I still remember it like it was yesterday. The first time I ever heard that band and song. I was just about 3 years old and the people working at my house had their boom box on and I’ll never forget the words and what happened next. “Shot Though The Heart and You’re To Blame. Darlin you give love, a bad name.” From that moment, I was sold. The first band that ever had a real impact on me and the album that set everything in motion. Bon Jovi and Slippery When Wet. What a way to start things off. The song “You Give Love A Bad Name” was and still is to this day, a huge favorite of mine. Every time I hear it, I can’t help but sing along. And when I go see a Bon Jovi concert. You best believe that I’m singing as loud as I can.
Bon Jovi was the first band I was ever a huge fan of. Ever since I was three years old, I’ve been a fan. My first concert ever was Bon Jovi back in 1989 (I was almost 5 at the time) when they were touring for their New Jersey album. Skid Row (yes, that Skid Row) was the opening band on that tour. One day I will write a whole elaborate piece about that show. Anyways, this morning while I was getting ready, “Wanted Dead or Alive” popped in my head but it was a particular version. Back in 1989, on the MTV Video Music Awards, Jon and Richie, took the stage, just the two of them with acoustic guitars and performed “Livin’ On A Prayer” and “Wanted Dead or Alive.” That performance would go on to live in infamy. Not only for how amazing it was but, because it was the inspiration for the MTV Unplugged series. So, here we are now, over 30 years since that performance, and it’s still one of the most memorable ones I’ve ever seen.
Bon Jovi- Livin’ On A Prayer/Wanted Dead Or Alive (1989 MTV Video Music Awards):
Let’s take a trip back to 1990 and the movie Young Guns II. The story goes, Emilio Estevez had asked Jon to use “Wanted Dead or Alive” as the main song for the film but instead, Jon wrote a new song and an albums worth of material. Kiefer Sutherland mentioned in an interview many years ago, “When Jon (Bon Jovi) joined the team for Young Guns 2, we were all eating hamburgers in a diner and Jon was scribbling on this napkin for, say, six minutes. He declared he’d written ‘Blaze of Glory’, which of course then went through the roof in the States. He later gave Emilio Estevez the napkin. We were munching burgers while he wrote a No. 1 song… Made us feel stupid.” The song later won the Golden Globe for best original song and received an Oscar nomination (but lost to Stephen Sondheim’s “Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man) from Dick Tracy… Talk about a robbery).
I’ve been wanting to do this cover comparison for a while now. Anyone that knows me very well, knows that I’m a huge Bon Jovi fan. I’ve seen them perform this version a few times and it is amazing. Jeff Buckley did a great job with it too. I’m going to have to go with Jon’s version though. There is just something so amazing about it. Leonard Cohen even thought it was that good too that he even said that it’s Jon’s song now. What one do you think is best?