Desmond Child Recalls Jon Bon Jovi’s Concerns About ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’
During his recent interview with Rock Pages, Desmond Child revealed some unknown details about a Bon Jovi classic’s recording process. The successful songwriter stated that the band’s frontman Jon Bon Jovi thought about changing the song.
As a very famous and prolific songwriter, Desmond Child collaborated with various iconic bands and musicians such as KISS, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Alice Cooper, and Ace Frehley. Child joined Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora to write the lyrics of many songs from the band’s third studio album entitled ‘Slippery When Wet,’ which was released on August 18, 1986.
He showed his talent while working on ‘You Give Love a Bad Name,’ ‘Livin’ on a Prayer,’ ‘Without Love,’ and ‘I’d Die For You,’ almost all of which hit the charts and were listened to worldwide. However, the lyricist unveiled that such a well-crafted song like ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ wouldn’t have existed if he hadn’t convinced Jovi about recording it. He said the frontman wanted to make a hard rock record, while the original track was too emotional.
Desmond Child knew that the song was great and worth trying, and he and Sambora got on their hands and knees to beg Jon to give ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ a chance. Jovi finally agreed with them; the song took place on the album and became one of the most known Bon Jovi works. Desmond added that it touched people of different ages, races, and parts of the world and inspired some of them while fighting against the global pandemic.
Desmond Child recalled those times, saying:
“Well, when creating something, you’re in the moment. You never know what’s going to happen. That song had a majesty, an upward lift that just exuded hope. At that time, Jon was thinking about making a more hard rock record. So when we wrote the song, it was a little bit sentimental. It’s a bit soft, and he said, ‘I was hoping we could rock harder.’ Richie and I got on our hands and knees and begged him to record it. I mean, half-joking, but half for real. Just record it! See what happens.
As soon as they started recording it, everyone felt magic, and there was no way of turning back. The song has a life of its own. It does. So many people, so many generations, know the song. Sometimes they don’t even know where the song came from or who the artist is. You know, that song is one of those. It’s known all around the world. It was so touching when the whole city of Chicago started singing, ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ through the windows to hear each other during COVID.“
“That touched my heart. What I love about going to see Bon Jovi is that you’ll see people there from so many generations. You’ll see babies on the shoulders, you know, with their head headphones on, and the parents are there rocking with their fists in the air. Then the grandparents are there. The great grandparents are there. Old people, people of every color, are there, from all walks of life. When they’re singing ‘Livin’ on a Prayer,’ which is always the last song, so no one can leave until they hear it.
So, he’s keeping them there till midnight if necessary. No one will leave. When they sing that song, they put on the lights. You can’t even hear the band playing it because everybody sings, screaming it out. That’s when I stand there, look around, and go: ‘Wow, they all know a song that I had something to do with.’
That’s a very profound feeling of pride. Let’s say all my songs are forgotten. That one won’t be forgotten. You have dozens of songs that won’t be forgotten, of course. ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ may be at the top of the list, possibly. But then you have so many songs that it won’t be forgotten.”
You can listen to the song below.