How Bon Jovi Reacted When Dolly Parton Rewrote ‘Lay Your Hands on Me’

Bon Jovi’s “Lay Your Hands on Me” is a very sexual song. Despite this, Dolly Parton covered “Lay Your Hands on Me” and turned it into a gospel song. During an interview, Parton revealed how Bon Jovi reacted to her changing the song significantly.

Dolly Parton with a guitar
Dolly Parton | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Why a Bon Jovi song reminded Dolly Parton of her childhood

Parton’s version of “Lay Your Hands on Me” is very different from Bon Jovi’s. Bon Jovi’s version of the song is a quintessential hair metal song. On the other hand, Parton’s version of the song is a country-fried gospel banger. Parton discussed why she changed the song’s genre.

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Parton explained why she thought “Lay Your Hands on Me” would make a good gospel song. “I always loved the song, but the first time I heard it — because I grew up in a Pentecostal church, where people believed in healing hands and laying your hands on someone — I just thought, ‘Wow, that would make a fantastic gospel song,'” she said.

How Bon Jovi reacted to Dolly Parton’s ‘Lay Your Hands on Me’

Parton revealed she reached out to members of Bon Jovi to see if she could cover “Lay Your Hands on Me.” “You can’t take liberties with people’s song without running it by them, so I contacted Jon and Richie Sambora, who wrote the song together, and asked them, ‘I would love to do this as a gospel song, would y’all help me put that together?'” she recalled. “They were all for it, and everybody threw in their little ideas, and I threw in mine.”

Bon Jovi revealed Sambora reacted when she performed the song live. “In fact, Richie was at one of my shows in Australia [in February],” Parton said. “He flipped out when I did it on stage in front of the audience. He had his manager videotape it on his little phone or whatever.” Parton was happy to learn that. In addition, Parton said Jon Bon Jovi wrote her a kind note where he praised her cover of “Lay Your Hands on Me.”


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The way the world reacted to the 2 versions of ‘Lay Your Hands on Me’

Bon Jovi’s version of “Lay Your Hands on Me” was a hit. It reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 16 weeks. Its parent album, New Jersey, was a hit too. It reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and lasted 77 weeks on the chart.

“Lay Your Hands on Me” was also successful in the United Kingdom. The Official Charts Company reports the song reached No. 18 in the U.K., remaining on the charts for six weeks. Meanwhile, New Jersey reached No. 1 in the U.K. and lasted on the chart for 54 weeks.

On the other hand, Parton’s cover of “Lay Your Hands on Me” was not a single. Billboard and The Official Charts Company respectively report it did not chart in the U.S. or the U.K. Its parent album, Blue Smoke, was a bigger deal. It peaked at No. 6 in the U.S. and No. 2 in the U.K. Even if Parton’s cover wasn’t a hit, Bon Jovi enjoyed it.