First Hit #1: February 14, 1987
One of the things that isn’t immediately obvious about Slippery When Wet is that the songs are all basically about being Bon Jovi. Take Livin’ On a Prayer, about a couple who set off on their own, not sure what the future is going to bring but at least they have each other. This is a pretty common premise, but one of the people in the pair happens to be a man with a guitar, and you realize it’s about Bon Jovi pre-success. And that’s fine, because it seems to keep the band from taking the song too seriously – it’s about us, or about a situation familiar to us, let’s crank it out. So you get the distinct “wub wub wub” that opens the song, plenty of cowbell, and one of the best choruses to drunkenly sing into Guitar Hero. The band doesn’t take itself too seriously, as evidenced by the outright goofy video, but they do put a lot of effort into making the song something enjoyable, and if the lyrics are autobiographical, that’s perfectly fine. It’s not all sweetness and light, the couple in the center of the song is hard up, but then the chorus cranks out and all the troubles fade into the background.