For nearly three decades, songwriter/producer Desmond Child has reigned as one of music’s most successful creative forces. His list of accolades includes Grammy awards, 70 Top 40 singles, and songs that have sold over 300 million albums worldwide. Child’s career has been highlighted by a stunning array of diversity. His collaborations run the gamut… from Bon Jovi & Aerosmith to Ricky Martin… from KISS to Kelly Clarkson… from Cher to Alice Cooper. “Desmond’s a chameleon,” Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler told Rolling Stone. “The first time we met, we wrote ‘Angel’ in about an hour and 45 minutes - and I’m not bullshitting. The guy’s a f#@king genius.”
Born and raised in Gainesville, Florida, Child attended Miami-Dade College. It was in Miami that he formed the group Desmond Child & Rouge in 1973. Soon after, he moved the group to New York City to pursue their musical dreams. “My band Desmond Child & Rouge recorded two albums for Capitol in 1979 and we had a dance hit, ‘Our Love Is Insane,”’ recalls Child. “But ultimately, we were doing something very different and urban. We weren’t really understood by our label.”
Child’s experience as a recording artist would soon play a role in his songwriting future. His songs caught the ear of KISS guitarist Paul Stanley, who asked Desmond to co-write a track for the band’s 1979 Dynasty album. The result was “I Was Made for Loving You,” which is still one of the biggest hits in the KISS catalogue. Paul Stanley then passed Child’s phone number to New Jersey rockers Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. Jon called Desmond and the three ended up in the basement of Sambora’s parents’ house, where they penned Bon Jovi’s first number-one single, “You Give Love a Bad Name.” The collaborations continued and they followed with two more chart-toppers: “Livin’ on a Prayer” from the band’s breakthrough album Slippery When Wet and “Bad Medicine” from the follow-up, New Jersey.
Child soon began duplicating the feat with other major artists. He hooked up with Aerosmith and wrote “Dude Looks Like a Lady” & “Angel” (from the their ‘87 comeback album, Permanent Vacation), “What It Takes” (Pump, 1989), and “Crazy” (Get a Grip, 1993). During the same period, he co-wrote Joan Jett’s “I Hate Myself for Loving You” and all of the tracks on Alice Cooper’s Trash LP (including the hit single “Poison”). At this point, Desmond began branching out from his rock base, co-penning 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 midst of all of his success, he also found time to record the solo album Discipline (Elektra, 1991), which contained his own Top 40 hit, “Love on a Rooftop.” In the late ‘90s, Child returned to his Latin heritage via collaborations with Ricky Martin. Their efforts resulted in the number-one worldwide smash “Livin’ La Vida Loca.” The two also scored big with the 1998 World Cup Theme “The Cup of Life,” which was #1 in 22 countries.
Despite having worked for nearly thirty years as a writer, producer, and artist, Child remains energized and enthusiastic… ready to create hits indefinitely. “I was born with a certain drive and sense of destiny that keeps me going,” says Child. “Maybe it was because I was born poor; I wanted to win for the family. I still put a lot of energy in what I do. I try to really live life, so I have new experiences that I can write about.” More than twenty years after the number one beginning in that New Jersey basement, Desmond Child remains as in-demand as ever. His latest projects include: Joss Stone, Kelly Clarkson, The Scorpions, Hilary Duff, Meatloaf, Ace Young, and his old pals in Bon Jovi. “The Desmond you don’t know about,” says Jon Bon Jovi, “is the one who not only taught me the next level of songwriting, but so many of the true aspects of friendship: truth, honor, and loyalty. We’ve been through a lot together - the ups and the downs… and the ups again.”