Bon Jovi

Missing image
Jon Bon Jovi Portrait by T.HO 2004
Bon Jovi is a rock band from New Jersey, USA that sold more than 100 million albums in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s and played live concerts in major cities in Asia, Europe, Australia, Canada and South America, in addition to a large number of cities in the USA. Bon Jovi have sometimes been classified as Hair metal - sometimes even regarded as the form's prime shapers - but have proved much more durable than most groups so labeled. It has been a band which inspired lots of today's bands, and also created the "Unplugged" style of performing on a MTV award show.





The 80's

Lead singer Jon Bon Jovi (John Bongiovi) began to play piano and guitar at thirteen, using Elton John songs. At that same age, Bongiovi founded his first band, called Raze. At 16 Jon met David Bryan (David Bryan Rashbaum) in high school (Sayreville War Memorial High School ) and founded an R&B cover band with him named Atlantic City Expressway. They played at New Jersey clubs, even though they were minors. Still in his teens, Jon played in the band Jon Bon Jovi and the Wild Ones, playing New Jersey clubs like the Fast Lane and opening for known acts in the area.

By the summer of 1982, out of school and working part-time - including in a shoe store - Jon finally got a job at the Power Station Studios, a New York recording facility where his cousin, Tony Bongiovi, was the co-owner. Jon made several demos (including one produced by Billy Squier) and sent them out to many record companies - but failed to make an impact.

At nineteen, Jon had his first recording experience, singing the song "R2-D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas" by Meco Monardo and Daniel Oriolo on a Star Wars Christmas album, "Christmas in the Stars", produced by Tony Bongiovi at the Power Station and released on the RSO label.

In 1983, a local radio station, WAPT, had a contest to search for the best unsigned band. Jon used studio musicians to play on the track "Runaway" (which was written in 1980). After it won the contest, it quickly became a popular song in the New York City area in the summer of 1983. The studio musicians who helped Jon to record "Runaway" were known as "The All Star Review" and they were Tim Pierce (guitar), Roy Bittan (keyboards), Frankie LaRocka (drums) and Hugh McDonald (bass).

Jon desperately needed a band. The members of Bon Jovi had crossed paths in these early days, but the current lineup didn't come together until March of 1983 after "Runaway" which hit No.39 on the singles chart. Jon gave Dave a call, who in turn called Alec John Such and Tico Torres.

A succession of guitarists (including Dave Sabo, who went on to Skid Row) followed, until Richie Sambora signed on. Alec talked Jon into letting Richie show what he could do, and Jon loved it. Before joining Bon Jovi, Richie had toured with Joe Cocker, played with a group called Mercy and had just been called up to audition for KISS. He also played in the album "Lessons" with the band Message, that has been recently rereleased in CD through Long Island Records.

Tico Torres was also an experienced musician by then. He had jammed with Miles Davis and played live with the Marvelettes and Chuck Berry. He had played on about 26 records and had just recorded his third album with Frankie and the Knockouts (a Jersey band with hit singles in the early 1980s).

David Bryan was a natural recruit. He had quit the band he and Jon founded to go to college, then quit college to go to Juilliard School, the famous classical music school.

At one show, where they opened for Scandal, the band caught the attention of record exec Derek Shulman, who signed them to PolyGram.

The debut album came out on January 21, 1984. The album went gold (sales of over 500,000) and was also released in the UK. The guys found themselves opening for ZZ Top at the Madison Square Garden (before their first album had been released), Scorpions and KISS (in Europe).

In 1985, when synth-pop was really popular, Bon Jovi's second album was introduced. The title was '7800 Fahrenheit', but the response on it was mellow. The leading British metal magazine Kerrang!, that was positive about the debut record earlier, called the album 'a pale imitation of the Bon Jovi we have got to know and learnt to love'. Jon himself later said it could and should have been a better disc.

Their third album, Slippery When Wet, shot the band to superstar status around the world with hits such as "You Give Love a Bad Name", "Livin' On A Prayer", and "Wanted Dead or Alive". David Bryan has said the following about the album's title: "During the recording of the record we frequently wound up in a striptease club where incredibly good looking girls were putting water and soap on each other. They became so slippery because of that, that you couldn't hold on to them even if you wanted to really bad. "Slippery when wet!" one of us yelled out and the rest of use immediately knew: that had to be the title of the new album! Originally we were going to put a picture of some huge breasts, the really big ones, on the cover; but when the PRMC (a moral board under command of Tipper Gore, the wife of the former vice-president of the United States) found out we were in big trouble. So we made it into a very decent cover."

