Slippery When Wet

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Slippery When Wet
Bon jovi slippery when wet.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 18, 1986
StudioLittle Mountain Sound Studios, Vancouver, British Columbia
ProducerBruce Fairbairn
Bon Jovi chronology
7800° Fahrenheit
Slippery When Wet
New Jersey
Alternative cover
Rejected wet T-shirt cover, used for the Japanese release
Rejected wet T-shirt cover, used for the Japanese release
Singles from Slippery When Wet
  1. "You Give Love a Bad Name"
    Released: July 23, 1986
  2. "Livin' on a Prayer"
    Released: October 31, 1986
  3. "Wanted Dead or Alive"
    Released: March 2, 1987
  4. "Never Say Goodbye"
    Released: June 15, 1987

Slippery When Wet is the third studio album by American glam metal band Bon Jovi. It was released on August 18, 1986 by Mercury Records in North America and Vertigo Records internationally. It was produced by Bruce Fairbairn, with recording sessions between January and July 1986 at Little Mountain Sound Studios in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The album features many of Bon Jovi's best-known songs, including "You Give Love a Bad Name", "Livin' on a Prayer", and "Wanted Dead or Alive".

Slippery When Wet was an instant commercial success, spending eight weeks at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart[11] and was named by Billboard as the top-selling album of 1987.[12] Slippery When Wet is Bon Jovi's best-selling album to date, with an RIAA certification of 12× Platinum, making it one of the top 100 best-selling albums in the United States.[13] The album was featured in the 2005 book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.


Upon its 1985 release, 7800° Fahrenheit achieved moderate success, but Bon Jovi had not yet become superstars. The band changed its approach for the next album, with a more mainstream sound than the heavier first two albums. Hiring Desmond Child as a collaborator, the band wrote 30 songs and auditioned them for local New Jersey (including recording artist and Phantom's Opera vocalist Colie Brice) and New York teenagers, basing the album's running order on their opinions. Bruce Fairbairn was chosen as the main producer for the album, with Bob Rock as the mixer. The 1985 album Without Love which Fairbairn produced for the heavy metal band Black 'n Blue, attracted Jon Bon Jovi with its sound quality, and he immediately sought out the producer.[14]

Writing and composition[edit]

Much of the album was written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora, whereas "You Give Love a Bad Name", "Livin' on a Prayer", "Without Love", and "I'd Die For You" were co-written with Desmond Child, and "Wild in the Streets" was by Bon Jovi alone. This was the first time Child worked with Jon and Richie. He came to New Jersey, where they worked on the four songs in Sambora's mother's basement.

Jon Bon Jovi explained, "I liked what Bryan Adams had done with Tina Turner so I suggested we do something similar: I write a song for someone like her, and then we do the song together. But that got changed, and our A&R guy came up with Desmond's name ... He hasn't tried to change what we are, but to refine it slightly; to suggest extra ways that we could wring a bit more out of what we had."[15]

Bon Jovi was initially reluctant to include "Livin' on a Prayer", believing it was not good enough. Sambora convinced him it was a hit in the making, and so the band rerecorded it, releasing the second version on the album. It is Bon Jovi's signature song.[citation needed]

One of the songs written during the making of the album, "Edge of a Broken Heart", is not on the final release. Bon Jovi has since said it should have been included: "It was absolutely appropriate for the Slippery record—coulda, shoulda, woulda been on Slippery had cooler minds prevailed. Here's my formal apology."[citation needed] Featured on the soundtrack to the 1987 movie Disorderlies, it has since been released on the 2-CD edition of Cross Road, the box set 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can't Be Wrong and the B-side for the Livin' on a Prayer single album. The song has never been performed live by the band, though a fan favorite.

In 1986, Bon Jovi said "There's a song called 'Love Is A Social Disease' that Aerosmith were keen to get hold of. It would be ideal for them, but they're not having it, because it's even better for us."[16]

Title and artwork[edit]

The album's name was changed during its inception, including Wanted Dead or Alive. A proposed cover with the band dressed as cowboys[17] was later used for the single release of the track of the same name.

