Did You Know?

Interesting facts and trivia about 18 and Life. By Songfacts®.

This song tells the story of Ricky, a poor, tough-as-nails 18-year-old who gets drunk and accidentally kills someone with his gun, earning him a life sentence in jail. Skid Row guitarist Dave "Snake" Sabo wrote it after reading in a local newspaper about an 18-year-old boy who shot his friend by accident. He thought the gun wasn't loaded, and eventually ended up in prison for life. The group's bass player, Rachel Bolan, co-wrote the song.

This was Skid Row's second single, following "Youth Gone Wild." It was a huge hit and helped the band's debut album sell over 5 million copies in America. A big reason why is Bon Jovi. Dave Sabo was part of Bon Jovi's original lineup and was childhood friends with Jon Bon Jovi. In 1984, Richie Sambora ended up taking his place in the band, which soon took off. Sabo formed Skid Row with Rachel Bolan in 1986; a year later they added the brash young Canadian singer Sebastian Bach, who was 20 years old when the Skid Row album was released in 1988. Jon Bon Jovi helped the band get a record deal; they shared the same manager, and Skid Row inked a publishing deal with the company owned by Jon and Richie, who now had a profit motive for seeing them succeed. Bon Jovi championed the band and took them on tour as their opening act just days after the album was released in January 1989. That tour, the New Jersey Syndicate tour, was huge, and earned Skid Row an instant fanbase. It got bumpy for the band though; their second album, Slave To The Grind, wasn't released until 1991, and it was hitless, with a harder edge and less pop appeal (it did go to #1 and sell over 2 million). They never again came close to the success of their first album.

The video was directed by Wayne Isham, one of the top players in the game. It's a very literal video, showing Ricky getting kicked out of his home, playing around with a gun, and accidentally shooting his friend. It proved very popular on MTV, elevating Skid Row to hair metal royalty.

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Song Analysis

Key, BPM (tempo) and time signature of 18 and Life.
4/4Time Signature


The album 18 and Life is released on.

Released By

The record label that has released 18 and Life.
Rhino Atlantic
2009 © 1989 Atlantic Recording Corp.
℗ 1989 Atlantic Recording Corp. Marketed by Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

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