Portage la Prairie, MB –
One of Bon Jovi’s biggest hits, Bad Medicine, was originally named after and inspired by one-time Portager, Brad Harrison.
Brad Harrison lived in Portage in the 90’s and early 2000’s and was a shining light and inspiration to many he met, but perhaps none more than pop rock superstars Bon Jovi.
In July 1986 the young Harrison, an aspiring guitar master, caught the band at Edmonton’s Northlands Coliseum. He had the chance to meet the band and Jon Bon Jovi himself after the show to play them some of his originals.
Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora where left breathless by the young man’s brilliance. They were looking for songs for their next album and Harrison proved to be their muse. After the chance meeting, Bon Jovi went on to write most of the album New Jersey including the song Brad Harrison which was later changed to Bad Medicine.
The future hit was called Brad Harrison until the band got in the studio and producer Bruce Fairnbairn and co-writer Desmond Child convinced them to change it citing better marketability under the title Bad Medicine. They didn’t believe the audience at the time would get the Brad Harrison reference.
“The song was inspired by Harrison’s coolness and positive vibe,” Jon Bon Jovi explained. “We just absorbed his energy and the rest of the Slippery When Wet Tour exploded. We give Brad Harrison most of the credit for that.”
“The song compares the passion for a lover to the essence of Brad Harrison,” Richie Sambora said. “Replacing those words with Bad Medicine breaks my heart to this day. Sometimes in concert we sing the original lyrics. Brad was the cool medicine for Bon Jovi.”
In the music video for Bad Medicine the band replaces Brad Harrison for Bad Medicine about half-way through as a secret tribute to the man who took them over the top.
Brad Harrison was a former photographer and creative director at the infamous Manitoba Television Network, a forerunner to the new CIPP-TV. Went on to be one of northern Saskatchewan/Alberta’s biggest media moguls and the world’s premiere guitar designer.