Happy anniversary Tommy & Gina: Bon Jovi's “Livin' on a Prayer” went to #1 30 years ago this week

Ebet Roberts/RedfernsLast year, Bon Jovi‘s landmark album Slippery When Wet marked its 30th anniversary, but this week marks the 30th anniversary of one it’s best known songs, “Livin’ on a Prayer,” topping the charts.

The album’s first single, “You Give Love a Band Name,” hit #1 in November of 1986, and “Livin’ on a Prayer” reached #1 on February 14, 1987 and stayed there for four weeks.  It’s the band’s longest-running #1 hit, and its lead characters, Tommy and Gina, have become part of rock mythology.  In fact, Jon Bon Jovi namechecked the couple again in the band’s 2000 hit “It’s My Life.”

Slippery When Wet spent eight weeks at #1 and spun off another massive hit, “Wanted Dead or Alive,” but “Livin’ on a Prayer” remains Bon Jovi’s signature song — and the album’s still the band’s biggest seller.  No wonder Jon Bon Jovi claims he still remembers every detail about recording it.

“I don’t really sit around listening to it, but Lord knows, I’ve heard a number of the songs still on the radio quite often,” Jon tells ABC Radio. “And it’s almost surreal, because I can picture us in the rooms.  I know why the key change in ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ happened and I know where. I know every incident that went down.  I know why the album cover’s a black garbage bag, with my fingers writing ‘Slippery When Wet.'”

“I can’t remember what I did yesterday,” he marvels. “But I remember all of that detail because it changed all of our lives…forever.  And I’m so grateful for that moment, but I’m also so grateful that we keep having those moments.”  

He’s not wrong: Slippery When Wet became the first of six #1 Bon Jovi albums, including their most recent release, This House Is Not for Sale.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.