Radius Book Group has set a September 19, 2023 release date for Desmond Child's first memoir, "Livin' On a Prayer: Big Songs Big Life". The book will include a foreword by KISS frontman Paul Stanley.
Child is the ultimate hitmaker, contributing to some of the biggest smash global hits that helped ignite the success of music icons KISS, BON JOVI, AEROSMITH, Alice Cooper, Ricky Martin, Katy Perry, and countless others. In "Livin' On A Prayer", he reveals how he climbed his way to the top and beyond amid extraordinary circumstances and shares his very personal and unbelievable journey that shaped him into an artist of international renown.
For over half a century, Child has collaborated with the world's most celebrated artists creating timeless hits, such as BON JOVI's "Livin' On A Prayer" and "You Give Love A Bad Name" as well as Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca" and "The Cup Of Life" amongst his vast catalog. But in "Livin' On A Prayer", Desmond himself takes center stage to share his transformational story from misfit outsider to cultural pacesetter.
In collaboration with legendary music biographer David Ritz, Child recounts his unconventional upbringing as his colorful family fled Cuba in the 1960s and fell into poverty. He details his shocking discovery at age 18 that the man he called "dad" was not his biological father after all, and he courageously bares his soul about navigating the trials of being a Latino gay man in the macho world of rock and roll. His is a story of willing himself to succeed and overcome impossible odds to establish himself as one of the most influential composers and lyricists of all time.
Grammy-winning and Emmy-nominated songwriter Desmond Child is one of music's most prolific and accomplished hitmakers. From AEROSMITH to ZEDD, his genre-defying collaborations include KISS, BON JOVI, Cher, Barbra Streisand, Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Ricky Martin, Alice Cooper, Joan Jett, Michael Bolton, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Cyndi Lauper, Christina Aguilera, Ava Max, Mickey Mouse and Kermit The Frog, writing and producing more than eighty Billboard Top 40 singles and selling over 500 million records worldwide with downloads, YouTube views, and streaming plays in the billions.
Child was inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 2008 and serves on its Board Of Directors as well as the Board of ASCAP. In 2018, he received ASCAP's prestigious Founders Award celebrating forty years in the music industry. In 2012, he co-founded the Latin Songwriters Hall Of Fame where he serves as Chairman Emeritus. In 2022, "Livin' La Vida Loca" was inducted into the National Archives of the Library of Congress for its global impact and cultural significance to America. In 2023, "Livin' On A Prayer" was certified to have reached one billion streams on Spotify.
Back in 2019, Desmond said he was hurt when KISS publicly badmouthed his collaboration with the band, "I Was Made For Lovin' You".
Although "I Was Made For Lovin' You" was a huge chart success for KISS more than 40 years ago, it was maligned by many of the group's fans who didn't appreciate the track's disco beat.
During an appearance on the "Talk Is Jericho" podcast, Child said that he wrote "I Was Made For Lovin' You" with Stanley after befriending the KISS frontman in the late '70s.
"I was experimenting then with a drum machine, and the idea of having dance beats with rock had occurred to me," Desmond recalled. "So I kind of hoodwinked him into this idea of four-on-the-floor dance beat with these heavy guitars. Gene [Simmons, KISS bassist/vocalist] never bought it — he never liked it, [and] he [still] doesn't.
"I remember when they made a record — I think it was [1981's] '[Music From] 'The Elder'' — and they started doing hundreds of interviews saying, 'Well, this time, we're putting guards in front of the door to keep Desmond Child out,'" he continued. "And I was so hurt. I called Paul and I said, 'Paul, why don't you criticize your enemies, not the friends that put money in your pocket?' And he says, 'Well, you know, that's Gene — it's not me.' So, the next day I came home and there was a message on my answering machine. And it was, like, 'Hi. It's Gene. Sorry.' And he hangs up. [Laughs] That was his apology."
According to Child, he and Simmons eventually reconciled. "After all these years, he's been an amazing friend and supporter and, actually, mentor," Desmond said.
"I Was Made for Lovin' You" originally appeared on KISS's 1979 album "Dynasty". It was released as the A-side of their first single from the album. It was the band's second gold single, selling over 1 million copies. The single reached No. 11 on the U.S. Billboard singles chart. The song also became a Top 10 hit in Australia, reaching No. 6 on the ARIA charts in 1979. The song fared the best in Western Europe (Where it became a Top 20 hit in Sweden, a Top 10 hit in Norway, made it to the No. 2 position in France, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, and in Holland it became a No. 1 smash).
In 2018, Simmons said that he hated performing "I Was Made For Lovin' You" because he is forced to sing like his grandmother. Asked in an interview with OK! magazine to name a song that he wasn't initially crazy about that ended up becoming a hit, Gene said: "Well, Paul Stanley comes in and he says, 'Did you write any songs?' I go, 'Oh, yeah. I've got one called 'Almost Human'.' 'Yeah? How does it go?' 'I'm almost human. I can't help feelin' strange.' 'Yeah, that's cool. That's a Gene song.' 'How about you, Paul?' He goes, 'I've got one. [It goes] 'Tonight.'' "Ooooh. That's cool. What's the next line?' 'I'm gonna give it all to you.' 'Oh, yeah. I know what 'it' means — I know exactly what you mean.' 'In the darkness.' [Claps] 'Love that!' 'There something I wanna do.' 'Yeah, I know what that 'something' is. Wow! That's a cool song. Okay, what's my part?' [Sings] 'Do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do.' 'You're killing me. Really? I'm gonna sing like my grandmother?' [Sings] 'Do, do, do…' I hate playing that song to [this] day. Stadiums full of people jump up and down like biblical locusts — they go nuts — with tattoos and grills on… 'Ahhhh!' They're all jumping up and down, and I'm going, 'Do, do, do, do, do, do… Kill me now.' Still — still to this day I hate that song."
After the female interviewer pressed him on whether the song ever grew on him after performing it for the last four decades, Gene said: "Well, how about you sing that song? You're a girl. I wanna sing guy stuff."
Stanley admitted in 2017 that the success of "I Was Made For Lovin' You" was "a double-edged sword, because it became such a massive hit but it was also so contrary and contradictory to what we had done before." He added: "The funniest thing is when we do festivals sometimes in Europe where it's very much… the bands are quite heavy, well, when we do an encore of 'I Was Made For Lovin' You', you suddenly have all these people with spikes in their eyeballs or bones through their noses singing along. So it's a song that seems to transcend everything — although it went through a period, certainly, of a big backlash against it."
David Ritz is the cocomposer of "Sexual Healing" and is a prolific ghostwriter and published author in his own right. He collaborated on the life stories of, among others, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, Marvin Gaye, Janet Jackson, Lenny Kravitz, B.B. King and Smokey Robinson.