but instead of it being used as a centrepiece for the songs, May holds back and decorates each song, like tinsel on a Christmas Tree.

Production wise, my ears just can’t escape the midi triggered drums in the early Eighties “mainstream” acts. It really dates the music back to a certain era.

“Under Pressure” is the one that most people would know. A co-write with David Bowie who also performs on it. The bass riff is iconic and it proved to be a hit twice, once in 1982 and again in 1990 when Vanilla Ice pinched the whole bass riff for “Ice, Ice Baby” and then claimed in court that he came up with it.

It’s the terror of knowing
What this world is about
Watching some good friends
Screaming “let me out”

I don’t know the exact meaning of the song from the bands point of view is, but the above words are truth. We know what this world is about and for a lot of us it gets too much.

Why can’t we give love that one more chance?

It’s because we get burned from it too many times. From a relationship point of view, it’s easier to be alone then to go through new relationships, making new friendships, while you are upset at the same time that some of the old friendships are lost. From a society point of view, “love” never existed. There is always hate, jealousy and envy.

Chicago – Hard To Say I’m Sorry

I had no idea who sang this song when it came out, but it was everywhere. If it sounds like a Toto song, it’s because Steve Lukather plays guitar on the song and David Paich and Steve Porcaro play synths.

Producer David Foster, who also co-wrote the song with vocalist Peter Cetera played piano on the song, while Cetera performed vocals and played bass guitar and acoustic guitar.

Everybody needs a little time away
I had to say, from each other

Damn right.

Cheap Trick – If You Want My Love

I dig this song. It’s the pre-chorus that hooks me in.

Written by guitarist Rick Nielsen, it’s got melodies all over it.

Lonely is only a place
You don’t know what it’s like

How cool is the line?

Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra

Boy, did Steve Miller become fab again after his Hall of Fame speech. But that was two weeks ago and today, its like it never existed.

Steve Miller wrote an infectious song and it was good enough to knock Chicago off the number 1 spot.

Abra-abracadabra
I want to reach out and grab ya

I got no idea what it means, but it sticks.

Keep me burnin’ for your love
With the touch of a velvet glove

Again, I got no idea why the touch had to be from a velvet glove, but it rhymes and it sticks.

A Flock of Seagulls – I Ran (So Far Away)

Even as a metal/rock head, I still dig this song. It was number 1 in Australia for a few weeks. That Chorus is just arena rock, but the feel of the song is new wave.

It was produced by Mike Howlett, who was becoming the in-demand producer for the new-wave bands. Sort of like how Tom Werman and Keith Olsen became the in-demand producers in the 80’s for hard rock bands.

A cloud appears above your head
A beam of light comes shining down on you
Shining down on you
The cloud is moving nearer still
Aurora Borealis comes in view

Using the “Northern Lights” as the lights of the departed. Well, that’s how I view the song’s lyrics.

Reached out a hand to try again
I’m floating in a beam of light with you
A beam of light with you

And I ran, I ran so far away
I just ran, I ran all night and day

John Cougar Mellencamp – American Fool

It was a huge album created under duress and record label pressures.

The record company wanted a certain Neil Diamond sounding record. After spending three months in the studio, Mellencamp had 20 songs recorded. The label A&R rep came in, heard it and hated it. Album cuts, “Jack & Diane”, “Hand To Hold On To” and “Weakest Moments” were part of these 20 songs. The label halted the project. They considered getting in a new producer. They considered dropping Mellencamp from the roster. In the end, they gave the green light for Mellencamp to write some more songs however they wanted to hear the demos before they gave the OK to record them in a studio.

The end product is Mellencamp’s commercial breakthrough. “Hurts So Good” and “Jack & Diane” are cultural songs.

“Hurts So Good” is written with childhood friend George Green.

Sometimes love don’t feel like it should
You make it hurt so good

Said in a way that wasn’t R-rated.

Up next is “Jack & Diane” that little ditty about two American kids growing up in the heartland.

Oh yeah, life goes on
Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone, they walk on

And that’s right. A lot of people don’t seem to realise those High School highs and good times have never come around again. But life goes on and your sense of duty to yourself and family takes over.