According to Bon Jovi, the band named the album Slippery When Wet after visiting The No.5 Orange strip club in Vancouver, British Columbia. According to Sambora, "This woman descended from the ceiling on a pole and proceeded to take all her clothes off. When she got in a shower and soaped herself up, we just about lost our tongues. We just sat there and said, 'We will be here every day.' That energized us through the whole project. Our testosterone was at a very high level back then."[18]

The cover consists of a wet black garbage bag with the words "Slippery When Wet" traced in the water. "So simple, and not very impressive", said Sambora.[19] The album originally was to feature a busty woman in a wet yellow T-shirt with the album name on the front of the shirt. This was swapped for the plastic bag cover just prior to release. The reasons given for the switch were record executives' fears that dominant record store chains at the time would have refused to carry the album with a sexist cover, and Jon Bon Jovi's dislike of the bright pink border around the photograph the band submitted.[20][21] Sambora said, "Our label freaked out a bit when they saw what we'd done. They thought it would be banned by American stores, so we had to come up with something else – fast."[19]

In Japan, most releases of the album included the original cover art.


In 2005, Slippery When Wet was re-issued as a DualDisc. The CD side contains a newly remastered version. The DVD side contains the same album in its original stereo mix, a slightly expanded 5.1 surround sound version, and all 5 music videos. The expanded album includes additional elements within many of the songs, in some cases increasing their runtime. The DualDisc was released on September 20, 2005, the same release date as Have a Nice Day.


Retrospective professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[3]
Christgau's Record GuideB–[22]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3.5/5 stars[23]

The album was a massive commercial success. Between 1986 and 1987, Slippery When Wet produced a string of hit songs, including three Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hits, two of which ("You Give Love a Bad Name" and "Livin' on a Prayer") reached No. 1, making Bon Jovi the first glam metal band to have ever had two consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 chart hits. The third single "Wanted Dead or Alive" peaked at No. 7, making Slippery When Wet the first metal album to have had three Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 hits.

The album peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, making it Bon Jovi's first number-one album in the United States. The album spent 38 weeks inside the Top 5 of Billboard 200, including 8 weeks at No. 1. It is the best-selling album of 1987 in the United States, and eventually reached Diamond certification by the RIAA and current sales stand at 12 million copies, making it the 48th best-selling album in the United States.

In the UK, Slippery When Wet received a 3x Platinum certification by the BPI. The album also achieved Diamond status in Canada, and 6x Platinum status in Australia.

The album is ranked 44th in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's list of the Definitive 200 albums of all time.

Slippery When Wet was met with mixed reviews. Writing in The Village Voice in September 1987, Robert Christgau said, "Sure seven million teenagers can be wrong, but their assent is not without a certain documentary satisfaction. Yes, it proves that youth rebellion is toothless enough to simulate and market. But who the hell thought youth was dangerous in the current vacuum? Would you have preferred the band market patriotism? And are you really immune to 'Livin' on a Prayer'?"[24] In 1990 in Rolling Stone, Jimmy Guterman thoroughly berated the band and the album. "Jon Bon Jovi and his band serve up condescending sentiment, reducing every emotional statement to a barefaced cliché – either because they think that's all their audience can comprehend or because that's all they can comprehend. On Slippery When Wet, Bon Jovi sounds like bad fourth-generation metal, a smudgy Xerox of Quiet Riot."[8]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics are written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora.

Side one
1."Let It Rock"Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora5:26
2."You Give Love a Bad Name"Jon Bon Jovi, Sambora, Desmond Child3:43
3."Livin' on a Prayer"Jon Bon Jovi, Sambora, Child4:11
4."Social Disease"Jon Bon Jovi, Sambora4:18
5."Wanted Dead or Alive"Jon Bon Jovi, Sambora5:09
Side two
6."Raise Your Hands"Jon Bon Jovi, Sambora4:17
7."Without Love"Jon Bon Jovi, Sambora, Child3:31
8."I'd Die for You"Jon Bon Jovi, Sambora, Child4:31
9."Never Say Goodbye"Jon Bon Jovi, Sambora4:49
10."Wild in the Streets"Jon Bon Jovi3:56
1998 2-CD special edition bonus CD PHCR-90015/6
11."Wanted Dead or Alive" (live at Wembley 1995)Jon Bon Jovi, Sambora 
12."Livin' on a Prayer" (live/US 1987)Jon Bon Jovi, Sambora, Child 
13."You Give Love a Bad Name" (live/US 1987)Jon Bon Jovi, Sambora, Child 
14."Wild in the Streets" (live at Wembley 1995)Jon Bon Jovi 
15."Borderline" (studio outtake)Jon Bon Jovi, Bryan 
16."Edge of a Broken Heart" (studio outtake)Jon Bon Jovi, Sambora 
17."Never Say Goodbye" (live acoustic version)Jon Bon Jovi, Sambora 
2010 special edition bonus tracks
11."You Give Love a Bad Name" (live version)Jon Bon Jovi, Sambora, Child4:10
12."Livin' on a Prayer" (live version)Jon Bon Jovi, Sambora, Child5:33
13."Wanted Dead or Alive" (live version)Jon Bon Jovi, Sambora5:22


