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Tracks from the Past: Bon Jovi

BY TOMMY MORGAN JR. | OCTOBER 01, 2009 7:20 AM

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Bon Jovi
Slippery When Wet
Released August 18, 1986

Before they settled for recording sugary country ballads with the likes of LeAnn Rimes, there was a time — believe it or not — when Bon Jovi used to rock. Nowhere was this more apparent than on the band’s third album, 1986’s Slippery When Wet.

It has everything a hair-metal album should. Guitarist Richie Sambora shreds when necessary, but he isn’t afraid to show the softer side of his guitar. Drummer Tico Torres and bassist Alec John Such keep the pace and the danceable rhythms alive. And Jon Bon Jovi’s downright sexy vocals and perfectly sprayed hair keep the ladies swooning and the boys rocking hard.

In keeping with the spirit of hair metal, Slippery When Wet is supposedly named after a strip club.

The album is almost a greatest hits collection in itself. “You Give Love a Bad Name,” “Livin’ on a Prayer,” and “Wanted Dead or Alive” are arguably Bon Jovi’s finest and most popular work — not to mention that they are three of the greatest karaoke jams ever recorded. Combined with the rest of the tracks on Slippery When Wet, from rocker “Wild in the Streets” to the love song “Without Love,” these works represent the best era of the Bon Jovi juggernaut.

Nowadays — as with many things from bygone eras — it seems that Bon Jovi is only appreciated sardonically. But for all of the cheese (and hairspray) for which that the band is mocked, Slippery When Wet still stands as one of the greatest albums of the hair-metal era, if not one of the best rock albums of all time.


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