Daryl Hall and John Oates – H2O

They didn’t look metal at all, but they could write songs.

“Maneater” is from their eleventh studio album and the song is written by Hall, Oates and Sara Allen.

She’s deadly, man
And she could really rip your world apart

It’s like Phil Lynott wrote the lyrics.

“At Tension” has this bass synth riff that if played on distorted guitar its heavy as. It’s written by John Oates. It’s over 6 minutes long, far removed from the pop format. You needed the album to hear this album cut.

I’d like to join the army
Don’t want to join the war
I’d take my place in line hell (hell)

We keep on marching forward
Never will retreat

Words apart from the single “Maneater”.

Duran Duran – Hungry Like the Wolf

I never gave this band a chance in the 80’s purely on their look. It was when “Come Undone” came out that I decided I needed to check em out a little bit more. So “Rio” is their second album and “Hungry Like The Wolf” is the song that launched it. There is no denying that the riff is hard rock to a tee. It was all over the TV stations in Australia.

I’m on the hunt, I’m after you

Stalker???

Me thinks so.

Earth, Wind & Fire – Let’s Groove

I am pretty sure the album “Raise” came out in 1981, however I haven’t heard the album. This song was all also all over the TV music stations in Australia. The single did come in 1982. I dig it, its funky and as the title states, groovy.

Let’s groove tonight
Share the spice of life
Baby, slice it right
We’re gonna groove tonight

Cocaine????

Me thinks so.

Goanna – Spirit Of Place

“Solid Rock” is the song.

We couldn’t escape it in Australia. It kicks off with a didgeridoo intro and a brilliant guitar riff that reminds me of the “Sultans of Swing” from Dire Straits for some reason. It reached #2 in Australia and charted in the US. According to Wikipedia, the inspiration came to vocalist Shane Howard on a ten-day camping trip at Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) during 1980 where he had a “spiritual awakening” which brought “the fire in the belly” to the surface over injustices to Australia’s indigenous peoples.

They were standin’ on the shore one day, Saw the white sails in the sun
Wasn’t long before they felt the sting, white man, white law, white gun
Don’t tell me that it’s justified, ’cause somewhere, someone lied
Yeah well someone lied, someone lied, genocide

Yep, Australia’s settlement history is pretty much summed up above. And to this day, 200 plus years later, there is still a lot of debate about it.

INXS – Shabooh Shoobah

Mark Opitz produced “Circus Animals” for Cold Chisel and then moved on to “Shabooh Shoobah” from Inxs. This is the version of INXS before they topped the Billboard charts six years later. It is this album that gave INXS their major label deal in the U.S.

The closer “Don’t Change” was the song that made me a fan. It was a “hit” song without being a hit. Richie Sambora played it live, when he appeared at the Enmore Theatre.

Don’t change for you
Don’t change a thing for me

Damn right, let’s love each other for who we are.

Loverboy – Working For The Weekend

Yeah I know the album was released in 1981, but the single “Working For The Weekend” was released in January 1982 in Australia, so for me it’s a 1982 album.

Everybody’s working for the weekend
Everybody wants a new romance
Everybody’s going off the deep end
Everybody needs a second chance, oh

And like the song “Bow River” from Cold Chisel, once the weekend is over, we’ll be back at Bow River again for the Monday shift.

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

Piracy Was Rampant Even In The Eighties

Back in the Eighties, piracy was rampant. Most of my music collection during that period was made up of music taped onto blank cassettes. My “wealthier” older cousin in Sydney always seemed to have his finger on the pulse on the latest releases and every time I visited, I was armed with blank cassettes and proceeded to copy (download) albums that he recommended to me. There was also another shadier character locally that used to sell dubbed cassettes from 50 cents to $1 dollar. He then used the money obtained from his buyers to purchase more albums that he would sell to us on dubbed cassettes.

I was not alone in doing this, nor was I the first. Most of the music from the seventies that was passed down to me by my brothers was in the same format (blank cassettes that got filled with music).

