It was during this week in 1987 that Bon Jovi’s timeless rock anthem “Livin’ On A Prayer” kicked off a four week run at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 from Feb. 14 – March 14. It was the group’s second consecutive No. 1 hit after “You Give Love A Bad Name” and ultimately became their signature single, but did you know that it almost didn’t even make the cut on the band’s 1986 release Slippery When Wet?
To celebrate the enduring success of this classic rock song, we’re breaking down some of the little known facts behind the song that you may not have known before, starting with that little tidbit mentioned above.
1. The song almost didn’t make the record.
When it was originally recorded and included as a hidden track on 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be Wrong, Jon Bon Jovi didn’t think it was good enough to include on Slippery When Wet. It took convincing from Richie Sambora, and according to Jon himself, a group of teenagers to change his mind, and after reworking the song with different drums and bass line, it was added to album.
2. It’s based on a real life situation.
The song revolves around two central characters Tommy and Gina, who are a working class couple struggling to make ends meet. In the song, Tommy “used to work on the docks” and Gina works in a diner, and according to Songfacts.com, the fictional couple was inspired by a real life situation the song’s co-writer Desmond Child experienced in the ’70s with his then girlfriend Maria Vidal. According to his notes in his Desmond Child & Rouge: Runners In The Night album, he was a taxi driver and Maria worked in a diner.
3. “Livin’ On A Prayer” makes a cameo in another Bon Jovi hit.
In the group’s 2000 hit “It’s My Life,” Bon Jovi and Sambora revisit the fictional characters Tommy and Gina from “Livin’ On A Prayer” by referencing them in the line “For Tommy and Gina, who never backed down.”
4. The song has had double chart success
It’s a rare feat for an artist to not only score a number one hit, but to repeat that success years later with the same song. Bon Jovi made history when “Livin’ On A Prayer” returned to the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 25 in 2013, 26 years after it originally topped the charts in 1987. And it was all thanks to a viral video.
5. The music video was shot in Los Angeles.
The black and white music video featuring behind the scenes footage of the band preparing for a live show was filmed at Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles by renowned music video director Wayne Isham. Isham has helmed videos for big name artists including Michael Jackson, Madonna, KISS, Britney Spears and more.
Now that you know the facts about the song, re-watch the video for “Livin’ On A Prayer” in all its big 80s hair glory below!
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