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Songwriter Desmond Child on working with Bon Jovi on ‘Slippery When Wet’: “They had this energy”

Island Def Jam Music Group

On August 18, 1986, Bon Jovi released their third studio album, Slippery When Wet, which went on to be a massive hit.


The album featured their signature tune, “Livin’ On A Prayer,” as well as “You Give Love A Bad Name.” Both were written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora with songwriter Desmond Child, who had no idea their partnership would wind up being so successful.

“I just showed up for the job, and when I got there, I saw these two guys. They look like they were out of the court of Louis the 15th, these big mullet bouffants,” Child tells ABC Audio. “And, you know, they had this energy.” 

He says the first song they wrote together was “You Give Love A Bad Name,” and he instantly knew there was something special there. “I could feel an energy,” he says. “We had a chemistry, the three of us together.” 

Slippery When Wet went on to hit #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart and spent eight weeks in the top spot. It was certified 12-times Platinum by the RIAA and is the New Jersey rockers’ bestselling album to date.

And you can read more tales of Child’s work with Bon Jovi, KISS and other artists when his new memoir, Livin’ On A Prayer: Big Songs Big Life, comes out September 19.

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