Song of the Day: Wanted Dead or Alive (by Bon Jovi)


The newest entry in the “Song of the Day” feature takes us back in the glory days of the late 80’s when hard rock made a major come back. It’s only appropriate that I pick one of my favorite hard rock songs of the era: Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive”.

It was to be the third single released off of their monster third full-length album, Slippery When Wet. It would turn out to become their official anthem as millions of fans from several generations since it’s initial release. The Old West-themed song was a collaboration between frontman Jon Bon Jovi and band lead guitarist Richie Sambora. It took the two listening to Bob Seger’s own “on the road” song “Turn the Page” to bring inspiration to the two musicians. What they came up with was their own version of “Turn the Page” and it would become an instant hit and classic.

“Wanted Dead or Alive” would have one of the more recognizable openings with Sambora playing the initials chords on a Spanish guitar before the rest of the band comes in and Jon Bon Jovi starts singing about the hard life of a rock band as it travels from gig to gig. The lyrics to this song shows the less-than-glamorous side of a band no matter how successful they may be. The two musicians liken themselves to the Old West cowboys and gunslingers who, just like a rock band, lived like outlaws and on the edge of what’s morally decent as they passed from dusty towns to dusty towns plying their skills.

Even after 23 years since this song came out I’m still not tired of it and could always get me to sing along to it to the top of my lungs.

Wanted Dead or Alive

It’s all the same
Only the names will change
Everyday
It seems we’re wastin’ away

Another place
Where the faces are so cold
I drive all night
Just to get back home

I’m a cowboy
On a steel horse I ride
I’m wanted
Dead or alive
Wanted
Dead or alive

Sometimes I sleep
Sometimes it’s not for days
The people I meet
Always go their separate ways

Sometimes you tell the day
By the bottle that you drink
And times when you’re alone
All you do is think

I’m a cowboy
On a steel horse I ride
I’m wanted
(Wanted)
Dead or alive
Wanted
(Wanted)
Dead or alive

Ohh alright
Ohh

Oh I’m a cowboy
On a steel horse I ride
I’m wanted
(Wanted)
Dead or alive

When I walk these streets
A loaded six string on my back
I play for keeps
‘Cause I might not make it back

I’ve been everywhere
(Ohh, yea)
Still I’m standin’ tall
I’ve seen a million faces
And I’ve rocked them all

‘Cause I’m a cowboy
On a steel horse I ride
I’m wanted
(Wanted)
Dead or alive

I’m a cowboy
I got the night on my side
And I’m wanted
(Wanted)
Dead or alive
And I’m right
(And I’m right)
Dead or alive
I still drive
(I still drive)
Dead or alive

Dead or alive
Dead or alive
Mm dead or alive
Dead or alive

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