So what did my brothers do in the Eighties, when they were old enough and had their own incomes. They started purchasing the music they listened to in the seventies. It worked like this; for example, they would purchase “Destroyer” from Kiss on LP or CD and once they did that I would get the cassette copied version that they had.

Another interesting thing in the Seventies was that while we all lived together, we only needed one version of the album to listen to the music. So what happens when family members move out. One brother purchases the album, the other brother purchases the album and then I need to purchase the album and so on. You can see the exponential growth here when children grow up and move out.

So what did I do in the Nineties, when I had more cash at hand. I purchased every album I had on dubbed cassettes on CD. I re-purchased every LP I had on CD. I went to second hand record shops and purchased LP’s from the Eighties and Seventies very cheap. If I found a real gem in those purchases, I then purchased that album on CD.

I went to the Record Fairs and Collector Fairs that started to gain traction during this period. Again, I purchased a lot of LP’s very cheap at those Fairs. I saw it as a try before you buy. If I found a real gem, I then purchased that album on CD.

I was not the only one that did the above. Based on sales figures during this period, the Record Labels had their largest ever profits to date. Everything that came after 1999 has been linked back to the unbelievable profits the record labels made during 1998 and 1999.

In the end, did all the piracy from the Seventies and Eighties hurt any of the bands that I supported. These are the bands that where pirated heavily on cassettes (from a list of the shady dealer selling them for 50 cents to $1 dollar);

Motley Crue
Bon Jovi
Iron Maiden
Metallica
Megadeth
Guns N Roses
Van Halen
David Lee Roth
Poison
Warrant
Skid Row
Twisted Sister
Kiss
Dio
Europe
Def Leppard
Dokken
Whitesnake
Judas Priest
Yngwie Malmsteen
Night Ranger
Queensryche
Ozzy Osbourne
Rush
Savatage
Stryper
Scorpions
WASP
Y&T
White Lion
Fastway
Joe Satriani
Loverboy
Meatloaf
Queen
Slayer
Survivor
UFO
Michael Schenker
Quiet Riot
Black Sabbath
Rainbow
Deep Purple
Anthrax
Motorhead

The answer is a resounding NO. All of those bands mentioned above are still around today in some form or another. All of those bands are part of pop culture in some form or another. They still have a loyal cult following and that cult following happened because of piracy.

If it wasn’t for cassette piracy, I never would have heard the full length albums of bands that did the rounds on MTV. I never would have heard “Master Of Puppets” from Metallica (I know own “Master Of Puppets” on CD, mp3 and LP).

The real hurter of bands was the Record Label. It was never piracy. Due to the labels having all the power in breaking a band, plus having all the control over the distribution, they would offer bands an unfair deal that stacked the deck in the Record Labels favour. For any musician that wanted their music exposed to a greater audience, it was the only option they had.

A lot of studies have come out stating that “pirates actually purchase the most.” I know it is a cliché statement at the moment however back in the Eighties I went to an Iron Maiden concert without actually owning an original copy of any of their albums. I went to a Megadeth concert without owning an original copy of their albums. The same with Bon Jovi, David Lee Roth, Guns N Roses and Stryper.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

1986 vs 2013

BON JOVI

In 1986, Jon Bon Jovi was all about the music. He was in debt to his record label and still living with his parents. The “band” Bon Jovi released their biggest seller, Slippery When Wet.

Now, Jon Bon Jovi is all about the money. The band Bon Jovi released their biggest dud, in What About Now, Richie Sambora has been booted because of money and Jon Bon Jovi cancelled a New York Fair concert for an intimate Government concert that paid more.

 

BLACK SABBATH/OZZY OSBOURNE

In 1986, Black Sabbath released Seventh Star with Glenn Hughes on vocals and Ozzy Osbourne released The Ultimate Sin.

Seventh Star was originally intended to be the first solo album by Iommi, but due to pressures by Warner Bros. Records and the prompting of band manager Don Arden, the record was billed as Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi.

The Ultimate Sin featured songwriting contributions from Bob Daisley and Phil Soussan, however due to Sharon Osbourne (Arden) trying to keep as much money as possible in Ozzy’s corner, Bob Daisley was not credited on the initial release and Phil Soussan had an accounting disagreement with Sharon. Everyone got shafted by an Arden.

