10 Songs You Didn’t Know Jon Bon Jovi Wrote for Other Artists

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

When Bon Jovi began working on their third album Slippery When Wet, singer Jon Bon Jovi and guitarist Richie Sambora wanted to start writing for other artists, and jumped in, primarily working along with producer Desmond Child.

“Richie and I had two gold albums,” said Bon Jovi of the band’s 1984 self-titled debut and follow-up, 7800° Fahrenheit, in 1985. “We wanted to write for other people. It was at the time when [Bryan] Adams was doing stuff for Tina Turner and a lot of that was happening. So we wanted to write with other people. That, to us, was your peers saying they liked your music.”

Along with writing their own hits for Bon Jovi—”I’ll Be There for You,” “Livin’ on a Prayer,” “You Give Love a Bad Name” and more of the band’s catalog throughout the mid-to-late-’80s and 1990s and into the present, the pair have written songs together and separately for artists like Stevie Nicks, Cher, Alice Cooper, Paul Young, Daryl Hall and John Oates, Meat Loaf, Ted Nugent, Bo Bice, Donny Osmond, and beyond.

Of the dozens of songs the former bandmates wrote together, here’s a look, and listen to, 10 songs that Jon Bon Jovi wrote (with Sambora and separately) for other artists.

1. “Notorious,” Loverboy (1987)
Written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Todd Cerney, and Loverboy’s Mike Reno and Paul Dean

Known for their hits like “Working for the Weekend” and “Turn Me Loose,” Canadian rockers Loverboy’s fifth album, Wildside, was the band’s last before a 10-year hiatus and subsequent return with the aptly named sixth release, Six (1997). It was another decade before their seventh album, Just Getting Started, in 2007, and follow-up albums were released. Wildside featured a track co-written by Bryan Adams (“Hometown Hero”) as well as the sole single, “Notorious,” penned by the band’s singer Mike Reno and guitarist Paul Dean, along with Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora.

Everybody by name, every trick in the book
Everywhere she goes she gets those dirty looks

I said, little girl, don’t you hesitate, ’cause you’re usin’ live bait
Senorita, solitaire, you got a certain kind of savoir-faire

‘Cause you’re notorious (notorious), everything you want, everything you need
‘Cause you’re notorious (notorious), everything mother’s nightmare

2. “We All Sleep Alone,” Cher (1987)
Written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, and Desmond Child

The second single off Cher‘s self-titled 18th album, “We All Sleep Alone” didn’t break out nearly as big as the Michael Bolton and Mark Mangold-penned hit “I Found Someone” (a song originally recorded by Laura Branigan), but it did manage to reach the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 14 and No. 11 on the Adult Contemporary chart. In typical ’80s fashion, Cher released “We All Sleep Alone” on VHS along with a music video she directed—featuring her then-beau Rob Camilletti, who also appeared in the “I Found Someone” video—that was later included on her 2004 DVD video compilation The Very Best of Cher: The Video Hits Collection. The track was later remixed by Todd Terry for Cher’s 1998 album Believe.

Somebody somewhere turns out the light
Somebody all alone faces the night
You got to be strong when you’re out on your own
‘Cause sooner or later we all sleep alone
Nobody nowhere holds the key to your heart
When love’s a possession it’ll tear you apart
You may have lovers wherever you roam
But sooner or later we all sleep alone

Oh, the young and the young at heart wait
But the wait never ends in the soul
When you feel like it’s all blown away
Independence has come and into the night I go
Don’t make no promises I can’t keep
I won’t be no prisoner of somebody’s needs
You know I have lovers wherever you roam
But sooner or later, oo, we all sleep alone

3. “You’re Not My Lover (But You Were Last Night),” Dalton (1987)
Written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, and Desmond Child 

Formed by Mats Dahlberg, the former drummer of the Swedish metal band Treat in 1986, Dalton were a metal powerhouse along with fellow Swedes, Europe, in the 1980s. For their debut, The Race Is On, Michael Bolton-penned a song called “I Think About You,” while Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, and Desmond Child teamed up to write the head-banging “You’re Not My Lover (But You Were Last Night). Following their 1989 album, Injection, Dalton parted ways during the grunge-fueled ’90s and returned with a third album, Pit Stop, in 2014.

You’re not my lover, but you were last night
No time for dreamin’ ’cause you’re not mine
You’re not my lover is it wrong or right?
You’re not my lover, but you were last night

I got no reason to protest
It’s give and then you take
We both got secrets to protect
We both know hearts can break

4. “That’s the Story of Love,” Ted Nugent (1988)
Written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Ted Nugent, and Dave Amato

Of the 10 tracks off Ted Nugent‘s 10th album, If You Can’t Lick ‘Em… Lick ‘Em, all written and arranged by Nugent, the exception was the hard rock closer “That’s The Story of Love.” The track was co-written with Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, and REO Speedwagon guitarist Dave Amato, who played in Nugent’s band from 1985 through 1988 and later joined Sambora on tour in 1991.

