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Lyric Music

Livin’ On A Prayer

Bon Jovi

Album Slippery When Wet

Story of Song

A story of a working couple, Tommy and Gina, who are working hard to make ends meet despite constant hardships. The couple in the song relate to the working class fans Bon Jovi played to. “Tommy” works on the docks, while “Gina” works in a diner. The characters Tommy and Gina were based on a real life situation Desmond Child encountered in the late ’70s with his then girlfriend, Maria Vidal, who he was living with, he was a taxi driver and Maria was a waitress in a diner. Desmond Child and Bon Jovi co-wrote “You Give Love a Bad Name” in New Jersey, and it turned out a huge success, they later decided to co-write another song but this time Desmond invited the band to come to New York, Desmond said: “You Give Love a Bad Name” turned out so great that they asked to co-write with me again, and this time I said, “No, this time, you’re coming to New York City.” I think they took the (train) out or something and we met in a little apartment that was borrowed from a friend who had a piano. We started writing this story song about Tommy and Gina. Well, to me. But I think that each person, there was something autobiographical, for Jon with his relationship with his wife Dorothea, because they were high school sweethearts. In my case, I had a girlfriend that I started my first band called Desmond Child & Rouge. Her name was Maria Vidal. I stayed home writing songs, and she worked as a waitress at a place called Once Upon a Stove. They called her Gina because she reminded them of Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida. So we started the song off with Johnny and Gina because Johnny was my original name. And Jon said, “I can’t be singing about Johnny. My name’s Johnny.” It was like, “OK … Tommy then. Tommy and Gina.” And that’s where Tommy and Gina were born. In an interview with The Guardian November 5, 2009, Jon Bon Jovi said: “The inspiration was a young couple who got pregnant and gave up everything they had, but that didn’t read right, so we changed the story.”

Release date

Released on October 31, 1986


Jon Bon Jovi – Richie Sambora – Desmond Child



Chart Rankings

US – 1

UK – 4


This great song peaked at number 1 in the US. The Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified it 3 times platinum for sales over 3.4 million copies. Voters rated it as number 1 on VH1’s list of “The 100 Greatest songs of the 80’s.” It also reached number 1 in Canada, New Zealand and Norway, and was in the top 10 charts in 13 countries.

On the 1987 year-end charts, “Livin’ on a Prayer” peaked at number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It was certified Gold in Canada, Japan and the UK with sales over half a million copies. Twenty years after its release, “Living on a Prayer” re-entered the charts in New Zealand after Bon Jovi’s performance while on their “Lost Highway Tour” early 2008. In November 2013, the song made its return to the Billboard Hot 100 at number 25, due to a viral video.

Artist’s age on release date

The band Bon Jovi was active for 3 years. Jon Bon Jovi (lead singer) was 24, Richie Sambora (lead guitar) was 27, David Bryan (Keyboard) was 24 and Tico Torres (drums) was 33 years old.

Cover Versions

Bon Jovi (Acoustic) – Dead Or Alive (British band) – Bon Jovi with Taylor Swift & Prince William.

This is a major 80s classic.

Added by Slate

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