You Give Love a Bad Name (song)

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"You Give Love a Bad Name"
Single by Bon Jovi
from the album Slippery When Wet
B-side "Raise Your Hands" (US)
"Let It Rock" (UK)
Released July 23, 1986
Format CD single, 7"
Recorded 1986
Genre Glam metal, hard rock[1]
Length 3:42
Label Mercury
Writer(s) Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Desmond Child
Producer(s) Bruce Fairbairn
Bon Jovi singles chronology
"Silent Night"
"You Give Love a Bad Name"
"Livin' on a Prayer"
Alternative cover

"You Give Love a Bad Name" is a song written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Desmond Child about a woman who has jilted her lover. The track was released as the first single from the album Slippery When Wet and hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 29, 1986, Bon Jovi's first number one hit.[2] The song reentered the charts at #29 after Blake Lewis performed it on American Idol. In 2009 it was named the 20th-greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1.[1] Despite the lyrics of the chorus, the song should not be confused with "Shot Through the Heart", an unrelated song from Bon Jovi's 1984 self-titled debut album.


"You Give Love a Bad Name" was originally written for Bonnie Tyler under the title "If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)" with different lyrics. Dissatisfied with its success in the US and UK, Desmond Child re-wrote the song with Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora.[3]

The song was written with several catchy repeated lines and associated hooks to appeal to mainstream audiences including the chorus as well as several bridges.

This song is written in the key of C minor and has a tempo of 123 BPM.

The album version of the song ends with the title being repeated until it fades.

Music video[edit]

The music video for the song used all-color concert footage (the only all-color video song from Slippery When Wet) and photogenic shots primarily of Jon Bon Jovi, as well as other band members in concert. This video was filmed at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, California.

Bon Jovi was now being managed by Doc McGee, who realized that Bon Jovi needed a video for MTV. Doc hired video director Wayne Isham, who had directed videos for Doc's other band, Mötley Crüe. The two bands were competitive with each other and Mötley Crüe felt betrayed that Wayne would direct one of Bon Jovi's videos.

Wayne had the band's name painted on the stage and made sure that the band did not see it until they began shooting.

Bon Jovi had been opening for 38 Special, but became a headlining act after the video debuted.

The harness that was featured in the video was not a new concept, as Van Halen had already used it. All the same, the video became a huge success and many artists tried to imitate it.

Other versions[edit]

in 1987, Hong Kong singer Eddie Ng covered this song in Cantonese.

  • In 1989 Bananarama did a live version of this song during their World Tour.
  • The song was also covered by the metalcore band Atreyu and is available on the Japanese version of their 2004 album The Curse. It was covered on the Kerrang! CD, High Voltage. It is frequently played during their shows even though it was voted one of the year's biggest rock atrocities in Total Guitar.
  • In 2005, Polish singer Mandaryna released her dance version of "You Give Love a Bad Name" as the second single from her number one album Mandarynkowy sen.[4]
  • Anastacia covered the song for her fifth studio album It's a Man's World in 2012.[5]
  • Burnell Taylor covered this song on the American Idol Top 7 week, where the theme was Rock. He came in last place that week, and was forced to sing for survival.

In pop culture[edit]

Ranked Number 20 in VH1's "100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs".[1]

The song was made playable in the music rhythm video games, GuitarFreaks 6th Mix/Drummania 5th Mix, as well as Lego Rock Band, Guitar Hero On Tour: Decades, and Guitar Hero 5. The Guitar Hero version retains the original studio ending with no fade out, with a song length of 4:07. In Guitar Hero, Jon stopped singing and the band continues singing was actually from the original version as the song has crossfaded to "Livin' on a Prayer". The version features an ending solo.

The song was reworked and made available to download on November 9, 2010 for use in the Rock Band 3 music gaming platform in both Basic rhythm, and notably PRO mode which takes advantage of the addition of a real guitar / bass guitar, and use of standard MIDI-compatible electronic drum kits / keyboards in addition to three-part vocal harmonies or backup vocals.[6][7] The ending features an a cappella chorus section like how the band usually ends the song in live performances.

Dwight Schrute plays this song in The Office on a recorder.

In the How I Met Your Mother episode "The Limo", Barney Stinson plays this song as part of his Get Psyched Mix and can also be seen on his blog.

"You Give Love a Bad Name" appeared in The Sopranos episode "A Hit is a Hit".

The song was used as background music in the Fall/Winter 2006 Christian Dior goth-metal-rock-themed ready-to-wear fashion show.

In an issue of Thunderbolts, Deadpool starts singing the song after literally being "shot through the heart" by Black Widow.

The song was featured in the Youth in Revolt trailer.

The song, with a Bon Jovi live concert video, were reused in Nissin Cup Noodles TV commercials in Japan, with reworked lyrics in Japanese.[8]

KickBend evokes the "angel's smile" lyric in their song "Gone'" from the album (2009).

The song also features at the beginning of the Series Four finale episode of "The Vampire Diaries" titled "Graduation"

A part of the song is used in the Hellsing Abridged series episode 1

Pro Wrestler Jigsaw use that song earlier in his career in Chikara Pro.

Chart performance[edit]


  1. ^ a b c " music". Retrieved February 7, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Allmusic (Bon Jovi charts & awards) Billboard singles". 
  3. ^ Curtis Child (15 August 2013). "Desmond Child Special". YouTube. Google Inc. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "Mandaryna - You Give Love A Bad Name - YouTube". Retrieved 2014-05-10. 
  5. ^ "Anastacia - It's A Man's World (CD, Album) at Discogs". Retrieved 2014-05-10. 
  6. ^ Kohler, Chris (2010-11-09). "Bon Jovi Rock Band Tracks Upgraded with Pro Keys, Guitars". Wired. Retrieved 2012-11-09. 
  7. ^ Snider, Mike (2010-06-10). "Rock Band 3: What's New, What's Notable". USA Today. Retrieved 2012-11-08. 
  8. ^ 2010 - Bon Jovi - Nissin Cup Noodle
  9. ^ " – Bon Jovi – You Give Love a Bad Name" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  10. ^ " – Bon Jovi – You Give Love a Bad Name" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  11. ^ "Top Singles - December 27, 1986". RPM. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  12. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin - levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5. 
  13. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – You Give Love a Bad Name". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  14. ^ " – Bon Jovi – You Give Love a Bad Name" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  15. ^ " – Bon Jovi – You Give Love a Bad Name". Top 40 Singles.
  16. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  17. ^ " – Bon Jovi – You Give Love a Bad Name". Singles Top 60.
  18. ^ "Bon Jovi: Artist Chart History" UK Singles Chart.
  19. ^ "Bon Jovi Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Bon Jovi.
  20. ^ "Top 100 Singles of '86". RPM. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  21. ^ "Top Pop Singles". Billboard. 27 December 1986. p. Y-21. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  22. ^ "Top 100 Singles of '87". RPM. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Human" by The Human League
Billboard Hot 100 number one single (Bon Jovi version)
November 29, 1986 (1 Week)
Succeeded by
"The Next Time I Fall" by Peter Cetera and Amy Grant