In 2013, Black Sabbath released 13, their first album with Ozzy since 1978, that also featured the talents of Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Wilk. Bill Ward said he would not participate until he was offered a “signable contract.” One B.W is out and another B.W is in. Again, someone was shafted by an Arden.

RECORD LABELS

The major labels wanted their artists to have careers. They spent a lot of money to convince the public that they should pay attention to their new artist or the latest release of an existing artist.

The marketing was from the label down to the streets. The labels had so much power and they set the bar. Either a band was signed to a label or they didn’t matter. Major labels were plentiful and the most powerful person in the music business was the Record Label head. Artists could live off the money from their record deal as people had to buy the expensive record to listen to it. Because it was expensive, we played it over and over and over again and eventually became a fan.

Now the marketing is from the streets and the record labels want the hit singles. They have shareholders to please, a board to please and all the label heads are interested in bonuses and short term profits. There is no long term vision anymore as the Record Labels do not have the same power.

The major labels have been reduced to 3, with Sony, Universal and Warner Bros.

In 1986, record companies were cool. In 2013, HBO, Netflix, Showtime, Facebook, Apple, Samsung, Twitter and Amazon are cool. 

 

LIVE

In 1986, all the acts did the arena and stadium tours because demand was high. If a band opened for a major act, they believed they had made it. The public discovered new acts when those acts opened up for our favourite bands. Look at the list below;

Metallica and Ratt opened up for Ozzy Osbourne.

Anthrax opened up for Metallica.

Marillion opened up for Rush.

 

Loverboy opened up for Van Halen.

King Kobra, White Lion and W.A.S.P opened up for Kiss.

 

W.A.S.P also opened up for Iron Maiden.

Cinderella opened up for Bon Jovi in the U.S and Queensryche opened up for Bon Jovi in Europe.

 

Queensryche also opened up for AC/DC.

Cinderella also opened up for David Lee Roth.

Honeymoon Suite and Glass Tiger opened up for Journey.

Dokken opened up for Accept.

Keel opened up for Dio.

Krokus opened up for Judas Priest.

Now only the classic rock acts of the Seventies and Eighties can sell out the arenas and the few modern superstars. The majority of acts play the club circuit. If bands have a small hard core fan base, they can raise enough money to make an album and own everything about themselves. No one cares who the opening band is.

RANDY JACKSON

In 1986, he played bass with Journey. He appeared on the Raised on Radio album and also toured with them. People judged him on his abilities.

In 2013, he is a judge on American Idol.

CHARTS

Back in 1986, the charts meant everything and albums sold in double digit millions. Slippery When Wet from Bon Jovi went to Number 1 for 1 week in October and then it re-appeared at number 1 for 7 weeks in 1987.

Now the charts are useless and artists are lucky to sell a million units. There are a few, like Adele that go into double digits. Bon Jovi’s What About Now went to Number 1 for 1 week and it didn’t reappear again.

ANTHEMS OF A GENERATION

In 1986, we had Addicted To Love from Robert Palmer, Sledgehammer from Peter Gabriel, Dreams from Van Halen, Livin On A Prayer and Wanted Dead Or Alive from Bon Jovi, Peace Sells from Megadeth, Battery from Metallica, Raining Blood from Slayer and The Final Countdown from Europe.

In 2013, nothing lasts.

THE MUSIC BUSINESS 

In 1986, it was all about the music and if a band was all over traditional media, it meant they had traction and that people would be hearing their music.

Now, our favourite bands are playing to the masses who just don’t care and now it is all about marketing. Look at the marketing campaign for the new Dream Theater album. It looks like the label is trying to monetize every little bit of it. If a band is all over traditional media, it doesn’t mean that they have traction and it doesn’t mean that people have heard their music.

In 1986, everything was expensive and the cost of music was different at every store. Due to the high prices of music, everybody had a little bit of it. We had to buy it to hear it, or we used to tape it of someone who purchased it.

Now, music costs the same everywhere, and it’s cheap and everybody has more than they want. Music is available to hear for free, whether on YouTube or streaming music services like Spotify.

