Solo #10 Bon Jovi Wanted Dead or Alive 2:42 – 3:08

In the early ’80s, much of the music that I consumed came through the television. MTV was a revelation and a revolution, and me and my friends could not get enough of it. We all lamented their long, slow slide from a music video channel, to something else, something less, something unworthy of their initials.

I think no other video defines that era for me than Bon Jovi’s stylistic, black & white, band-on-the-road video for Wanted Dead or Alive. The incredible irony of the video is that the song lamented the trials and loneliness of life on the road for a megaband, while at the same time made me as a teenage boy yearn for that lifestyle. As an adult, I think of how incredibly whiny the sentiment is — poor Bon Jovi and his international success. How hard that must have been.

But as a kid, I accepted it without cynicism. Yeah, it’s hard and lonely on the road, but it’s worth it to see a million faces and rock them all.

If Jon Bon Jovi is the driving force behind the song, then Ritchie Sambora is the linchpin that holds it all together. His ethereal and melodic 12-string riffs give the song its backbone, and his unexpected and raunchy solo that acts as the turning point to the song. Finally, he’s the voice behind the unforgettable one-word backing vocal, the soulful “Waaaan-ted!” that no one can resist singing along with.

In the video and on tour, Ritchie plays this iconic dual-neck Ovation. His solo is filled with what are known as “pinch harmonics” or “squealies” — they give the solo it’s hard edge and reckless feel, and they are not easy to create. The technique involves hitting the string with your thumb at the same time as the pick, causing a harmonic tone. I admit that I’m not very good or consistent at it, and that’s the one thing that might cause this solo to take longer than usual. We’ll see if I can get better quickly.


Whole song:

Backing Track:

Lesson 1:

Lesson 2, part 1:

Lesson 2, part 2:

Solo Tab:

Music Video: