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 rock band Bon Jovi. It was released on August 18, 1986 by Mercury Records in North America and Vertigo Records internationally; the album was produced by Bruce Fairbairn. Recording sessions took place between January and July 1986 at Little Mountain Sound Studios in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Slippery When Wet was an instant commercial success; the album features songs that are considered Bon Jovi's best known, including "You Give Love a Bad Name", "Livin' on a Prayer" and "Wanted Dead or Alive".

The album spent eight weeks at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart[5] and was named by Billboard as the top-selling album of 1987.[6] 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;[7] the album was featured in the 2005 book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.


Despite the moderate success of 7800° Fahrenheit (1985), Bon Jovi had not yet become the superstars they had hoped; this made them change their approach for their next album, going for a more mainstream sound than their 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 for its sound quality, and he immediately sought out the producer.[8]

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.

"I liked what Bryan Adams had done with Tina Turner," Bon Jovi explained, "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."[9]

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.

One of the songs written during the making of the album, "Edge of a Broken Heart", did not feature 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." 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 song. The song has never been performed live by the band, despite being a fan favorite.

"There's a song called 'Love Is A Social Disease' that Aerosmith were keen to get hold of," remarked Bon Jovi in 1986. "It would be ideal for them, but they're not having it, because it's even better for us."[10]

Title and artwork[edit]

The album went through various name changes during its inception, including Wanted Dead Or Alive. A proposed cover with the band dressed as cowboys[11] 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."[12]

The cover consists of a wet black garbage bag with the words "Slippery When Wet" traced in the water ("So simple," observed Sambora, "and not very impressive"[13]); 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 execs' 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.[14][15] "Our label freaked out a bit when they saw what we'd done," recalled Sambora. "They thought it would be banned by American stores, so we had to come up with something else – fast."[16]

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

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[4]
Rolling Stone(unfavorable)[18]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3.5/5 stars[19]
The Village VoiceB−[17]

The album was a massive success commercially. Between 1986 and 1987, Slippery When Wet produced an amazing 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 hard rock/glam metal band to ever have 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 hard rock/glam metal album to spawn 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 also had impressive staying power, with 38 weeks inside the Top 5 of Billboard 200, including 8 weeks at No. 1. Slippery When Wet was 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 was ranked 44th in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's list of the Definitive 200 albums of all time.

Track listing[edit]

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, Child4:09
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

DualDisc edition[edit]

In 2005, Slippery When Wet was re-issued as a DualDisc; the CD side contained a newly remastered version of the album, and the DVD side contained the same album in its original stereo mix, plus a slightly expanded 5.1 surround sound version. The expanded album included additional elements within many of the songs, in some cases increasing their runtime; the audio material is playable through a DVD-Audio player and standard DVD Players. The DVD side also included all 5 promo videos from the album:

  • "You Give Love a Bad Name"
  • "Livin' on a Prayer"
  • "Wanted Dead or Alive"
  • "Never Say Goodbye"
  • "Wild in the Streets"

The DualDisc was released on September 20, 2005, the same release date as Have A Nice Day.


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



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[42] 6× Platinum 420,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[43] Diamond 1,000,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[44] Platinum 73,564[44]
Germany (BVMI)[45] Platinum 500,000^
Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)[46] Gold 10,000*
Japan (Oricon Charts) 215,000[27]
Netherlands (NVPI)[47] Platinum 100,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[48] Platinum 15,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[49] Platinum 100,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[50] 2× Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[51] 3× Platinum 900,000^
United States (RIAA)[52] 12× Platinum 12,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Harrison, Thomas (2011). Music of the 1980s. ABC-CLIO. p. 48. ISBN 9780313366000.
  2. ^ Metal – A Headbanger's Journey, DVD, ASIN B000FS9OZY (2005).
  3. ^ "Top 20 Hair Metal Albums of the Eighties – Guitar World". Guitar World. Archived from the original on 4 October 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  4. ^ a b Slippery When Wet at AllMusic
  5. ^ "Allmusic (Bon Jovi charts & awards) Billboard albums".
  6. ^ "Billboard 200 Albums : Nov 24, 2016 - Billboard Chart Archive".
  7. ^ "Top 100 Albums". RIAA. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  8. ^ "Obituary: Bruce Fairbairn". 31 May 1999.
  9. ^ Dome, Malcolm (July 2006). "We'll make it, I swear...". Classic Rock #94. p. 44.
  10. ^ Dome, Malcolm (July 2006). "We'll make it, I swear...". Classic Rock #94. p. 47.
  11. ^ "How Bon Jovi Changed the World With 'Slippery When Wet'". Observer. 2016-08-18. Retrieved 2016-12-11.
  12. ^ Giles, Jeff (August 18, 2016). "30 Years Ago: Bon Jovi Release 'Slippery When Wet'". Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  13. ^ Dome, Malcolm (July 2006). "We'll make it, I swear...". Classic Rock #94. p. 45.
  14. ^ "Top 10 Banned Metal Album Covers". The Gauntlet. 2008-05-29. Retrieved 2014-07-16.
  15. ^ Matthew Wilkening (2011-07-11). "Bon Jovi – Most Shocking Album Covers". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 2014-07-16.
  16. ^ Dome, Malcolm (July 2006). "We'll make it, I swear...". Classic Rock #94. p. 45.
  17. ^ "Consumer Guide".
  18. ^ "Slippery When Wet".
  19. ^ Rolling Stone Album Guide
  20. ^ Thompson, Bronwyn (January 29, 2008). "On A Steel Horse Bon Jovi Rides To Top Of The Charts". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2008-02-01. Retrieved 2017-11-04. Slippery When Wet reached No. 1 in Australia when it was originally released and went on to sell six times platinum. It has sold 28 million copies worldwide.
  21. ^ " – Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  22. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 0786". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  23. ^ " – Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  24. ^ "Sisältää hitin - Finnish Chart Archive". Suomenlistalevyt / Timo Pennanen. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  25. ^ " – Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  26. ^ " – Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  27. ^ a b Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  28. ^ " – Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  29. ^ " – Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  30. ^ "Los discos más vendidos". ABC (in Spanish). 11 November 1987. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
  31. ^ " – Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  32. ^ " – Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  33. ^ "Bon Jovi | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart.
  34. ^ "Bon Jovi Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  35. ^ "Bon Jovi Chart History (Top Catalog Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  36. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1986". RPM. 1986-12-27. Retrieved 2011-11-17.
  37. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  38. ^ " – Jahreshitparade 1987". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-11-17.
  39. ^ "Top 100 Albums of '87". RPM. 1987-12-26. Retrieved 2011-11-17.
  40. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1987" (in Dutch). Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  41. ^ " – Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1987". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-11-17.
  42. ^ "ARIA Report 28th January 2008 (Issue 935)" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
  43. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet". Music Canada. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  44. ^ a b "Bon Jovi" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  45. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Bon Jovi; 'Slippery When Wet')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  46. ^ "IFPIHK Gold Disc Award − 1988". IFPI Hong Kong. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
  47. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Bon Jovi – Slippery" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved June 16, 2012. Enter Slippery in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  48. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  49. ^ "Solo Exitos 1959–2002 Ano A Ano: Certificados 1979–1990". Solo Exitos 1959–2002 Ano A Ano.
  50. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Bon Jovi; 'Slippery When Wet')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  51. ^ "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.
  52. ^ "American album certifications – Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 9, 2012. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]