In 1986, albums from our favourite artists would normally come out every two years. Due to this lack of new material, music was scarce, so when we purchased albums we played them to death. We became fans by over playing the music we purchased as it was all about the music.

Now, music is released constantly and it is plentiful. Due to these riches of new material, we don’t spend as much time with the albums we purchased. We become fans by looking for the song that grabs our attention on the first listen.

LADY GAGA

In 1986, Lady Gaga was born. In 2013, Lady Gaga is just Born This Way.

METALLICA

In 1986, Metallica released Master of Puppets and lost bass player Cliff Burton in a bus accident while on tour.

In 2013, Metallica will be released Through The Never a live/concert film and will be losing a lot of money when it doesn’t set the world on fire.

MEGADETH

In 1986, Megadeth released Peace Sells.. But Who’s Buying, which in their case, everyone was buying.

In 2013, Megadeth released Supercollider and no one was buying.

KISS

In 1986, Gene Simmons from Kiss produced and co-wrote songs for the Black N Blue album, Nasty Nasty, that had a certain Tommy Thayer on guitars.

In 2013, Kiss released Monster, that has Tommy Thayer on guitars, as well as lead vocals on one song and a major co-writer of material.

STRYPER

In 1986, Stryper released To Hell With The Devil.

In 2013, Styper will release No More Hell To Pay. It looks they still have hell on their minds.

SLAYER

In 1986, Slayer reigned in blood.

In 2013, Jeff Hanneman’s reign ended. RIP.

QUEENSRYCHE

In 1986, Queensryche was one band that released the a superior album in Rage For Order.

In 2013, Queensryche are two seperate bands that ended up releasing two inferior albums in Frequency Unknown(Geoff Tate version) and Queensryche (Todd LaTorre version).

The fans are screaming for order.

CINDERELLA 

In 1986, Cinderella released Night Songs and proved to the world that they are nobody’s fool.

In 2013, Tom Keifer the singer from Cinderella released The Way Life Goes, an album 9 years in the making with a song called Fools Paradise.

VINNIE VINCENT

In 1986, Vinnie Vincent invaded the charts, with a point to prove.

In 2013, Vinnie Vincent is …..

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Music

What made Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet Explode?

What made Slippery When Wet explode?

A lot of people credit Bruce Fairbairn for it.  Others credit the influence of Desmond Child, while others would credit the sound engineering and mix by Bob Rock.  Others put it down to Jon and Richie finally finding their niche as songwriters and finally others put it down to the Pizza Parlour Jury.   Could it have been the labels release schedule and marketing plan?  Could it have been that the scene needed a shake up and this album was right time, right place?

First let’s put into context where the band was at in 1985.  They had just finished a nine-month world tour for 7800 Degrees Fahrenheit.  The band was in debt to the record label for a couple of million bucks.  The guys where living at their mom and dad’s, and wrote most of the songs for Slippery When Wet in Richie’s mom’s basement. 

There is a common myth that once a band is signed, they are showered with untold riches and that they have money coming out of their arse.  That is so far from the truth.   Bon Jovi where in debt and they were lucky that the label gave them a third chance.

From the 90’s onwards, labels didn’t give bands three chances.  One chance was all they had.  If they failed they will get someone else.   These days the labels are irrelevant.  They need to compete on a playing field where the rules change at the same rate technology changes and to be honest, they are so out of touch, it’s almost laughable watching them trying to hold on to the old way of doing things. 

Let’s start with Bruce Fairbairn.  Before he started doing Slippery he was coming off a multi-platinum run of releases with Loverboy and Honeymoon Suite, plus a Gold release with Krokus.   According to Paul Dean from Loverboy, Bruce is super organized.  He charts everything out and every song is broken into parts. 

Slippery would go on to multi – multi platinum sales and New Jersey (also produced by Bruce would do the same).  From Slippery, Bruce would move on to Aerosmith.  Permanent Vacation, Pump and Get A Grip all went multi – multi platinum.  He resurrected AC/DC’s career with the 5x platinum The Razors Edge after a steady decline in sales after Back In Black.  It is safe to say that Bruce had a certain knack for getting the best out of the artists he produced.  His track record is envious to say the least.