The album has sold in excess of twelve million copies since its release in late 1986. On the tour that followed, Jon began having vocal difficulties. The extremely high notes and unrelenting schedule threatened to damage his voice permanently. With the help of a vocal coach, he made it through the tour. Jon has tended to sing slightly lower since then.

The next album from Bon Jovi was New Jersey released in 1988. The album was recorded very shortly after the tour for 'Slippery' because the band wanted to prove that they were not just a one hit wonder. The resulting album is a fan favourite and produced many hit songs for example "Bad Medicine" and "Lay Your Hands On Me" which are still nightly stalwarts in their live repetoire. "New Jersey" also almost ended the band as they went straight back out on the road so soon after such heavy touring for their previous album. This constant livng on the road almost destroyed the strong bond between Jon and Richie. The band however made it through and took a healthy break before their next studio effort.

The 90's

Between 1990 and 1992 the band members went their separate ways for a while. Jon made the soundtrack for the movie 'Young Guns II' helped by Elton John, Aldo Nova and Jeff Beck among others. Richie released a solo-album 'Stranger in This Town', that hit the record strores in '91 and David made the music for the movie 'The Netherworld', but also took ill, a parasite from South America caused David to have to go to the hospital. Tico was so stressed out he couldn't hear another note of music. And Alec fell of his motor bike "Just like that, right in front of my door." Because of that accident he damaged a crucial muscle, which forced him to develop a whole new way to hold his instrument.

Alec John Such left the band in the early 1990s. While he has not been officially replaced, Hugh McDonald has handled studio and live bass duties since then.

Bon Jovi's next album is due out September 20, 2005 (U.S.), with an international tour slated to begin in November 2005.


Original songs appear on:

Hit singles

from Bon Jovi

  • 1983 "Runaway" #39 US
  • 1984 "She Don't Know Me" #48 US

from 7800 Fahrenheit

  • 1985 "In and Out of Love" #69 US
  • 1985 "The Hardest Part Is the Night" #68 UK
  • 1985 "Only Lonely" #54 US

from Slippery When Wet

  • 1986 "You Give Love a Bad Name" #1 US, #14 UK
  • 1986 "Livin' On a Prayer" #1 (3 weeks) US, #4 UK
  • 1987 "Wanted Dead or Alive" #7 US, #13 UK
  • 1987 "Never Say Goodbye" #21 UK

from New Jersey

  • 1988 "Bad Medicine" #1 US, #17 UK, #15 AU
  • 1988 "Born to Be My Baby" #3 US, #22 UK, #30 AU
  • 1989 "I'll Be There for You" #1 US, #18 UK, #23 AU
  • 1989 "Lay Your Hands on Me" #7 US, #18 UK, #23 AU
  • 1989 "Living in Sin" #9 US, #35 UK

from Keep the Faith

  • 1992 "Keep the Faith" #28 US, #5 UK, #10 AU
  • 1993 "Bed of Roses" #10 US, #13 UK, #10 AU
  • 1993 "In These Arms" #27 US, #9 UK, #10 AU
  • 1993 "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" #97 US, #17 UK, #24 AU
  • 1993 "I Believe" #11 UK, #40 AU
  • 1994 "Dry County" #9 UK, #31 AU

from Cross Road

  • 1994 "Always" #1 US, #2 UK, #1 AU

credited to Jon Bon Jovi (solo) on some releases, from A Very Special Christmas, Vol. 2

  • 1994 "Please Come Home for Christmas" #7 UK

from Cross Road

  • 1995 "Someday I'll Be Saturday Night" #7 UK, #10 AU

from These Days

  • 1995 "This Ain't a Love Song" #14 US, #6 UK, #4 AU
  • 1995 "Something for the Pain" #76 US, #8 UK, #14 AU
  • 1995 "Lie to Me" #88 US, #10 UK, #20 AU
  • 1996 "These Days" #7 UK, #38 AU
  • 1996 "Hey God" #13 UK

credited to Jon Bon Jovi (solo) on some releases, from the EDtv soundtrack

  • 1999 "Real Life" #21 UK, #52 AU

from Crush

  • 2000 "It's My Life" #33 US, #3 UK, #5 AU
  • 2000 "Say It Isn't So" #10 UK, #9 AU
  • 2000 "Thank You for Loving Me" #57 US, #12 UK, #34 AU
  • 2001 "One Wild Night" #10 UK, #35 AU

from Bounce

  • 2002 "Everyday" #5 UK, #5 AU
  • 2002 "Misunderstood" #21 UK, #33 AU
  • 2003 "All About Lovin' You" #9 UK, #31 AU

See also

External links

es:Bon Jovi fr:Bon Jovi ja:ボン・ジョヴィ nl:Bon Jovi pt:Bon Jovi fi:Bon Jovi sv:Bon Jovi


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