Songcraft: Spotlight on Songwriters Podcast

Desmond Child

Ep. 17 - Desmond Child

Livin' on a Prayer: The Pop/Rock Powerhouse Who Defined a Generation

WARNING: Explicit content.

Songcraft catches up with Desmond Child to get the details on a career that virtually defined pop and rock songwriting for a generation. He reveals the identity of the real-life famous "dude" who looked like a lady and inspired the title of an Aerosmith classic; he details his very first Bon Jovi writing session in Richie Sambora's parents' New Jersey basement; he explains what Frank Sinatra's influence had to do with writing Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca;" and he explains how he helped revitalize the careers of Cher, Joan Jett, Alice Cooper and other rock luminaries.

One of the most successful and prolific writers and producers of all time, Desmond Child’s songs have resulted in nearly six dozen Top 40 singles on Billboard's pop, rock, country, and R&B charts. His band Desmond Child & Rouge attracted the attention of Paul Stanley. He partnered with Child to write “I Was Made For Loving You,” which became a major hit for KISS in 1979. Desmond first collaborated with Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora for Bon Jovi’s 1986 album, Slippery When Wet. That partnership resulted in the #1 hits, “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Livin’ on a Prayer.” Desmond has appeared as a co-writer on every Bon Jovi album since, co-writing additional hits such as “Bad Medicine,” “Born To Be My Baby,” “This Ain’t a Love Song,” and “(You Want To) Make a Memory.” He formed a similar alliance with Aerosmith, with whom he wrote the hits “Dude (Looks Like a Lady),” “Angel,” “What It Takes,” and “Crazy.” He co-wrote Joan Jett’s “I Hate Myself for Loving You” and all of the tracks on Alice Cooper’s wildly successful Trash LP, including the hit single “Poison.” Not limited to the rock world, Child began branching out, co-writing pop songs such as Michael Bolton’s “How Can We Be Lovers,” as well as co-writing and producing “Just Like Jesse James” and “We All Sleep Alone” for Cher. In the late 1990s, he returned to his Latin roots, joining forces with Ricky Martin and scoring with several singles, including the #1 worldwide smash, “Livin’ La Vida Loca.” Among the many other artists who’ve recorded his songs are Cyndi Lauper, Megadeth, Ratt, Hanson, Robbie Williams, Roxette, Boyzone, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Bonnie Tyler, Hilary Duff, Vince Neil, Lindsay Lohan, Jonas Brothers, Meat Loaf, Scorpions, Sebastian Bach, INXS, Kelly Clarkson, Joss Stone, and Weezer. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2008 and is the Chairman and CEO of the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame.


Songcraft's Desmond Child Playlist: Spotify users can select the song you'd like to hear below, or simply start the player and enjoy some of Desmond's best known songs. If you don't have a Spotify account, follow the prompts to sign up for free. Click this link to take you directly to the playlist in the Spotify web player.