Though not typical of the classic stadium anthems Bon Jovi became known for, “Wanted Dead Or Alive” was and still is a favorite among fans. Big hair bands all took the power ballads plunge in the ’80s, and the Jersey rockers were no different. The third single from Bon Jovi’s 1986 album Slippery When Wet was released on March 3, 1987 and performed well on various U.S album charts as well as around the world. And even though it can be flawlessly sung by thousands without skipping a word, there are a few things you might not know about Bon Jovi’s ode to the Wild West. Here are five things you didn’t know about Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead Or Alive”
“Wanted Dead or Alive” Helped Set Records
“Wanted Dead Or Alive” cracked the Top 10 at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming the third track from Slippery When Wet to do so (“You Give Love a Bad Name,” “Livin’ on a Prayer”). This made Bon Jovi’s third studio album the first hard rock album to have three Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.
“Wanted Dead Or Alive” Is Our National Anthem
You don’t think so? Well it certainly is to legions of Bon Jovi fans. During a concert at New Jersey’s Prudential Center in October 2007, Jon Bon Jovi asked the the crowd, “Will you please rise for the playing of our national anthem?” Thousands obliged, belting out the chorus. “Wanted… WANTED!… dead or aliiiiiiiiive.”
Bob Seger Inspired “Wanted Dead Or Alive”
After listening to Bob Seger’s “Turn The Page” on their tour bus in 1985, Jon Bon Jovi felt inspired to write an anthem for his band. The result was “Wanted Dead Or Alive.” Jon Bon Jovi describes that very moment at a show in Detroit in 2008 following a run-in with the “Turn The Page” singer the night before at a Detroit Pistons game.
It Has Been Released 37 Times
From its original release on Slippery When Wet to numerous greatest hits, live and compilation albums, “Wanted Dead Or Alive” has been released a total 37 times as of today (January 28, 2013).
“Wanted Dead or Alive” Begat “Blaze of Glory”
Before Emilio Estevez became a washed-up actor, he approached Jon Bon Jovi about using “Wanted Dead or Alive” in the movie Young Guns II. Estevez believed the song would be perfect to the Wild West sequel, but JBJ wasn’t so sure. Instead, Jon Bon Jovi quickly wrote “Blaze of Glory,” the movie’s theme song and the only No. 1 hit for Bon Jovi away from his band.
- E.J. Judge, WCBS-FM New York; photos by Getty