Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” is the group’s second chart-topping single from its third album Slippery When Wet. Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, and Desmond Child wrote the song, which was well received by rock and pop radio stations, and the music video received heavy rotation on MTV, giving the band their first No. 1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart and their second consecutive Billboard Hot 100 Top 10.
By December 2021, the official music video had received over 856 million views on YouTube.
Jon Bon Jovi was not happy with the original recording of this song, which is hidden on 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be Wrong. Richie Sambora, however, convinced him that the song was good, so they reworked it with a different bassline, different drum fills, and a talk box to include it on Slippery When Wet. From January 31 to February 14, 1987, the song spent two weeks at the top of the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and four weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Additionally, it reached the UK Singles Chart at number four.
The band played an acoustic version of this song for New York in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks – in which New Jersey was the second-hardest hit state after New York, suffering hundreds of casualties among WTC workers and first responders. A similar version was performed by Bon Jovi as part of the special America: A Tribute to Heroes.
Online voters ranked “Livin’ on a Prayer” No. 1 on VH1’s list of The 100 Greatest Songs of the 1980s in 2006. More recently, “Living on a Prayer” was rated No. 1 on C4’s U Choose 40, also on the 80’s Icons list. On the Sing-Along Classics List, it also ranked No. 1. The song re-entered the official New Zealand RIANZ singles chart at number 24 after Bon Jovi performed in New Zealand on January 28, 2008 while on their Los Highway Tour.
MAX’s 2008 countdown of the “Rock Songs: Top 100” placed this song at No. 18. Song returned to the charts in the UK in 2009, reaching the number-one spot on the UK Rock Chart.
This song was selected over the group’s more recent hits “Always” and “It’s My Life” in an online vote on the Grammy.com website to be played live by the band on the 52nd Grammy Awards telecast.
“Living on a Prayer” ranked 46 on the Billboard Hot 100 Anniversary 50 list of all-time rock songs. Since the song was made available for download, it has sold 3.4 million digital copies in the US.
Various versions of the song, including its original ending, are also available on the music video games Guitar Hero World Tour and Rock Band 2. This song was reworked and made available on November 9, 2010, for use in the Rock Band 3 music gaming platform. It takes advantage of PRO mode, which allows use of a real guitar / bass guitar, as well as standard MIDI-compatible electronic drum kits / keyboards in addition to up to three-part harmony or backup vocals.
Due to a viral video, the song returned to the Billboard Hot 100 at number 25 in November 2013. The song was listed as one of the greatest key changes in music history by ShortList’s Dave Fawbert in 2017.
Tommy and Gina, a working-class couple, struggle to make ends meet in the song. Gina works as a waitress at a diner while Tommy loses his dockworker job due to a strike. Jon Bon Jovi and songwriter Desmond Child experienced real-life events in the 1970s that inspired the storyline. During Jon Bon Jovi’s school days, he had an acquaintance who was a star baseball player and wanted to be a professional baseball player, but after his girlfriend informed him of her pregnancy, he gave up the dream and began working in a factory. When Desmond Child was a taxi driver in New York, his then-girlfriend, singer-songwriter Maria Vidal, worked as a waitress in a diner named “Once Upon A Stove”, akin to Gina in the song. Due to Vidal’s physical resemblance to Italian actress and photographer Gina Lollobrigida, the owner, manager, and other employees of the diner nicknamed her “Gina”.
“It is about how two kids – Tommy and Gina – face life’s struggles and how their love and ambitions get them through.” said Bon Jovi. The work is real and it’s working class… I wanted to incorporate the movie element, as well as tell a story about people I knew.
Wayne Isham directed the video, which was filmed on September 17, 1986, at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. Beginning with a silhouette of the band walking down the hall, the video shows them rehearsing in black and white, then performing in color in front of a crowd.
Jon wears a harness attached by professional stunt coordinators and stunt spotters at the beginning of the video, and during the final chorus, he soars over the crowd via overhead wires attached to the harness.
Have fun with Daria’s rendition of this cool song. You won’t be disappointed. Put your eyes closed and really listen to this song.
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