Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi is an American rock band formed in 1983 in Sayreville, New Jersey. It consists of singer Jon Bon Jovi, keyboardist David Bryan, drummer Tico Torres, guitarist Phil X, and bassist Hugh McDonald. Previous bassist Alec John Such was dismissed in 1994, and longtime guitarist and co-songwriter Richie Sambora left in 2013.

During the band’s first sabbatical between 1990–1991 Jon Bon Jovi recorded a solo album, Blaze of Glory, a soundtrack to the movie Young Guns II. Released in 1990, the title track, “Blaze of Glory” peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1991 “Blaze of Glory” won an award for Favorite Pop/Rock Single at the American Music Awards and awarded a Golden Globe, as well. The song also earned Jon Bon Jovi an Academy Award nomination and a Grammy nomination.

Richie Sambora, with the help of Tico Torres and David Bryan, released a solo album titled Stranger In This Town, in 1991. The album featured Eric Clapton on the song “Mr. Bluesman”. David Bryan recorded a soundtrack for the horror movie The Netherworld, which was the brighter part of that year after he was hospitalized with an illness caused by a South American parasite. Alec John Such took a fall off his motorcycle, injuring his bass-playing hand and forcing him to develop a whole new way to hold and play his instrument.

In 1997, Jon Bon Jovi landed lead roles in several movies. While he was free between filming movies, Jon wrote what would become his second solo album, 1997’s Destination Anywhere. A short movie of the same name was recorded around the record’s release, based entirely on the songs from the record and starring Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon and Whoopi Goldberg.

Torres used the opportunity to further pursue his painting while Bryan started writing and composing various musicals. In 1998, Sambora released his second solo outing titled Undiscovered Soul.

In 2012, the band members embarked on solo projects once again while recording What About Now. Returning to film composing for the first time since Blaze of Glory, Jon Bon Jovi wrote and recorded two songs for the Al Pacino film Stand Up Guys, while Sambora recorded and released his third studio album, Aftermath of the Lowdown, and supported it with a short world tour in October 2012. Torres focused on playing golf, taking part in several tournaments, while Bryan made a short performance at Fantiscritti, Carrara on May 26, 2012.

In 1984 and 1985, Bon Jovi released their first two albums and their debut single “Runaway” managed to crack the Top 40. In 1986, the band achieved widespread success and global recognition with their third album, Slippery When Wet, which sold over 20 million copies and included three Top 10 singles, two of which reached No. 1 (“You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Livin’ on a Prayer”). Their fourth album, New Jersey (1988), was also very successful, selling over 10 million copies and featuring five Top 10 singles (a record for a hard rock album), two of which reached No. 1 (“Bad Medicine” and “I’ll Be There for You”). After the band toured and recorded extensively during the late 1980s, culminating in the 1988–90 New Jersey Tour, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora released successful solo albums in 1990 and 1991, respectively.

In 1992, the band returned with the double-platinum Keep the Faith. This was followed by their biggest-selling and longest-charting single “Always” (1994) and the album These Days (1995), which proved to be a bigger hit in Europe than in the United States, producing four Top Ten singles in the United Kingdom. Following a second hiatus, their 2000 album Crush, particularly the lead single, “It’s My Life”, successfully introduced the band to a younger audience. The band followed up with Bounce in 2002. The platinum albums Have a Nice Day (2005) and Lost Highway (2007) saw the band incorporate elements of country music into some of the songs, including the 2006 single “Who Says You Can’t Go Home”, which won the band a Grammy Award and became the first single by a rock band to reach No. 1 on the country charts.  The Circle (2009) marked a return to the band’s rock sound. The band also enjoyed great success touring, with both the 2005–06 Have a Nice Day Tour and 2007–08 Lost Highway Tour ranking among the Top 20 highest-grossing concert tours of the 2000s and the 2013 Because We Can Tour ranking among the highest-grossing of the 2010s. The band continues to tour and record, with their most recent album This House Is Not for Sale and its associated tour encompassing 2016–19.

Bon Jovi has released 14 studio albums, five compilations and three live albums. They have sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making them one of the bestselling American rock bands, and performed more than 2,700 concerts in over 50 countries for more than 34 million fans. Bon Jovi was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2006, and into the US Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 2018. The band received the Award of Merit at the American Music Awards in 2004, and Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora were inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame in

Jon Bon Jovi began performing music live in 1975, at the age of 13, playing piano and guitar with his first band, Raze. At 16, Jon met David Bryan and formed a band called Atlantic City Expressway. Still in his teens, Bon Jovi played in the band John Bongiovi and the Wild Ones at clubs such as the Fast Lane and opening for local acts. By 1980, he had formed another band, the Rest, and opened up for New Jersey acts such as Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. Also in 1980, Jon recorded his first single, “Runaway” in his cousin’s studio, backed up by studio musicians. The song was played by a local radio station on a compilation tape.

By mid-1982, out of school and working part-time at a women’s shoe store, Jon Bon Jovi took a job at the Power Station Studios, a Manhattan recording facility where his cousin Tony Bongiovi was co-owner. Jon made several demos—including one produced by Billy Squier—and sent them to record companies, though failing to make an impact. His first professional recording was as lead vocals in “R2-D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” which was part of the Christmas in the Stars album which his cousin co-produced.

In 1983, Jon visited a local radio station WAPP 103.5 FM “The Apple” in Lake Success, New York, to write and sing the jingles for the station. He spoke with DJ Chip Hobart and to the promotion director, John Lassman, who suggested Jon let WAPP include the song “Runaway” on the station’s compilation album of local homegrown talent. Jon was reluctant, but eventually gave them the song, which he had rerecorded in 1982 (following a rough early recording in 1981) with local studio musicians whom he designated The All Star Review—guitarist Tim Pierce, keyboardist Roy Bittan, drummer Frankie LaRocka, and bassist Hugh McDonald.

Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora on stage

The song began to get airplay in the New York area, then other sister stations in major markets picked up the song. In March 1983, Bon Jovi called David Bryan, who in turn called bassist Alec John Such and an experienced drummer named Tico Torres, both formerly of the band Phantom’s Opera. Tapped to play lead guitar for a short tour supporting “Runaway” was Bon Jovi’s friend and neighbor, Dave Sabo (“The Snake”), though he never officially joined the band. He and Jon promised each other that whoever made it first, would help out the other. Sabo later went on to form the group Skid Row. Jon saw and was impressed with hometown guitarist Richie Sambora who was recommended by fellow bassist Alec John Such and drummer Tico Torres. Sambora had toured with Joe Cocker, played with a group called Mercy and had been called up to audition for Kiss. He also played on the album Lessons (originally intended for release in 1982; re-released on CD through Long Island Records in 1995) with the band Message, for which Alec John Such was the bassist. Message was originally signed to Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song Records label, although the album was never officially released at the time. Meanwhile, WAPP, the station that had first played “Runaway” worked with WOR-TV (now WWOR-TV) in nearby Secaucus, NJ on a music video show, Rock 9 Videos, for a short time in 1984.

04
Apr
2020