Here’s How to Make Bon Jovi’s ‘New Jersey’ a Double Album Again
When Bon Jovi’s New Jersey reached No. 1 in October 1988, it fulfilled the high expectations of the band and their record label. Still, if Jon Bon Jovi had his way, the project could have looked radically different.
In early 1988, Bon Jovi wanted to make New Jersey (then titled Sons of Beaches) a double album. This was met with a vehement push-back by his label. “Polygram wouldn’t let me, they were adamant,” the singer stated during an interview at the time. The label was concerned about the price-point and the potential for reduced sales. Also in their rearview mirror was Tusk, the double album Fleetwood Mac released in 1979 as a follow-up to their blockbuster Rumours. It had a fraction of the predecessor's sales and failed to reach the top of the charts.
So the band floated the idea of two albums released six-to-eight months apart. “There was the attitude of putting out two albums, one now and one in the spring like the Beatles used to do," Jon explained. Releasing two albums close together would have been an anomaly at the time, when releases by major labels were carefully rolled out with military-like precision. Still, he toyed with the concept, at one point even admitting a plan to keep “Wild Is the Wind” and “Stick to Your Guns” for a second album. In the end, the label put its foot down. They told Jon he had to whittle it down to only his best, which led to 12 songs on a single album released on Sept. 19, 1988. New Jersey would ultimately sell seven million copies in the United States. The irony, of course, is that a double album would eventually knock it out of the top spot on the charts - U2's Rattle and Hum.
Though the double album version of New Jersey never saw the light of day, b-sides and demos of unreleased songs have emerged. In October 1989, “Love Is War” appeared on the b-side of the single “Living in Sin”. In 1991, a 16-track demo surfaced that featured 10 previously unheard songs. In addition, a rough pre-production demo began making its way into trading circles that featured three additional (but hard to hear) recordings. That brought the total of known songs from the New Jersey sessions to 25.
So what would a double album have looked like? It's easy to envision part one as an easy-on-the-ears set of tunes, with "Lay Your Hands on Me," "Bad Medicine" and "Born to Be My Baby" all leading the charge (as they did on the actual album's release).
Part two would have allowed the band to showcase their more experimental material. Bon Jovi initially had reservations about including the tracks, stating, “It wasn’t the time to put it out on this record, for continuity, because they’re so left field." Cuts like "Diamond Ring" (eventually released in 1995 on These Days) and “Let’s Make It Baby” (remixed for a 1996 deluxe U.K. edition of These Days) may have confused casual fans but also would have shown the critical establishment there was a level of grit to the band.
Below you'll find our estimation of the double album track listing. To compile your own version, you'll need the deluxe edition of New Jersey released in 2014, which contains the original 12-track album, the b-side “Love Is War” and the Sons of Beaches demos. “House of Fire,” while included on the 2014 deluxe edition, doesn’t fit in with the proposed track listing because it was most likely demoed as a favor to Desmond Child for either Joan Jett’s 1988 Up Your Alley album or to submit to Alice Cooper who found a home for it on 1989’s Trash. One outtake, “In America,” remains unreleased, so we’ve left this song off the potential configuration. Lastly, you will need a copy of Richie Sambora’s Stranger In This Town from 1991 which has “Rosie,” a song demoed in 1988 and that was left off the 2014 release.
Bon Jovi, ‘New Jersey Part 1’ Proposed Track Listing
1. "Lay Your Hands On Me" (from New Jersey)
2. "Bad Medicine" (from New Jersey)
3. "Born to Be My Baby" (from New Jersey)
4. "Backdoor to Heaven" (from New Jersey/Sons of Beaches demo)
5. “Love Hurts” (from New Jersey/Sons of Beaches demo)
6. “Love Is War” (B-side from "Living In Sin" single)
7. “Now and Forever” (from New Jersey/Sons of Beaches demo)
8. “Full Moon High” (from New Jersey/Sons of Beaches demo)
9. “Judgement Day” (from New Jersey/Sons of Beaches demo)
10. "Does Anybody Really Fall in Love Anymore? (from New Jersey/Sons of Beaches demo)
11. “Blood on Blood” (from New Jersey)
Bon Jovi, ‘New Jersey Part 2’ Proposed Track Listing
1. “Homebound Train” (from New Jersey)
2. “99 in the Shade” (from New Jersey)
3. “Growing Up the Hard Way” (from New Jersey/Sons of Beaches demo)
4. “Let’s Make It Baby” (from New Jersey/Sons of Beaches demo)
5. “Living in Sin” (from New Jersey)
6. “Diamond Ring” (from New Jersey/Sons of Beaches demo)
7. “Rosie” (from Stranger in This Town)
8. “Wild Is the Wind” (from New Jersey)
9. “Ride Cowboy Ride” (from New Jersey)
10. “Stick to Your Guns” (from New Jersey)
11. “I’ll Be There For You” (from New Jersey)
12. “Love For Sale” (from New Jersey)
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