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 last year. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we are marking the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, for almost a year — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. We started in September 2014, and will keep going until late in the summer.
If you would like to suggest any songs to be included, please let me know in the comments section underneath the video. And if you want to see the entire list, either alphabetically or in the order the songs were selected, click here.