"Never Say Goodbye" is a power ballad, featuring drawn out vocals and a slow tempo, in contrast to the other tracks on Slippery When Wet, which are of a much more upbeat, hard rock pace. The song describes the relationship of Jon Bon Jovi and his actual wife Dorothea, and how he found out she died when he was all the way across the country and couldn't get there to say goodbye.
This song is often used as the class song at prom nights, especially in New Jersey. Jon Bon Jovi claims that his inspiration for the song was the Southside Johnny song "Hearts of Stone".
The song is in the key of A major and progresses to C# minor, G and D major.