Then you have Desmond Child.  

Jon and Richie wanted to write with another song writer, so that other people can perform the songs.  Jon heard Tina Turner singing a song that Bryan Adams had written and wanted to do the same.  That is how Desmond Child came on the scene.  However the plan got skewed, as the songs that came out of those sessions where that good, that it was decided they will be kept for Jovi instead.

The first song Jon and Richie wrote with Desmond in Richie’s mother’s basement was “The Edge Of A Broken Heart”.  The second song they wrote was “You Give Love A Bad Name” by referencing a song he wrote for Bonnie Tyler called If You Were A Woman (And I Was A Man).  The melodies and chord progressions are very similar.

He used the story of his 70’s girlfriend, Maria Vidal who used to work a diner and was called Gina, for Livin On A Prayer.  In interviews, Richie has stated that Jon didn’t want the song on the album, while Richie was trying to convince him it was the best song they had.

I’d Die For You and Without Love where two other songs penned by Jon, Richie and Desmond.  I’d Die For You even has a cult status as a fan favourite.  Desmond brought the pop side to Bon Jovi’s form of hard rock, glam metal overtones. 

The engineer and mixer Bob Rock 

Jon heard Honeymoon Suite’s The Big Prize (another Bruce and Bob production) and that sealed the deal for Bon Jovi to also seek out Bob Rock.

The Pizza Parlour Jury

When Jon and Riche were making the demos in New Jersey, they would go across the street to the pizza parlour. They would ask a bunch of kids to hear some stuff.   As Richie puts it, “It was like a marketing test .  They came in and said, “Yeah, we like this one. This one gets through and that one doesn’t.”

They sure needed it as they wrote a truck load of songs.  Apart from the 10 songs that ended up on the album, other songs that never made it include;

Never Enough For You, Borderline, Edge Of A Broken Heart, Heat Of The Night, Give My Heart, Lonely Is The Night, Too Much Too Soon, Game Of The Heart, Deep Cuts The Night, Stand Up, Walk Don’t Run, Out of Bounds, There Is No Answer, Promise, Take Me All.

Bouncing songs off different independent ears that are not related to the band, helped Bon Jovi focus on the songs that where stronger.

Polygram Records

Doc McGhee the Bon Jovi manager at the time has stated that putting out a record at the right time is very important.  He further mentioned that the label looked at what other labels where releasing and picked a window where there was nothing really there competing against it.

August was the month that was selected and competing against Slippery When Wet where other August releases from 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. 

The Album

Let It Rock kicks it off Side 1.

The weekend comes to this town
Seven days too soon
For the ones who have to make up
What we break up of their rules

This song is written purely for the concert experience.  That is foresight in itself.  Apart from delivering a good album of songs, Jon and Richie are mindful of how they will go down live.  The song is about rebellion, getting that fist pumping in the air, just to let your hair down on the weekend.  Much like Loverboy’s Working for The Weekend.  But in this case the rock is a fire that is burning out of control.  Another analogy to melting rock temperatures (7800 degrees Fahrenheit).  It’s funny where Let It Rock has that keyboard intro, Lay Your Hands On Me from New Jersey, is almost identical riff wise to Let It Rock and it has that long drum intro.  It must be a Bruce thing, as even Turn Me Loose had a long keyboard intro.  A good start by the Jon and Richie song writing team.

“Shot through the heart and you’re to blame, darling you give love a bad name.”  The iconic a capella chorus.  Then the band kicks in and Richie does his vocal melody lead until they start the strip bar sleazy verse riff.

I remember when I saw the clip, I was glued to my TV screen.  I never got the name of the song and I thought it was called Shot Through The Heart, so I purchased the cassette album that had the song Shot Through The Heart.   Of course that was the wrong song.  Right band, but wrong song.   The clincher for me was the chorus part after the guitar solo, where it’s just the voice and the drums (sort of reminded me of Queen’s We Will Rock You).  You Give Love A Bad Name was the one that got the door opened and once the band unleashed Livin On A Prayer, the band started selling 700,000 records a month.    It also featured the song writing talents of Desmond Child, who borrowed the vocal melody and chords from a song he wrote for Bonnie Tyler, called If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man).

