Songwriting Analysis: Bon Jovi “Wanted Dead or Alive”

Bon Jovi: Slippery When Wet

You may love or hate really big guys, but they don’t become big for nothing — and this song is a fine example of the songwriting power house that is Bon Jovi.  Looking closely at this identity-defining anthem reveals these deft touches:

  • Mixing of major and minor harmonies to make the song sound fresh and interesting
  • Heavy reliance on the C note (melody) and chord (harmony), which is a bVII in the key of D Major — the “defiance” chord which communicates the rebel rock n roll spirit of the song
  • The whole thing is based on Dorian mode/harmony, which sounds a lot more distinct and exotic than standard major or minor tonality