Slippery When Wet – 1986

Slippery When Wet is the third studio album by American rock band Bon Jovi. It was released on August 18, 1986 through Mercury Records in North America and Vertigo Records internationally. The album was produced by Bruce Fairbairn. Recording sessions took place between January and July 1986 at Little Mountain Sound Studios in Vancouver, Canada.

Slippery When Wet was an instant commercial success. The album features songs that are today considered Bon Jovi’s most well-known tracks, such as the singles “You Give Love a Bad Name”, “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “Wanted Dead or Alive”.

The album spent eight weeks at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart and was named by Billboard as the top-selling album of 1987. Slippery When Wet is the band’s best-selling album to date, with an RIAA certification of 12× Platinum, making it one of the top 100 best-selling album in the United States. The album was featured in the 2005 book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Despite the moderate success of 7800° Fahrenheit, Bon Jovi had not yet become the superstars they had hoped. This made them change their approach for the next album, going for a more mainstream sound than their heavier first two albums. Hiring professional songwriter Desmond Child as a collaborator, the group wrote 30 songs and auditioned them for local New Jersey (including recording artist and Phantom’s Opera vocalist Colie Brice) and New York teenagers, basing the album’s running order on their opinions. Bruce Fairbairn was chosen as the main producer of the album, with Bob Rock as the mixer. The 1985 album Without Love which Fairbairn produced for Black ‘N Blue, attracted Jon Bon Jovi for its sound quality, and he immediately sought out the producer.

The album went through various name changes during its inception including “Wanted Dead Or Alive” (an album cover was produced with the band dressed as cowboys; the artwork was later used for the single release of the track of the same name), with Slippery When Wet being the final title conceived. According to Jon Bon Jovi, the band decided to name the album Slippery When Wet after visiting The Number 5 Orange Stripclub in Vancouver.

The cover consists of a wet black garbage bag with the words “Slippery When Wet” traced in the water. The album originally was to feature a busty woman in a wet yellow T-shirt with the album name on the front of the shirt. This original version of the cover was swapped for the wet plastic bag cover just prior to release. The reasons most often given for the switch were record execs’ fears that the dominant record store chains at the time would have refused to carry the album with such a sexist cover, or Jon Bon Jovi’s complaint that the record company had put a bright pink border around the photograph that the band had submitted.[9][10]

In Japan, most releases of the album did include the original cover art.

Track listing[edit]
Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Let It Rock” Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora 5:27
2. “You Give Love a Bad Name” Bon Jovi, Sambora, Desmond Child 3:42
3. “Livin’ on a Prayer” Bon Jovi, Sambora, Child 4:09
4. “Social Disease” Bon Jovi, Sambora 4:18
5. “Wanted Dead or Alive” Bon Jovi, Sambora 5:08
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
6. “Raise Your Hands” Bon Jovi, Sambora 4:16
7. “Without Love” Bon Jovi, Sambora, Child 3:30
8. “I’d Die for You” Bon Jovi, Sambora, Child 4:30
9. “Never Say Goodbye” Bon Jovi, Sambora 4:48
10. “Wild in the Streets” Bon Jovi 3:54
[show]1998 2-CD Special Edition Bonus CD PHCR-90015/6
[show]2010 special edition bonus tracks
DualDisc edition[edit]
In 2005, Slippery When Wet was re-issued as a DualDisc. The CD side contained a newly remastered version of the album, and the DVD side contained the same album in its original stereo mix, plus a slightly expanded 5.1 surround sound version. The expanded album included additional elements within many of the songs, in some cases increasing their runtime. The audio material is playable through a DVD-Audio player and standard DVD Players. The DVD side also included all 5 promo videos from the album:

“You Give Love a Bad Name”
“Livin’ on a Prayer”
“Wanted Dead or Alive”
“Never Say Goodbye”
“Wild In The Streets”
The DualDisc was released on September 20, 2005, the same release date as Have A Nice Day.


Bon Jovi

Jon Bon Jovi – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, rhythm acoustic guitar (track 5)
Richie Sambora – lead guitar, backing vocals, lead acoustic guitar (track 5)
Alec John Such – bass, backing vocals
Tico Torres – drums
David Bryan – keyboards, backing vocals
Bruce Fairbairn – producer
Bob Rock – engineering, mixing
Tim Crich – engineering assistance
Tom Keenlyside – saxophone
Lema Moon – horns
George Marino – digital remastering
Bill Levy – artwork
Mark Weiss – photography