Jon Bon Jovi Thought ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ Was Just ‘Okay’
Richie Sambora called Jon Bon Jovi an "idiot" for not realizing the potential of "Livin' on a Prayer" when they wrote it.
"I remember walking out of the room with Richie," the singer told The Irish Times, "and I said, ‘Eh, it’s okay. Maybe we should just put it on a movie soundtrack.’ Richie looked at me and said, ‘You’re an idiot. It’s really good.’ I said, ‘I just don’t know where it’s going.’ But it didn’t have that boom-boom-boom bassline yet, so it sounded more like the Clash.
“That song, God bless it," he continued. "But, my God, who knew? Not us, I can assure you. It was created on a day when none of us had any ideas. We just had a conversation, and it came out of that. I’m sure happy my name’s on it!”
Released as the second single from Bon Jovi's 1986 album, Slippery When Wet, "Livin' on a Prayer" became their second consecutive No. 1 single and sold 3 million copies. The song not only bought him a house, he added, “it bought a lot of people houses.”
A year and a half ago, during a Q&A session on his Runaway to Paradise cruise, Bon Jovi said his doubts about "Livin' on a Prayer" stemmed from his belief that it "didn’t sound like anything. You know, ‘Runaway’ had eight notes, like a lot of songs on the radio at the time. Even ‘[You Give Love a] Bad Name’ was reminiscent of other songs that were on the radio. ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ didn’t sound like anything. So, I was sort of indifferent. I thought, ‘Well, it’s different, but is it a rock song? Is it us?'”
However, he added that he regretted putting in the key change at the song's conclusion, joking that it's given him problems "every night for 36 years."