Livin On A Prayer was the song that Jon wasn’t even sure should be on the album. 

Bob Lefsetz posted that Livin On A Prayer is where Bon Jovi got the girls and that is what has kept the band going.  He aint wrong there and Jon knew that, hence the reason why he rewrote the song over and over again for each album that came after.   New Jersey had Born To Be My Baby (again a co-write with Desmond Child).  Keep The Faith had the title track (the chorus chord progression is identical, except in a different key and again a co-write with Desmond Child).  These Days had Hey God, Crush had Its My Life (Max Martin comes into the fold now), Bounce and Have A Nice Day had the title tracks.  The Circle had We Weren’t Born To Follow and the Greatest Hits had This is Love, This is Life.  For What About Now, the whole album is following the themes from Livin On A Prayer.  If you are on a winning formula, do it right again and you will hit pay dirt.

Tommy used to work on the docks
Union’s been on strike
He’s down on his luck…it’s tough, so tough
Gina works the diner all day
Working for her man, she brings home her pay
For love – for love

It’s a movie in words.  Life is tough but as long as we love each other, we will be okay.  A lot of people were not okay, but Livin On A Prayer made them feel that they were, as Tommy and Gina were also living the same life they were living.    

Social Disease is the pure filler that 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

In never should have ended up on Slippery.  Edge of A Broken Heart is far superior.  I know that Jon apologised for that omission.  To be honest the song never had a chance with the listeners coming off three winners already.  It was a poor song from the Jon and Richie team.  At least they made up for it in the next song.

Wanted Dead or Alive was the 80’s version of Turn The Page which Jon more or less copied again for the Young Guns soundtrack and had another number one hit in Blaze of Glory with a cool Jeff Beck solo.    Wanted was written by Jon and Richie.  This song didn’t reach number one, but it is a number one song.  A cult classic.  A radio staple.  When the song was released as a single, the multi-million fan base had already digested it.  They didn’t need to buy the single to make it No. 1.  It was already that in their hearts and minds.      

Sometimes I sleep, sometimes it’s not for days
And the people I meet always go their separate ways

Life on the road is just that.  I am just finishing off reading a Randy Rhoads bio, and it’s pretty clear that Randy started to hate the road.  He wanted to quit Ozzy’s band and study classical music.  He worked his whole life to achieve rock stardom and now that he had it, he was going to give it all up to follow his dream of classical music.  Sadly he never got there.  That is another thing that seems to be forgotten, the road also kills. 

Raise Your Hands (Let It Rock part 2) kicks off side 2.  Another Jon and Richie composition.  The motto of this song is simply.  Come to the show, raise your hands and get wild.  It doesn’t repeat what Let It Rock started, it takes it into overdrive. 

Raise your hands
When you want to let it go
Raise your hands
And you want to let a feeling show

Without Love is the second track after Raise Your Hands on side 2.  This was a Jon, Richie and Des composition and is forgettable.  The first side was pretty much spot on, that it was hard to get into Side 2.    

I saw a man down on lonely street
A broken man who looked like me
And no one knows the pain that he’s been living
He lost his love and still hasn’t forgiven

I’d Die for You is another Jon, Richie and Des composition.  It has become a cult classic for Bon Jovi, with fans hoping that it gets played each night, like Runaway. 

I might not be a savior
And I’ll never be a king
I might not send you roses
Or buy you diamond rings

We are not perfect in relationships, however we try our best.  A lot of the times our best is not good enough and it all ends bad.

Never Say Goodbye doesn’t get out of second gear

As I sit in this smokey room
The night about to end
I pass my time with strangers
But this bottle’s my only friend

And Wild in the Street is a song that could have ended up on a Bruce Springsteen B sides album.    

In here we got this code of honor
Nobody’s going down

As Bob Lefsetz puts “if you want to relive 1986, if you want to know what it was like way back then… You play “Slippery When Wet.”

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