‘Livin’ on a Prayer,’ Bon Jovi

Jon Bon Jovi in the "Livin' on a Prayer" video.

Jon Bon Jovi in the “Livin’ on a Prayer” video.

This is song No. 200 in the 350 Jersey Songs series, and I am officially breathing a sigh of relief. The end may not exactly be in sight, but it’s not that far away. Not that I ever really doubted it, but I feel more confident than ever that I won’t run out of songs.

I haven’t always written about the most obvious song candidates so far, in part because I wanted to pace myself: I didn’t want all the highest profile songs at the beginning, and all the obscure ones at the end. But now that I’m at 200, I feel I can call on some of the songs I’ve been holding in reserve. In the next few weeks, particularly, I think I’m going to be writing about a lot of them.

Which brings us to today’s entry: Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

This wasn’t Bon Jovi’s breakthrough hit: That would be “You Give Love a Bad Name,” released earlier in 1986 (both were No. 1 hits). But this gritty but uplifting tale of a working class couple holding on to their dreams in the face of adversity was the one that really proved to the world that Bon Jovi was more than just another hair-metal band. And it has remained a staple in their setlists, and a dependable highlight of their concerts, ever since.

I think, simply, that it’s the most important song in the career of one of the biggest bands New Jersey ever has produced.

Below is the song’s original music video.

New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.


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1 comment

Jason Didner April 8, 2015 - 4:38 pm

From the time my daughter was an infant, I’d sing this to her (in a low register because I’m a baritone and to give it a calming effect) to help calm her crying. Then one night when she was 2, it was playing on the car stereo and she was rocking in her car seat. And she said “That’s my favorite song!” as it was fading out. #JerseyGirl


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