Richie Sambora Was Concerned About Preserving Bon Jovi’s Sound, Desmond Child Recalls

Desmond Child recently joined a chat with Produce Like A Pro’s Warren Huart and remembered when Richie Sambora had a concern related to Michael Jackson about a Bon Jovi hit.

Recalling his first meeting with Bon Jovi and how the song ‘You Give Love a Bad Name’ came about, Desmond said:

“So then the very first day that I met Bon Jovi, I had a title in my back pocket; ‘You Give Love A Bad Name.’ Then that’s when Jon looked up at me [and smiled]… he had a song he had written called ‘Shot Through The Heart,’ so he threw that. So I said, ‘Ok, shot through the heart, and you’re to blame, darling you give love a bad name’… So that was our first triple high-five with Richie Sambora.”

Child then mentioned another song he had written for Bonnie Tyler and how Sambora expressed concern that it sounded too much like Michael Jackson:

“Then I said, ‘Look, I have this song that I wrote for Bonnie Tyler, and I really think the chorus is a hit song.’ The Bonnie Tyler kind of had that same [hums synth part from the Bonnie Tyler song], and it was a little bit like ‘Billie Jean’ or Eurythmics.

So I said, ‘Richie, play this’ [Child hums the guitar riff that would feature on ‘You Give Love A Bad Name’] and he said, ‘No man, that’s like Michael Jackson, man – we’re a rock band.’ I said, ‘Play it on the guitar and chug it.'”

In an interview with Rock Pages last year, the producer this time had remembered Jon Bon Jovi’s concerns about another hit song from the band, ‘Livin’ On A Prayer.’ Initially, Jon had reservations about the track because he wanted to create a hard rock record rather than an emotional one. Together with Richie, they convinced the singer to give the song a chance.

Desmond explained:

“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.”

In addition to ‘You Give Love a Bad Name’ and ‘Livin’ on a Prayer,’ the musician also co-wrote the songs, ‘Without Love,’ and ‘I’d Die For You,’ with Bon Jovi and Sambora in the band’s 1986 album, ‘Slippery When Wet.’

You can watch the entire chat below.