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Desmond Child

Guest musician

1989 Alice Cooper - keyboards  
1991 Alice Cooper - keyboards  

Personal information

Born on: 28.10.1953
Official website

Desmond Child (born John Charles Barrett, October 28, 1953 in Gainesville, Florida) is an American musician, songwriter, and producer. He is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame.


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. His collaborations include Bon Jovi, Bonnie Tyler, Selena, Aerosmith, Ricky Martin, KISS, Kelly Clarkson, Dream Theater, Cher, Rosie Johnson and 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 fucking genius."

Desmond Child was born in Gainesville, Florida, and raised in Miami and Ponce, Puerto Rico where his Cuban songwriter mother, Elena Casals taught him to play the piano at an early age. In high school, Child formed his first band. It was an acoustic collaboration with a high school friend. Child went on to attend 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." "Our Love Is Insane" reached #50 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1979.

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 1987 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 also co-wrote all of the tracks on Alice Cooper's Trash LP (including the hit single "Poison"). At this point, Child 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 1993, Desmond wrote the song in Spanish titled Tú Serás la Historia de Mi Vida for Colombian singer Shakira's second studio album Peligro. But the song and the whole album itself lacked the production cohesion and it led the album as a commercial failure. In the late 1990s, 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 a #1 hit in 25 countries.

Despite having worked for nearly thirty years as a writer, producer, and artist, Child remains enthusiastic. "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: The Rasmus, Joss Stone, David Archuleta, Kelly Clarkson, Scorpions, Hilary Duff, Meat Loaf, 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."

Personal life

Desmond Child lives in Nashville, TN with his partner Curtis and their seven-year-old twins, Roman and Nyro.He has made his home in Nashville since 1991.

The track "The Truth Comes Out" from Desmond Child & Rouge's second album Runners In The Night (1979) was written about 'coming out' to his girlfriend and band member, Maria Vidal.

The song "A Ray Of Hope", written by Don Paul Yowell, was recorded by Child as a tribute to his younger brother, Joey, who died in January 1991 of AIDS-related complications.

The lyrics to Bon Jovi's "Livin' On A Prayer" were inspired, in part on Desmond's life in late 1970s New York. He was living with then-girlfriend and Desmond Child & Rouge bandmate, Maria Vidal, working as a New York taxi cab driver trying to make ends meet, whilst Vidal was a waitress nicknamed Gina. In the evening they were musicians.


Desmond is published by Universal Music Publishing worldwide and managed by Lucas Keller at The Collective.