‘You Give Love A Bad Name’: Bon Jovi’s First Anthem

The song raced to No.1 as the band raced into the top flight of worldwide rock attractions.

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Bon Jovi 'You Give Love A Bad Name' artwork: UMG
Bon Jovi 'You Give Love A Bad Name' artwork: UMG

Bon Jovi’s third album Slippery When Wet had already been to No.1 and turned platinum, but November 29, 1986 found the band sitting pretty at the top of the US singles chart for the first time. “You Give Love A Bad Name” climbed 4-1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and the first of their series of stadium-filling anthems became America’s favorite song of that week.

“You Give Love” was the product of the New Jersey five-piece’s fruitful relationship with writer Desmond Child, with whom they collaborated on a total of four tracks from Slippery When Wet. They also included the equally anthemic follow-up “Livin’ On A Prayer,” which gave them another US No.1 just 11 weeks later.

As the band raced into the top flight of worldwide rock attractions, and the album rose to current reported worldwide sales of 25 million, the other new ingredient in their success was Canadian producer Bruce Fairbairn. He helmed Slippery and the New Jersey sequel of 1988, and was also at the desk for multi-million-selling albums by Aerosmith and AC/DC. He died suddenly in 1999, at the age of just 49.

Bon Jovi - You Give Love A Bad Name (Official Music Video)

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While “You Give Love” and “Prayer” were making Bon Jovi one of the hottest singles acts of the 1986-87 season, Jon Bon Jovi was telling Spin magazine that his favorite singers included Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Freddie Mercury, and Eric Burdon. He was also reflecting on the band’s progress as a live attraction around the world.

Listen to the best of Bon Jovi on Apple Music and Spotify.

“After four years and three albums every place has sort of equalled out,” he said. “Now our audiences in Europe are pretty much half male and half female. In the States it was more female, now it’s half and half. It took a while because in the beginning people didn’t know what the hell Bon Jovi was. They didn’t know if we were a jeans commercial or a pizza parlour.”

Buy or stream “You Give Love A Bad Name” on the Slippery When Wet album.

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