As long as there’s the two of us
We’ve got the world and all its charms
And when the world is through with us
We’ve got each others arms

You’ve got to win a little, lose a little
Yes, and always have the blues a little
That’s the story of, that’s the glory of love
That’s the story of, that’s the glory of love

5. “Peace in Our Time,” Gorky Park (1989)
Written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora

Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora were fans of the Russian band Gorky Park, and even co-produced their self-titled debut, along with co-writing one track, “Peace in Our Time.” The band toured with Bon Jovi in 1990 and received the Scandinavian Grammi award for Best New International Act in 1991. Gorky Park was the first Russian band to ever get featured on MTV with their hit “Bang” and (though they never officially disbanded) released their fourth and final album, Protivofazza, in 1998 with a brief reunion in 2012.

Peace in our time, peace in our mind
Everybody’s got their cross to bear
Tell me, where do we go from here
I need some peace in my mind
We need some peace in our time

Wake up, take a look around
Tell me what you think you see
There’s a whole lot of people in the lost and found
Looking for their liberty
There’s a prime time war on my TV screen
There’s a dope deal down on my city streets
And the only one who’s losing out
Is you and me
I ain’t here to paint no pretty little picture
We’re running out of time
I need some peace
A little peace
If we’re gonna survive

6. “Hell Is Living Without You,” Alice Cooper (1989)
Written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Desmond Child, and Alice Cooper

Though never released as a single off one of Alice Cooper‘s biggest albums, Trash, “Hell Is Living Without You”—co-written with Desmond Child, who also produced the album, along with Bon Jovi, Sambora—is worth a listen and complements the album power ballad, “Only My Heart Talkin’.” Trash also features guest vocals from Steven Tyler, the late Dead Boys’ singer Stiv Bators and Bon Jovi along with songs co-written by Joan Jett and Diane Warren.

I can’t find your face
In a thousand masqueraders
You’re hidden in the colors
Of a million other lost charaders

In life’s big parade
I’m the loneliest spectator
‘Cause you’re gone without a trace
In a sea of faceless imitators

7. “Does Anybody Really Fall in Love Anymore?” Cher (1989)
Written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Desmond Child, and Diane Warren

Diane Warren may have written the mega-hit “If I Could Turn Back Time” for Cher‘s 19th album, Heart of Stone, but there were more hidden gems, which were never released as singles, including “Does Anybody Really Fall in Love Anymore?” also written by Warren, along with the songwriting troika of Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora (who Cher ended up dating from 1989 to 1990), and Desmond Child.

There’s a sad face in the mirror
And I’m sad to say it’s me
Like a ghost up in the attic, only love can set him free
I’ve been running ’round in circles on this rollercoaster ride
There’s a lonely world around me, I get sucked in by the tide
I said, hey, love ain’t no crime
So why is everybody so afraid to cross that line?

8. “So Close,” Hall & Oates (1990)
Written by Jon Bon Jovi, Daryl Hall, George Green, and Danny Kortchmar

The lead single off Daryl Hall and John Oates’ 14th album, Change of Season, “So Close” peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the duo’s last Top 40 hit. The duo also released an acoustic version of the song as a B-side of the single.

Yeah a man loves a woman but he can’t understand
Why she’s sad when she stares at the ring on her hand
Or she sits in some club where the long shadows fall
Drop a coin in the jukebox not the phone on the wall

So close, yet so far away
So close, yet so far away
We believe in tomorrow maybe more than today
We’re so close, so close, yet so far away

Some people think if you really believe
That’s what you need to solve all the mysteries
Yeah I know someone who just heads for the sun
I don’t wanna be wise, I just wanna stay young

9. “Sometimes It’s a Bitch,” Stevie Nicks (1991)
Written by Jon Bon Jovi and Billy Falcon

“When I first heard this song, I really did not quite understand what Jon was trying to say, but over the two weeks that we sang it together (at my mike), I started to realize that Jon, without knowing it, had sort of taken a time machine back 18 years and watched my life, the good parts and the bad,” said Stevie Nicks of the previously unreleased track that Jon Bon Jovi wrote for her, which she later released on her TimeSpace compilation in 1991.

“It was not a love song, which of course, I had expected it to be,” added Nicks. “It was much more than that to me. Bon Jovi had picked up on the fact, before meeting me, that there was no way he could know what I had lived through without having lived through it with me, so he dreamed.”

I’ve reached in darkness and come out with treasure
I’ve laid down with love and I woke up with lies
What’s it all worth only the heart can measure
It’s not what’s in the mirror…but what’s left inside

10. “Elvis in Vegas,” Meat Loaf (2010)
Written by Jon Bon Jovi, Desmond Child, and Billy Falcon

Queen’s Brian May, Jack Black, actor, and singer Hugh Laurie are just some of the guests featured on Meat Loaf‘s tenth album, Hang Cool Teddy Bear. Meat Loaf co-wrote several songs on the album and enlisted contributions for the rest from Kara DioGuardi, The Darkness‘ Justin Hawkins, and Jon Bon Jovi, who co-wrote the closing track “Elvis in Vegas” with Billy Falcon and Desmond Child.

“Jon doesn’t know this yet, but I changed his lyrics to make them fit the concept,” said Meat Loaf of the track. “I don’t know what Jon will say about that but I’ve known him since 1980, so he’ll probably be okay with it.”

Out on the highway
I hitched a ride, I was heading west
I had to listen to some trucker
Tell me all about the meanin
g of life

Got a ride just outside of Memphis
I was wild out on the road
I saw shanties and shacks
And burned out Cadillac’s
And faces that glittered like gold

Shoulda seen it coming
Shoulda seen the signs
I saw seven horses running
I had a front row seat at the end of time

Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

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