“You Give Love a Bad Name” is a song by American rock band Bon Jovi, released as the first single from their 1986 album Slippery When Wet. Written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, and Desmond Child about a woman who has jilted her lover, the song reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 on November 29, 1986, and became the band’s first number one hit. In 2007, the song re-entered the charts at No. 29 after Blake Lewis performed it on American Idol. In 2009 it was named the 20th greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1. Despite the lyrics of the chorus, the song should not be confused with “Shot Through the Heart”, an unrelated song from Bon Jovi’s 1984 self-titled debut album.
“You Give Love a Bad Name” was originally written for Bonnie Tyler under the title “If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)” with different lyrics. Dissatisfied with its success in the US and the UK, Desmond Child re-wrote the song with Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora.
The song was written with several catchy repeated lines and associated hooks to appeal to mainstream audiences including the chorus as well as several bridges.
This song is written in the key of C minor and has a tempo of 123 BPM.
The album version of the song ends with the title being repeated until it fades.
The music video for the song used all-color concert footage (the only all-color video song from Slippery When Wet) and photogenic shots primarily of Jon Bon Jovi, as well as other band members in concert. This video was filmed at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, California.
Bon Jovi was now being managed by Doc McGee, who realized that Bon Jovi needed a video for MTV. Doc hired video director Wayne Isham, who had directed videos for Doc’s other band, Mötley Crüe. The two bands were competitive with each other and Mötley Crüe felt betrayed that Wayne would direct one of Bon Jovi’s videos.
Wayne had the band’s name painted on the stage and made sure that the band did not see it until they began shooting.
Bon Jovi had been opening for 38 Special but became a headlining act after the video debuted.
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