Monday, October 11, 2010

About I'll Be There For You...

From The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits, 5th Edition, published 2003.

I'll Be There For You

Writers: Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora
Producer: Bruce Fairbairn
May 13, 1989
Weeks at Number 1: 1

The Top Five - Week of May 13, 1989
1. I'll Be There For You - Bon Jovi
2. Like A Prayer - Madonna
3. Real Love - Jody Watley
4. Forever Your Girl - Paula Abdul
5. Soldier of Love - Donny Osmond

Bon Jovi followed "Bad Medicine", the first number one single from their New Jersey album, with "Born to Be My Baby," a song producer Bruce Fairbairn thought would go higher than its chart peak of number three. "Boy (that) should have been number one," he laments.

Co-writer Desmond Child says the title came from Richie Sambora. "It was meant to be a kind of folk-rock thing, more like a Springsteen anthem with jangly guitars and stuff like that. They gave it the 'Livin' on a Prayer' treatment, which I didn't agree with. It was still successful, but I would have preferred it if it had been a little slower."

For their third single from New Jersey, the band chose "I'll Be There for you," a song written by Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi. It debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 82, and 10 weeks later it became Bon Jovi's fourth number one song.

"'I'll Be There for You' is one of those great personal ballads that Jon can get a hold of and when he sings it, his delivery is really outstanding," says Fairbairn. "You can't help but hear the song and get into it in a real personal way with him. It was a great song for them. Of course, a lot of things you never know, until you actually get them out there and see what the kids think about it."

Fairbairn says he produced New Jersey in the same fashion as the band's previous effort, Slippery When Wet. "I think we went about it the same way, the feeling being that it worked really well - so if it ain't broke, don't fix it. We naturally fell into a pretty similar kind of routine and a basically similar type of recording patten."

The producer offers an analysis of Jon's performance on New Jersey: "He was singing with a lot more confidence. He knew what he had; he knew when he put his mind to it that he could sing with the best of them, and really attacked the album with that kind of approach. When a singer goes in with that kind of confidence, you're definitely going to get good stuff."

There were two more singles from New Jersey after "I'll Be There for You." "Lay Your Hands on Me" peaked at number seven in July, 1989, and "Living in Sin" went to number nine in December.

Almost two years after New Jersey was released, Jon Bon Jovi completed a solo project, writing and recording songs for Young Guns II. That effort provided him with a number one song ("Blaze of Glory"). Jon's working on his own fueled rumors that Bon Jovi might not record together again. But on December 23, 1990, the group played together for the first time since their 16-month, 237-date world tour ended in February. They played a charity benefit at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, New Jersey for the Monmouth County Arts Council and Holmdel's Sisters of the Good Shepherd. Eight days later, they headlined at the Tokyo Dome in Japan with Cinderella, the London Quireboys and Skid Row as supporting acts.

In March of 1991, Jon told Jeffrey Jolson-Colburn of the Hollywood Reporter that PolyGram, parent company of Mercury, was giving him his own label to run. "I haven't had a desk since I was in high school," the new CEO joked. Turning serious, he added, "This will be a label for artists by artists to give opportunities to musicians that deserve a shot."

Richie Sambora stepped out of the background and released a solo album, Stranger in This Town, in the summer of 1991. He told Melinda Newman in Billboard how difficult it was for him to write about the blues: "One day I was sitting in my house and I was thinking, how am I going to find the blues? I started to drink a little and I got into a good bottle of whiskey and I started to feel guilty about my life being so good." Then he remembered that Robert Johnson described the blues as, "I love my baby, my baby she don't love me." Sambora said, "That's the blues. Everybody's got that no matter what their economic state is."

Sambora told Newman he enjoyed being in the foreground. "This has been my dream ever since I was a kid. I know that this could be the beginning of a career beyond Bon Jovi. I'm starting a new relationship with the listener."


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