Bon Jovi’s ‘You Give Love a Bad Name’ Is an Intentional Rewrite of Another 1980s Song

“You Give Love a Bad Name” is one of Bon Jovi’s most famous classic rock songs; however, it wasn’t entirely original. One of the writers of the song admitted “You Give Love a Bad Name” was a rewrite of an earlier 1980s song by another artist. In the same vein, Bon Jovi took inspiration from one of its own tracks while writing “You Give Love a Bad Name.”

Bon Jovi's David Bryan, Tico Torres, Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, and Alec John Such
Bon Jovi | Paul Natkin/Getty Images

1 songwriter wrote songs for Bon Jovi, Kiss, Aerosmith, and Bonnie Tyler

Desmond Child is a notable music industry veteran. According to Celebrity Access, he wrote songs like Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer,” Kiss’ “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” and Aerosmith’s “Dude (Looks Like a Lady).” Child also wrote songs for Bonnie Tyler.

According to Billboard, Child wrote Tyler’s single “If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man),” which was produced by Jim Steinman. Steinman is known for writing songs like Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.” Steinman wanted “If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)” to have the chorus of a Bruce Springsteen song, the verse of a Tina Turner song, and a “b-section” that sounded like The Police or Hall & Oates. The song wasn’t a major success. It merely reached No. 77 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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How ‘If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)’ became connected to ‘You Give Love a Bad Name’

Child decided to reuse the melody of the song. He and Bon Jovi combined the melody with a line from an earlier Bon Jovi song called “Shot Through the Heart” to create a new song called “You Give Love a Bad Name.” “You Give Love a Bad Name” became a massive hit. It reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 24 weeks.

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Bon Jovi wasn’t the only artist to reuse the melody from ‘If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)’

child revealed “If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)” became the basis of yet another song. “I was lucky last year that my song ‘If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man),’ that I solely wrote (in 1986) for Bonnie Tyler, was interpolated by Ava Max and her fellow eight co-writers for ‘Kings & Queens,'” Child told Larry LeBlanc of Celebrity Access. “They came to me, and we made a deal, and I became a co-writer of ‘Kings & Queens.'”

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LeBlanc said songwriters shouldn’t balk at the idea of recycling elements of their songs. “Well, it’s OK because I got the major portion of the song,” Child replied. “And all of these people in their 20s, I don’t mind being surrounded by them at all. They had the song, and asked me what I thought, and I said, ‘Go for it. It’s my sound.'” It seems the melody of “If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)” has connected with multiple artists and generations.