Credits partly sourced from AllMusic.[25]

Bon Jovi

  • Jon Bon Jovi – lead vocals, electric rhythm guitar, acoustic rhythm guitar on "Wanted Dead or Alive"
  • Richie Sambora – harmony and backing vocals; electric, acoustic, and 12-string lead and rhythm guitars; guitar synth; talk box on "Livin' on a Prayer"
  • Alec John Such – backing vocals, bass guitar
  • Tico Torres – backing vocals, drums, percussion, finger cymbals on "Livin' on a Prayer"
  • David Bryan – backing vocals, keyboards, "noise", horns (horns credited as Lema Moon)

Studio musicians



Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[48] 6× Platinum 420,000^
Brazil 100,000[49]
Canada (Music Canada)[50] Diamond 1,000,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[51] Platinum 73,564[51]
France 38,000[52]
Germany (BVMI)[53] Platinum 500,000^
Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)[54] Gold 10,000*
Japan (Oricon Charts) 215,000[33]
Netherlands (NVPI)[55] Platinum 100,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[56] Platinum 15,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[57] Platinum 100,000^
Sweden 100,000[52]
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[58] 2× Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[59] 3× Platinum 900,000^
United States (RIAA)[60] 12× Platinum 12,000,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Metal – A Headbanger's Journey, DVD, ASIN B000FS9OZY (2005).
  2. ^ "Top 20 Hair Metal Albums of the Eighties – Guitar World". Guitar World. Archived from the original on 4 October 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  3. ^ a b Slippery When Wet at AllMusic
  4. ^ "METAL RULES". 2017-11-26. Archived from the original on 2017-11-26. Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  5. ^ "Top 20 Hair Metal Albums of All Time: The Complete List". LA Weekly. 2011-12-09. Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  6. ^ November 9, Joe DiVitaPublished; 2016. "Top 30 Hair Metal Albums". Loudwire. Retrieved 2021-04-10.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ The rough guide to rock. Peter Buckley (3rd ed., expanded and completely rev ed.). London: Rough Guides. 2003. p. 121. ISBN 1-84353-105-4. OCLC 59305933.CS1 maint: others (link)
  8. ^ a b Guterman, Jimmy (November 7, 1990). "Slippery When Wet". Retrieved February 14, 2020.
  9. ^ Contemporary Musicians. Gale Research, Incorporated. 1989. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-8103-2218-9.
  10. ^ Harrison, Thomas (2011). Music of the 1980s. ABC-CLIO. p. 48. ISBN 9780313366000.
  11. ^ "Allmusic (Bon Jovi charts & awards) Billboard albums".
  12. ^ "Billboard 200 Albums : Nov 24, 2016 - Billboard Chart Archive".
  13. ^ "Top 100 Albums". RIAA. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  14. ^ "Obituary: Bruce Fairbairn". 31 May 1999.
  15. ^ Dome, Malcolm (July 2006). "We'll make it, I swear...". Classic Rock #94. p. 44.
  16. ^ Dome, Malcolm (July 2006). "We'll make it, I swear...". Classic Rock #94. p. 47.
  17. ^ "How Bon Jovi Changed the World With 'Slippery When Wet'". Observer. 2016-08-18. Retrieved 2016-12-11.
  18. ^ Giles, Jeff (August 18, 2016). "30 Years Ago: Bon Jovi Release 'Slippery When Wet'". Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  19. ^ a b Dome, Malcolm (July 2006). "We'll make it, I swear...". Classic Rock #94. p. 45.
  20. ^ "Top 10 Banned Metal Album Covers". The Gauntlet. 2008-05-29. Retrieved 2014-07-16.
  21. ^ Matthew Wilkening (2011-07-11). "Bon Jovi – Most Shocking Album Covers". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 2014-07-16.
  22. ^ Christgau, Robert (1990). "B". Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s. Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-679-73015-X. Retrieved August 17, 2020 – via
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  28. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 0786". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
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  59. ^ "British album certifications – Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved June 9, 2012. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Slippery When Wet in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
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External links[edit]