Angela on the Album Shoot for Bon Jovi by Mark Weiss, 1986.
The album was done. Three-hundred-thousand copies, with Angela in her provocatively cut wet t-shirt clinging to her 34DD breasts, had already been released in Japan. Everything was ready to go in the US. But this was 1986, and the PMRC was in full swing. Record stores were telling the labels to ease up on the explicit content and imagery or they wouldn’t sell the products. Polygram knew they had a smash album on their hands, and they didn’t want to jeopardize that success. They also knew the music stood on its own, so we went back to the drawing board to come up with another cover. Mercury destroyed nearly 500,000 copies before they ever left the warehouse to be distributed in the U.S.
Jon had issues with the Angela cover as well. Only in his mind, it was more about the color of the border around the photo than the actual photo itself.
Recently he told Howard Stern that his thinking was, “My career is over if we put out a hot pink album cover.” But if the pink border was the problem, why not just take it out?
I asked him what we were going to do and he replied: “I don’t know, but this is our last chance or the album gets held up.” Jon arrived at my studio, walked inside and didn’t even say hello. “Garbage bag. Spray bottle,” was all he said. I followed orders. I propped up the black bag and sprayed it with an oil and water mixture. Then Jon wrote the words SLIPPERY WHEN WET. As he was leaving he said, “That’s it. That’s their cover.” He didn’t even wait to see the Polaroid. The next day I delivered the photo, and the rest is history.
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